Star Wars fans have been basking in a cornucopia of information about this December's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story recently, as magazine EW has unleashed all sorts of goodies in their exclusive coverage. Viewers now can look forward to Darth Vader's return on the big screen, memorize the names of the new characters, enjoy a nice crossover between Rogue One and The Clone Wars, as well as check out a gallery of new images. The first live-action Star Wars spinoff was already one of the most anticipated films of the year, and now the hype has only been increased.
With just under six months until the movie's premiere (as of this writing), this is only the beginning of what should be an extensive marketing campaign to get die-hards and casual audiences alike excited for a Star Wars film that technically isn't part of the main Skywalker family saga. The promotional blitz continues today with the unveiling of a new batch of pictures.
Once again coming courtesy of EW, the photos mainly place the spotlight on the team of Rebel Alliance heroes tasked with stealing the original Death Star plans as the Empire looks to tighten its grip on the galaxy. The last one is a behind-the-scenes shot of the Rebels storming a beach (the Imperials are not using helicopters, don't worry). Check them out below:
The Empire's new Deathtroopers get a moment in the spotlight again, illustrating that they will be a key part of Lucasfilm's advertising efforts moving forward. Stormtroopers clad in all black is something new for the films, and it will be interesting to see how this squad differentiates from the standard classification seen in the original trilogy. The Imperial soldiers are notorious for being horrible shots with a blaster, but the name "Deathtrooper" suggests things could change this time around. One of the biggest questions Rogue One will have to answer (being a prequel) is why this type of stormtrooper is absent in the first three films.
The other images don't have much in terms of eye-catching reveals, but many will find the pairing of Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) noteworthy. Cassian is described as a "by the book" Rebel officer who acts as Jyn's handler once she is brought in for the mission. EW was told that he is the "reliable, stable one" to provide a balance to Erso's "loose-cannoned tendencies." Their dynamic has the potential to be one of the more rewarding aspects of Rogue One. The Star Wars franchise has long taken a mismatched pair and turned them into best friends (Luke Skywalker and Han Solo; Rey and Finn), so Jyn and Cassian could have that area covered in director Gareth Edward's film. It sounds like their relationship has the potential to be Rogue One's emotional core - regardless of whether or not a romance blossoms between the two.
With the release of these latest images, it appears EW's round of exclusives is at an end, but Lucasfilm is just getting started. Star Wars Celebration 2016 takes place in just a matter of weeks (Edwards and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy have a panel!), and San Diego Comic-Con 2016 follows soon after. Those are two massive events that serve as ideal venues for debuting new footage and/or trailers to give viewers a taste of a full-blown war drama in the Star Wars universe. There's a lot riding on the success of these standalone films, and the Disney marketing machine will do whatever they can to raise excitement.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in U.S. theaters on December 16, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIIIon 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.