Rogue One: the biggest reveals from the new trailer Part 2

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Source: ScreenRant.Com. All animated gifs made by me with Adobe Photoshop CS6.

We’ve been waiting quite a long time for the second trailer from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – we all originally thought that we would be receiving it during Star Wars Celebration last month, and while itdid manage to premiere there, it was meant only for the crowd in London. (And then we all ended up waiting even longer during NBC’s Olympics coverage last night, as the network didn’t deem fit to air the Rogue One sneak peek until some two-and-a-half hours into its sporting coverage.)

And now that it’s here, it’s proven to be… well, we won’t use the word anticlimactic, since nearly anyStar Wars teaser stirs our hearts, but it did rely rather heavily on footage from the previous trailer. Still, there’s a few tidbits – not to mention speculation – to wring from last night’s two minutes of footage, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do here.

Without further ado, here are the Biggest Reveals From The New Rogue One Trailer Part 2.

MORE FROM SAW GERRERA

Although Jyn Erso may be the movie’s lead, and though Chirrut Imwe represents the biggest break in the cinematic language of the franchise, it is Saw Gerrera that best illustrates the new Lucasfilm’s approach to its now-shared-universe storytelling: originally introduced in the TV series The Clone Wars, he has since gone on to have his character and historical influence built up in such Expanded Universe installments as Rebels, Clone Wars’s television follow-up, and the novel Bloodline (which was doubtlessly done in order to help prepare for his introduction into the live-action format). Lucasfilm and Disney have been long hinting at such multimedia coordination and crossovers as they continue to fire up their around-the-clock Star Wars release machine (you can read all about this in ourexploration of Saw Gerrera).

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For all those viewers who have no idea about any of this rich, cross-promotional history, however, Gerrera’s little speech that opens the new teaser goes a long way to establishing his past, illustrating his rather extreme nature (which is fully on display in the original teaser, in which Saw presses the untested Erso on what will happen when her mission goes south). One could also infer from this exchange that the Clone Wars veteran has had a resistance cell operating on the moon of Jedha, where most of Rogue One’s action seems to be set, for some time, and that Jyn and her team are attempting to coordinate with Gerrera in order to help achieve their objective(s).

ORSON KRENNIC IS FUMING MAD

The one character that is still, to this day, the most mysterious – in either the marketing materials or in interviews with the cast and crew – is Orson Krennic, the white-clad man who can be seen charging onto the battlefield, his cape flapping behind him, in the previous teaser. While we now know he is a military director who has latched onto the completion of the Death Star as a means of climbing the Imperial ladder and currying favor with Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) himself, nothing in the aired footage thus far has ever established such a role or backstory.

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What is hinted at is something a lot less expositional and more visceral: his sole shot in the second trailer is of him strolling towards a viewport, presumably on the Death Star, as a planet comes into view, with a look of pure rage on his face. Though admittedly not much to go on, it does suggest a loose timetable of events, starting with Jyn and the Rebels’ arrival on Jedha, their complication of some important Imperial work there (more on this in just a moment), and Krennic’s extreme displeasure of the whole Death Star project blowing up in his face, ruining his career.

This could also be where the presence of the Dark Lords of the Sith come into play – we already know that Darth Vader is in the film, and there’s that already-legendary shot from the first trailer that shows some dark side-aligned figure entering a chamber that is flanked by the Emperor’s personal guard. Perhaps they’ve been deployed by Palpatine in order to ensure that Orson doesn’t falter from his path, which could lead to…

A MAJOR WEAPONS TEST IS IMMINENT

“A major weapons test is imminent” is a phrase that features heavily in both trailers, spoken by Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) to, it appears, Jyn Erso, when describing her crucially important mission to her. In the teaser, one wouldn’t be blamed for assuming that a “major weapons test” is all that the still-fledgling Rebel Alliance knows of the Death Star, with the heroine’s job being to attain as much intel on it as possible. In the context of this footage, however, one could argue that maybe the weapons test applies less to the floating battle station itself and more to an actual test that the Death Star is going to actually implement – against Jedha, possibly Orson Krennic’s retaliation for the difficulties that the planet (and Jyn Erso) has been providing for him.

