As fans count down the days to Star Wars Celebration 2016 in London, they're learning more and more about this December's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. After keeping a relatively tight lid on the spinoff, Lucasfilm is starting to peel back the curtain, officially confirming that Darth Vader will return for the film, sharing the names of the new characters, and revealing a strong connection between the live-action films and the larger franchise canon. Moviegoers have been digesting all the latest details, a nice distraction from the conversation regarding Rogue One's reshoots.
EW has been the source of this rollout via their latest cover story. It's only a matter of time before a second Rogue One trailer drops, but until then, viewers will have to make do with a collection of still images from the film, highlighting the various heroes and villains that will take part in this conflict, as well as some new locations.
The pictures come courtesy of EW. Check them out below:
First up is a collection of the new Imperial soldier classification, the Deathtrooper. Clad in armor of all-black, they give Rogue One something unique. Each Star Wars film featuring stormtroopers has included a new look (toy sales!), so it's no surprise this first anthology is following suit.
Here we have Rogue One protagonist Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) working undercover disguised as a member of the Empire. The EW report revealed that Jyn has clashed with both the Rebellion and the Imperials prior to her recruitment by Mon Mothma, but she'll undergo substantial change in the film. Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy says Jyn "becomes a kind of Joan of Arc."
Up next is Ben Mendelsohn's villain Director Orson Krennic, described as the main antagonist of the film. Kiri Hart, Lucasfilm's head of story development, suggests the character is a manipulator always focused on getting the things he wants. Krennic was designed as a stark contrast to the icy cool of Grand Moff Tarkin; he's "unpredictable and volatile." Many are anxious to see the interactions between Krennic and Vader.
Friends Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen) and Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen) take a breather after a battle on a beach (note the dead stormtrooper in the background). Their dynamic could be one of the more interesting to watch. Chirrut is very spiritual and follows the path of the Force, while Baze is more along the young Han Solo way of thinking when it comes to the hokey religion. Kennedy said that The Hidden Fortress was a key inspiration for these two, suggesting their relationship could be similar to R2-D2 and C-3PO in A New Hope.
Rogue One adds to the galaxy's large collection of planets. The one photographed here is meant to look like a place where one may take a seaside vacation. EW says a "key battle" takes place on this world (perhaps the one seen in the teaser trailer), which is why there are stormtroopers wading their way through the water.
This image shows the stormtroopers more close-up as they march towards their destination. The big takeaway here is that director Gareth Edwards is following J.J. Abrams' lead by incorporating as many practical elements as he can. Not only did he film on a real location, the stormtroopers here are actors in costume - not CGI creations. Obviously, some digital trickery will be needed at times, but it's welcoming to see "real" stormtroopers to ground Rogue One in reality.
The Deathtroopers return for the next photo, and yes, the one in the foreground is holding a stormtrooper doll. Lucasfilm would not explain the reasoning for why a soldier would be in possession of a toy, but they did tease that it will have "special significance" to the narrative. It's just another aspect of a Star Wars film the Internet will have to theorize over.
Fan-favorite character actor Alan Tudyk is playing droid K-2SO in Rogue One, and viewers can get a good look at the robot's design here. Sold as "the antithesis of C-3PO," this new droid promises to be unlike anything moviegoers have seen in a Star Wars film before. After BB-8 became a scene stealer in The Force Awakens, K-2SO certainly has his work cut out for him.
Gareth Edwards on the Rogue One set with several of his principal actors, including Jones, Luna, Yen, Jiang, and Tudyk in his motion-capture suit. This image is from the Rebel base on Yavin IV, the one featured in the original movie.
Nightcrawler actor Riz Ahmed plays Bodhi Rook in Rogue One. Rook is an experienced pilot and his teammates depend on his technical skills to complete their missions. It's unknown what ship Bodhi will be flying.
The last batch of photos from EW's gallery are head shots of certain characters, nearly identical to the ones that were released yesterday. The only real difference is that they're in full color. Check those out below:
There's one important player missing from these, and that is Darth Vader. Given the cloud of uncertainty surrounding Rogue One's reshoots, it's safe to assume Lucasfilm will not pull the Luke Skywalker card when it comes to using Vader in marketing materials. They're most likely saving the Sith Lord's official reveal for the trailer, perhaps a Dark Side take on the famous "Chewie, we're home" money shot. It's smart to focus on the new characters now, but Vader is an instantly recognizable piece of pop culture. He's a necessity for the latter half of Rogue One's advertising campaign.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in U.S. theaters on December 16, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on December 15, 2017, the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25, 2018, Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019, and the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.