As Star Wars fans eagerly await the arrival of 2017's Star Wars: Episode VIII and the continuation of the main Skywalker family saga, Disney and Lucasfilm are keeping their prized franchise a live and well in the interim. This December sees the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the first live-action spinoff in the film series. Directed by Gareth Edwards (Godzilla), it revolves around the team of Rebel Alliance fighters tasked with stealing the original Death Star plans. The movie will reportedly conclude roughly 10 minutes before the start of 1977's A New Hope.
Following the release of a teaser this past April, the studio revealed a plethora of information about the film's cast of characters recently, sharing new still images from the production, confirming a connection with the larger Star Wars canon, and announcing the long-awaited return of famed villain Darth Vader. Ever since then, moviegoers have been anxious to see another trailer for the film, and now Lucasfilm has unveiled a new preview for Rogue One. You can watch it above.
Running about two minutes, the trailer does a very good job of setting up the basic conflict and time period. As was shown in the original teaser, Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) is recruited by the Rebellion to take part in a daring mission to steal the Death Star plans and stop the influence of the Empire. Supporting characters such as Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), Chirrut (Donnie Yen), and Baze Malbus (Wen Jiang) are also highlighted, shedding light on their motivations for joining the fight. Viewers also get a look at Alan Tudyk's K-2SO, a droid with a dry sense of humor, as well as director Gareth Edwards' sense of scope and scale in staging epic battle sequences. Finally, fans are treated to a single glimpse of the one and only Darth Vader as his iconic breath booms through the speakers.
Check out new revealing looks at the cast and ships of Rogue One below:
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A while back, Rogue One made headlines for all the wrong reasons when speculation ran rampant about the project's reshoots. Thankfully, it would appear that many of those reports were overblown, as members of the cast and crew have indicated that everything is proceeding as planned. If there was any truth to the more extreme rumors (i.e. 40 percent of the film had to be redone), then there would be little chance of Rogue One meeting its release date. Hopefully, the arrival of this new trailer shifts the conversation and once again gets viewers excited about returning to a galaxy far, far away.
Rogue One is shaping up to be a different kind of beast in the Star Wars universe. One of the goals with the standalone anthology films is to play with different genres, and Edwards is using his installment to make a war movie within the universe. From the footage and pictures that have been shown so far, that aesthetic and tone is conveyed very nicely, illustrating that Rogue One is a departure from the classic space opera tone that's defined the numbered episodes. If Star Wars is to thrive longterm with annual releases, it's important for these spinoffs to mix things up and keep the films fresh. The last thing Lucasfilm wants is for the series to get stale, which is why they've brought in a wide range of directors (see: Phil Lord and Chris Miller) to handle their slate. Each movie should have its own feel.
With Rogue One being a prequel set 34 years before The Force Awakens, there may be some viewers wondering why Lucasfilm went this route and didn't just focus exclusively on the sequel trilogy. But the main episodes only scratch the surface of Star Wars' potential; the galaxy is vast, full of characters and locations worth exploring. It would seemingly be a waste to not shine the spotlight on other corners of the universe to flesh it out even further and (ideally) add to the movies fans already know and love. Plus, this is perhaps the final time viewers will get to see Vader on the big screen, and that's reason to celebrate.
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.