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There is, of course, a chronological danger here, as is present in so many prequels (including George Lucas’s own trilogy): seeing the Death Star fire and destroy another celestial body, even if it’s just a moon, would dramatically undercut the impact and unprecedented nature of the destruction of Alderaan – which was also, of course, supposed to be the weapon’s first deployment. Then again, there’s another danger present, as well, one relegated to the specific storytelling requirements ofRogue One specifically: if the whole movie spends a great deal of time building up the mystique, majesty, and power of the Death Star, then not firing it would be the literal definition of an anticlimax. This is a delicate balance that Gareth Edwards needs to maintain, and one that may very well provide a zero-sum outcome.

DARTH VADER’S POSSIBLE ROLE

We’ve already speculated on how Sith Lord Darth Vader’s presence is accounted for in the film, but that leaves just what his payoff will be. We actually have two guesses on this front.

Before we dive into them, however, it’s first necessary to quickly recap what we know about Jedha. Its role as the location where “the special resources needed to build lightsabers” (most likely Kyber crystals, if the new Lucasfilm opts to use the old continuity’s mythology) are located means that it’s strategically important for the Empire to occupy the moon, and it also means that it’s become something of a pilgrimage site for those who still remember and mourn the Jedi Order (or for those like Chirrut Imwe, who adhere to the tents of the Force). In short, we could call this a Force-sensitive planetoid.

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Now, onto the first possibility for why Vader is in the film. The former Anakin Skywalker may be the one who belays Orson Krennic’s order to destroy Jedha, given its importance to the Force (and, just perhaps, as a sop to the small part of him that is still Anakin and, therefore, still a Jedi). This would provide a narratively-valid way to preserve the continuity of A New Hope (in theory, at least).

Secondly, Lord Vader may be present in order to be the method of our protagonists’ destruction; this movie doesn’t seem destined, in terms of either timeline or tone, to boast a happy ending, and what more fitting a way to have Jyn and her team be defeated than by the fearsome Dark Lord himself? It would make his grand entrance in the beginning of Episode IV all the grander.

THE ATMOSPHERICS OF COMBAT

This new trailer opens with some rather epic shots of Jedha, and the Imperial occupation of it. The filmmakers have mentioned that they modeled the desert moon loosely after the Middle East, generally, and Mecca, specifically, utilizing narrow alleyways and throngs of people (pilgrims?) to create the sense and feel of something of a holy site.

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Completing the contemporary paralleling is the imagery of occupation – exactly what the United States is currently doing in both Afghanistan and Iraq – including the constant hustle-and-bustle of Imperial shuttles and TIE fighters swirling over the landscape but dominated, quite literally, by a massive Star Destroyer hovering above what we can only assume is Jedha’s capital city. More than its sociopolitical overtones (which fit with, say, Episode VI: Return of the Jedi’s Vietnam War-era allusions, though nowhere near as directly), it’s the sheer beauty – and chilling effect – of the shots that jump straight to one’s mind; it’s yet another first for a Star Wars film, which plays up the premise and potential both of the “anthology” installments rather nicely. (Providing the first on-the-big-screen depiction of a Star Destroyer in planetary atmosphere may also go a long way to counterbalancing the “been there, done that” baggage of the Death Star, as well.)

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It also potentially hits at something that is, itself, an extremely recent addition to the SW cinematic pantheon: in-atmosphere combat. While space dogfights have been a mainstay since the very beginning, all the way back in 1977, and while ground battles followed shortly thereafter in 1980, it wasn’t until just last year, with The Force Awakens, that atmospheric conflicts were first seen. Maybe the Disney Lucasfilm wants to double-down on what may ultimately prove to be one of its hallmark touches during its tenure of the franchise.

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.

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