The teaser trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story landed today, sending the internet into a frenzy. And with good reason: although this first look at Gareth Edwards’ new Star Wars spin-off clocks in at under 2 minutes, there’s still a lot to unpack! With this in mind, here’s a round-up of the five biggest things we learned in the Rogue One teaser.
5. Our hero has a name (and a backstory)
Ever since we first learned that Felicity Jones had signed on to headline Rogue One, we’ve all been dying to know who the Oscar-nominated actress will be playing. Now we know: Jones has stepped into the boots of Jyn Erso, a rebellious young woman whose roguish charm is already drawing comparisons with king scoundrel of them all, Han Solo.
The teaser hints Jyn’s chequered past, which seems to be the reason why the Rebel Alliance has drafted her for the do-or-die mission that drives the plot of Rogue One. We also witness several shots of Jyn kicking Stormtrooper butt, which probably didn’t hurt her recruitment chances, either!
4. The galaxy far, far away is still a small, small place
Along with sneak peeks at Forest Whitaker’s armour-sporting veteran and Ben Mendelsohn’s stern Imperial officer, the Rogue One teaser also spotlights familiar faces from the original Star Wars trilogy, too. Hardcore fans will recognise Rebel Alliance leader Mon Mothma, played here by Genevieve O’Reilly (reprising her small role in Revenge of the Sith). There’s also a blink-and-you’ll-miss it shot of a shadowy figure kneeling before a bacta healing tank which could signal the involvement of iconic baddie Darth Vader!
3. The Death Star is brand-spanking new
Thanks to the official Lucasfilm synopsis, we already know that Rogue One is set shortly before A New Hope. We also know that the spin-off revolves around Jyn and her plucky band of Rebels stealing the Death Star plans – but we didn’t know that the moon-sized battle station is only newly minted when the movie kicks off. Seriously, the teaser shows the Empire packing in the Death Star’s giant laser beam, like a gigantic pimento of death!
Even knowing the eventual fate of the Death Star (spoiler: it blows up), establishing it as a brand new threat should inject a welcome sense of urgency into the movie’s heist plotline. It also helps build continuity, drawing a nice line between the skeletal frame glimpsed in Revenge of the Sith and the fully armed and the operational super weapon terrorising the galaxy in A New Hope.
2. Forget Light Side vs Dark Side
The Star Wars saga is built around internal and external struggles between good and evil. However, it’s clear from the Rogue One teaser that Gareth Edwards’ is shooting for a more ambiguous examination of morality with this new spin-off. From Jyn’s troubled past to the grittier, “in the trenches” vibe, it’s a fair bet that this won’t be a film with clearly defined good guys and bad guys. Most tantalising of all is the final shot of the teaserr, which depicts Jyn kitted out in Imperial gear – could this be a simple case of misdirection (Jyn could be rocking a disguise), or will Jyn fall from grace?
1. Practical effects and seamless CGI continue rule the day
The Rogue One teaser confirms that, much like The Force Awakens, the Star Wars franchise has moved on from the visual effects overkill that bogged down the prequels.
Gareth Edwards and his team have opted for tangible (albeit digitally enhanced) sets, and the major effects we do see – including the Death Star, Star Destroyers and AT-AT walkers – jibe with the aesthetic established in the original trilogy and gel convincingly with their surroundings.
The fight scenes also emphasise practical effects work and real stuntmen over CGI trickery. The action we see in the teaser strikes a nice blend between stylised choreography and something more hard-hitting and raw.