The highly-anticipated second trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story dropped during the Rio Olympics coverage last night on NBC. These two minutes deliver an impressive new look at the film's characters, locations, and action sequences. Here's a breakdown of the trailer, shot-by-shot, frame-by-frame:
- The trailer opens on a city on the planet Jedha with TIE fighters flying over it. We know that Jedha used to be an important world for the Jedi, and it's still used as a pilgrimage site for Force believers, like Chirrut Îmwe. It's where Chirrut and his best friend, Baze Malbus, will join Jyn Erso's rebel team.
- Jyn tentatively approaches Saw Gerrera. "The world is coming undone," he says. His many years of rebellion clearly haven't made him optimistic. In an interview with EW, Forest Whitaker described how Saw and Jyn have a very close relationship, despite the fact that the Rebel Alliance doesn't totally support his extremism.
- "Imperial flags reign across the galaxy," Saw explains as we see a Star Destroyer hover over the Jedha city. The StarWars.com databank states that although the Empire occupies Jedha, groups of Rebels (including Saw's) still resist it. Why is the Empire so interested in the planet? According to Donnie Yen, it's because it contains a resource used to make lightsabers, possibly the Kyber crystals themselves.
- "Can you be trusted without your shackles?" a Rebel officer asks Jyn as she's marched into a strategy room. "Let's just get this over with, shall we?" she replies after Captain Cassian Andor removes them. Jyn is expecting to be given a jail sentence, but the Rebellion has something else in mind...
- "We have a mission for you. A major weapons test is imminent, we need to know how to destroy it," Mon Mothma tells an intrigued Jyn as we see the construction of the Death Star. It seems that Jyn is skilled enough that the Rebellion is willing to trust her with its most important mission, despite her previous crimes and volatile nature.
- "If you're really doing this, I want to help," Cassian tells Jyn in the Yavin Temple hangar. Here we have Jyn's first recruit, an experienced officer who will hopefully balance Jyn with his calm temperament. Chances are, Cassian has his own beef with the Empire (most of the heroes do) that motivates him to join this high-risk mission.
- Jyn and Cassian leave the base on a U-Wing starship. "Good," she replies. "Good," he agrees. The Star Wars Show revealed that the U-Wing has convertible wings and doubles as both a troop transport and a gunship, making it a fitting vehicle for our heroes.
- "I've been recruiting for the Rebellion for a long time," Cassian reveals. He and a hooded Jyn pass stormtroopers escorting Rebel prisoners in a Jedha market. Is it possible that Cassian is the one who originally read Jyn's files and recommended her to his superiors?
- The U-Wing flies through a dark, stormy canyon. "They destroyed our home!" Baze shouts as he shoots down several stormtroopers in the same environment. As Jedha natives, it's not hard to imagine why these two might jump at the chance to seek revenge on the regime that's taking over their planet. And now we know that Baze's big gun isn't just for show; he's a crack shot with it, too.
- "I fight the Empire now," Baze explains as we see him survey the Scarif beach. No matter who he fought before (perhaps it was the Republic), this longtime rebel and evident weapons expert will be a nice addition to the team.
- The U-Wing flies across the Jedha desert. "I fear nothing. All is as the Force wills it," Chirrut declares. He expertly dodges stormtrooper fire and knocks them out with his staff. He's blind and has no real Force powers, but Chirrut's instincts and devout faith clearly make him a formidable opponent. It looks like his first (and far from last) stormtrooper beatdown in the film will be to save Jyn and Cassian after they get apprehended.
- "The Captain says you are a friend. I will not kill you," K-2SO tells Jyn in an alleyway in the Jedha city. "Thanks!" she sarcastically replies. This demonstrates both Kaytoo's loyalty to Cassian (who reprogrammed him to serve the Rebellion instead of the Empire) and his hilarious, blunt manner.
- "There isn't much time," Jyn says as the Death Star floats upside-down and eclipses the sun over Jedha. We know that Scarif is the main construction site of the Death Star, so why is it orbiting Jedha? Maybe after stripping it of its resources, Director Krennic intends to target the planet as the first demonstration of the superweapon that Mon Mothma spoke about earlier.
- "Every day they grow stronger," Jyn asserts as we see Director Krennic observing Jedha aboard the Death Star. The rumored Kyber crystals on Jedha are actually the main power source for the Death Star, so as the director of Advanced Weapons Research, Krennic will do everything in his power to stop the pesky rebels from getting in his way.
