We still have a long time to go before Rogue One: A Star Wars Story arrives in theaters, so just about any opportunity to get an early look at the Star Wars prequel film is reason for fans to get excited at this point. And as far as reasons to get excited go, a new trailer ranks highest. Walt Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm debuted a new trailer for Rogue One on Thursday during NBC’s broadcast of the Olympic Games in Rio, and it was as good as we hoped it would be.
Set to an ominous remix of the classic “Imperial March” theme, the trailer shows off much more of Rogue One’s various characters, locations, and vehicles, but doesn’t teach us much more about the plot. Let’s just say it gives us more, without giving much away.
Forrest Whitaker’s Saw Guerra opens the trailer explaining to Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) the dark times facing the galaxy; the Empire has risen to power in the time since Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, spreading its control throughout the galaxy.
Unlike the first trailer, which set the thematic tone of Rogue One, the new footage focuses much more on character relationships — especially that between Jyn Erso and Captain Cassian Andor (Diego Luna). We also get our first look at the sardonic Imperial-droid-turned-rebel, K-2S0 (voiced by Alan Tudyk), as well as some character motivation from Baze Malbus and Chirrut Imwe (Wen Jiang and Donnie Yen, repetitively).
The trailer also shows off some promising action sequences, including X-Wing assaults, urban warfare between the rebels and Imperials, and a mano-a-mano standoff between Jyn Erso and a TIE Fighter. Oh, and Baze Malbus fires a rocket launcher at an Imperial Walker that looks to be particularly cheer-worthy.
Of course, most importantly, the final moment of the trailer teases the appearance of Darth Vader himself, giving us a mere glimpse at the back of his shiny black helmet.
Directed by Monsters and Godzilla filmmaker Gareth Edwards, Rogue One is set during the time between the events of Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith and the franchise-launching Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope. The film tells the story of the ragtag group of rebel agents tasked with stealing the plans to the Death Star — the same plans that become the focal point of the original 1977 film.
Rogue One stars Oscar-nominated The Theory of Everything actress Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso, and she’s joined in the cast by Diego Luna (Milk), Ben Mendelsohn (Bloodline), Donnie Yen (Ip Man), Jiang Wen (Let the Bullets Fly), Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland), Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal), and Riz Ahmed (Nightcrawler). Firefly actor Alan Tudyk provides the motion-capture performance for the robot K-2SO.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is scheduled to hit theaters December 16.
Updated 8-11-2016 by Brendan Hesse: Added the new trailer, which premiered as promised with some impressive new footage from the highly anticipated film.