Star Wars Celebration 2016 is happening in London now and Star Wars: The Force Awakens‘ Gwendoline Christie hosted a panel with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, director Gareth Edwards and the cast of the movie, including Felicity Jones, who plays protagonist Jyn Erso. Edwards shared a couple of special treats for fans: a brand new poster showing Rebels rushing into battle with Stormtroopers on a beach as the Death Star looms ominously in the background, and a piece of very early concept art for the movie, showing a Rebel team that looks rather different from the final lineup in the movie, but demonstrates that the war movie feel that we’ve seen in the trailers was present from the very beginning.
Check out both images below:
Based on the concept art, it looks like the plan for Rogue One included an android character and a mixed-gender team from a very early stage, though the final lineup doesn’t include any aliens (at least, not that we know of yet). The team that audiences will meet in the movie consists of Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso, Diego Luna as Captain Cassian Andor, Donnie Yen as Chirrut Imwe, Jiang Wen as Baze Malbus, Riz Ahmed as pilot Bodhi Rook, and Alan Tudyk as android K-2SO.
The poster shows a scene from what appears to be a centerpiece battle of the movie, which we saw glimpses of in the first trailer for Rogue One. Among the Rebel fighters running towards the Stormtroopers in the poster are the main characters of the movie – you can see K-2SO on the far left, with Cassian and Jyn closer to the water and Chirrut and Baze farther down the beach. During the panel it was also revealed that the name of the planet they’re on is Jedha, and that the battle scenes were filmed in Maldives. Given what we’ve already seen, this battle promises to be quite the spectacle on the big screen.
How much Darth Vader is there in Star Wars: Rogue One?
Although it has yet to be released publicly at the time of this writing, during Star Wars Celebration a second brand new teaser trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was played for attendees, and the biggest takeaway from it – in addition to it being a better trailer than the first one – is that it concludes with the reveal of Darth Vader. Appropriately so, he’s not shown in full form. Instead, his silhouette and vague details of his costume are seen in a reflection as the camera pans upward over a shiny floor, with something bright red behind Vader as we hear him breathe. It’s not a surprise, but as one of the most iconic film characters of all-time, it was no less exciting. But how much is Vader actually in Rogue One?
“He’s got such a gravitational pull, the second he shows up you just get sucked into Darth Vader. So it was a process to try and figure out how to pepper that in in a way that felt right. When I read the first document, which is ‘this is what we’re thinking of doing’ I was like ‘Oh my god, they’re going to do that film? Geeze.’ And at the time I thought they must have sent it to hundred other people and I accidentally got it by mistake. Then I realized they were going to do it, and I was like ‘I could never live with myself to be two years from then and it’s coming out and this is happening and there’s some guy here going ‘yeah, so we filmed in 360′ and I’d be going ‘God damn I could have been doing that!’ So you have to do it…and I’ve forgotten the question.”
“Sure. So hopefully, it was like… I got pulled into making the film through my love of the original films, but then what was a clear conversation that happened early on at Lucasfilm is that we’re doing new things here, this is not a karaoke number or just pure winks and fan service. That’s not going to make a good film. This has got to be characters that you care about and there’s an opportunity to create new people and events that pull you in, so hopefully the goal is that you come to the film for all the reasons that we love Star Wars and you get sucked in and start to care about the new people and when you’re in the midst of all that and that’s going on, familiar things start to pass you by, you start to remember ‘Oh yeah, oh yeah’ but the film should exist on it’s own terms.
If all these films are ever just ‘And here’s that character you love, Yay! Here’s that other character you love, Yay!’ all the time, that’s all they’re doing then they’re not really doing what George did – he tried to find stories that were about something, that were saying something, that you keep in your pocket forty years later, that stay in your head and are still affecting you.”
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.