From the host of new characters introduced in the trailer to the cornucopia of call-backs to the original trilogy, there’s a lot to like about our first look at Rogue One. There’s also a good chance that amid all the action going on in the trailer, you might have missed something important, or at the very least, something that makes a great trailer even better.
Here are some of the things you’ll want to keep on your radar while watching — or in this case, re-watching — the Rogue One trailer.
Your new favorite rebel
Oscar-nominated actress Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything) joins the Star Wars universe in Rogue One, and if you missed her name in the trailer, not to worry — you’ll probably be hearing a lot about the resourceful rebel Jyn Erso in the months to come. From the sound of things in preview, Jyn is a reluctant soldier for the rebellion (hence the handcuffs), drafted into service a la The Dirty Dozen on a mission that appears to have the odds stacked against both success and likelihood of living through it.
The closing moments of the trailer also suggest that Jyn has some demons of her own to fight in addition to the Empire’s forces. She’s wearing the dark uniform of one of the Empire’s TIE Fighter pilots, which could easily be her way of infiltrating enemy lines. However, the voice over poses the question of what she’ll become if she keeps fighting. Is the trailer hinting at a potential turn to the dark side in her future?
Familiar faces, familiar places: Mon Mothma returns
Early in the trailer, Jyn is seen being led through a rebel base that looks quite a bit like the one seen in the original, franchise-starting 1977 film Star Wars (aka Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope). Given that Rogue One is set in the time period before the events of A New Hope, it’s interesting to see that prequel element take very direct form in the setting of at least one scene (and likely a whole lot more).
Star Wars fans might also recognize the familiar face of actress Genevieve O’Reilly, who appears to be finally getting her chance to play Senator Mon Mothma on the big screen. Mothma was first introduced in 1983’s Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi and played by Caroline Blakiston. O’Reilly was later called upon to play a younger version of the character in the 2005 prequel film Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith, but the scene was later removed from the theatrical cut of the film. (The scene is available to watch online now.)
Oh, and there’s no mystery about that other structure floating in space that’s seen around the 45-second mark in the trailer. No, that’s no moon. That’s the Death Star. Of course, studious franchise fans will accurately note that this is the first Death Star created by the Empire (the one destroyed in A New Hope), so if you see anyone claiming that Rogue One will finally address how “many Bothans died to bring us this information,” feel free to remind them that the Bothans died getting the plans for the second, unfinished Death Star (the one destroyed in Return of the Jedi), not this one.
We still don’t know much about the supporting cast in Rogue One, but the trailer gives quite a bit of screen time to the rebel soldiers played by Diego Luna (Milk) and Donnie Yen (Ip Man), with the former seen accompanying Jones’ character in several scenes and the latter seen dispensing with a squad of stormtroopers using only a staff. Luna’s character appears to be of the rough-around-the-edges Han Solo variety, while Yen’s character seems to have sword skills to rival any Jedi. Both characters — as well as the one played by Riz Ahmed (Four Lions) who can be seen charging the massive AT-AT walkers around the 1:20 mark — are all known to be part of the ragtag team tasked with stealing the plans for the Death Star.
On the Empire side of things, the trailer also offers our first look at The Dark Knight Rises actor Ben Mendelsohn’s character, who appears to be a new Moff (a high-ranking officer of the Empire) who will be introduced in the film. His character’s white robe is a new look for the Moffs, and we see a bit more of it later in the trailer when he’s seen walking through a watery field strewn with dead stormtroopers.
Finally, his character’s alliances are still unknown at this point, but Oscar-winning actor Forest Whitaker makes a pretty impressive entrance in the trailer. Along with providing the voiceover for the second half of the clip, he’s shown wearing armor that appears to be a bit mixed up and disheveled. Online speculation has suggested that he plays a Mandalorian — one of the race of people who created Boba Fett’s iconic armor — but nothing is confirmed at this point beyond Whitaker being a daunting figure.
Dark forces, and Darth Vader?
Around the 1:09 mark in the trailer, the camera pans over what appears to be a lesser-known variation of stormtrooper, with a darker tint to his shiny armor. Fans of the 1995 video game Star Wars: Dark Forces have suggested that these are the cinematic depiction of the “Dark Troopers” that debuted in that game and then became recurring elements in later games and Expanded Universe stories. If so, we could be entering new ground in the cinematic universe’s treatment of those spinoff stories.
More importantly, however, is the brief scene that unfolds around the 1:18 mark in the trailer when a hooded, mysterious character is seen kneeling before a steam-filled apparatus that resembles the “meditation chamber” used by Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back. Given the presence of the red-suited Emperor’s Royal Guard all around the chamber, it seems reasonable to assume this scene could involve the Sith lord himself.
So after all that, did we miss anything?
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theaters December 16.
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