- Rebel soldiers exit a U-Wing and charge across the Scarif beach. Other Rebels pass the flaming remains of a U-Wing and Chirrut stands in the sand. We've been led to believe that this will be the film's biggest – and final – battle as the Rebels and their X-Wings face off against AT-ACT's, TIE Strikers, stormtroopers, Death Troopers, and shoretroopers.
- "There is a 97.6% chance of failure," Kaytoo informs the team as we see Baze charging on Scarif, Death Troopers firing, and an Imperial transport exploding. Although Kaytoo isn't nearly as fussy and polite as C-3PO, he seems to share the habit of telling his friends how unlikely their success is. As Han Solo would say, "Never tell me the odds."
- "He means well," Cassian assures Bodhi Rook, who doesn't look convinced. We know a fair bit about Bodhi – he's a tense, volatile, ex-Imperial pilot – but he gets very little screen-time in comparison to the rest of the Rebels, suggesting that he doesn't have as large a role in the film.
- X-Wings fly through the same dark canyon and blast an Imperial facility. If this is on Jedha, as the rocky terrain would suggest, then the Rebels may be targeting a mining facility where the Imperials harvest the coveted Kyber crystals.
- Baze fires a missile at an AT-ACT and hits it in the head. As EW points out, this trailer is full of imagery of small people juxtaposed with bigger, mightier forces. (Director Gareth Edwards is quite familiar with this small-vs-big technique after helming 2014's Godzilla.) It represents the Rebellion's seemingly-hopeless effort against the Empire, and it's one of the key themes of the film.
- "This is our chance to make a real difference," Jyn says to Saw, who responds with a small smile. Saw must be seeing the same kind of hopeful spirit in Jyn that he had when he was her age. It's also possible that his smile is a sad one, as if he doesn't believe whatsoever that she could cause such change, but he doesn't have the heart to tell her and crush her dreams.
- In the U-Wing, Jyn and Cassian evade an ocean of falling rubble. She frantically shouts something to him and he jumps to hyperspace. If Krennic does plan on destroying Jedha, this rubble could be the result of a blast from a partially-powered – but still quite destructive – Death Star laser. This would explain why Jedha isn't mentioned in the Original Trilogy, and it would still allow Alderaan to technically be the first complete victim of the superweapon in A New Hope.
- A TIE fighter crashes and kills two Death Star gunners. "Are you with me?" Jyn asks as we see her limping across a railing towards an antenna and a hovering TIE. Again, the David vs. Goliath motif. Jyn's wounded (probably a result of the Scarif battle, based on the ocean seen behind the TIE), but she's still determined to reach that antenna, even if the starfighter in front of her is ready to gun her down.
- "All the way," Cassian promises her. He, Chirrut, Baze, K-2SO, and several other Rebels huddle as they prepare for battle aboard a U-Wing. Jyn smiles in return. The final shots of the Celebration Reel indicate that this scene ends with the landing door opening over the Scarif battlefield as Jyn says, "May the Force be with us."
- Darth Vader inhales as he examines a diagram of the Death Star! This is the moment we knew was coming, the moment we were all waiting for: the Vader tease. Sure, these new characters all look great (like really, really great), but nothing beats the most iconic Star Wars character of all time. Welcome back, Lord Vader. We've missed you.
For a film receiving so much negative buzz and doubt from even the most devoted of fans, this trailer does the trick to get everyone excited and invested again. The first trailer did a great job introducing us to Jyn, but this one expands enormously and shows us the rest of the heroes, as well as some intriguing environments and lots of action shots that probably weren't completely polished back in April.
The trailer also successfully assures us that despite all those rumors about the reshoots lightening up Rogue One, the film will stick to its noticeably dark tone. There's certainly hope to be found, but there's also abundant oppression, death, tension, and sorrow all around.
The first trailer ended with the question, "What will you become?" posed by Saw Gerrera. It asked us to consider the costs of rebellion and the toll that takes on both the body and the mind. This time, we hear "Are you with me?", and we get an explicit answer that promised us the overarching theme of Star Wars: unity.
It evokes the metaphor of the silver lining behind the dark cloud, which is essentially the principle idea of Rogue One, since we know that happier days will follow it in the Original Trilogy.
In short, Lucasfilm managed to satisfy the fans, silence the naysayers, and get everyone very excited for December 16th in less than 120 seconds of footage. What did you think of this trailer? What was your favorite moment? Tell me in the comments or tweet to @SithObserver, and may the Force be with you all.