Did you see it?
My first thought was that we were looking at a statue of Old Ben Kenobi, but it’s more likely that this is just the remains of an unnamed Jedi monument. And it’s in ruin.
This makes sense, and it’s why we’re unlikely to see much in the way of Jedi in the films. The vast majority of Jedi were wiped out by Order 66 during Revenge of the Sith, and it’s likely the Emperor ordered the destruction of Jedi temples and records during that time.
So where were the Jedi during the events of Rogue One? The few left are in hiding — Yoda is doing his thing on Dagobah and Obi-Wan is in exile on Tattooine — although Rogue One takes place during the same general timeline as the Rebels television show, and remember that everything Disney released after the purge of the expanded universe is considered canon. So Kanan is out there, as is Ahsoka.
The Jedi are thought to have been destroyed, though. Which explains my favorite scene of Rebels: Kanan revealing himself to the Empire was a dangerous, maybe even reckless move on his part.
They react to him with awe, but the officer quickly regains his wits. “Focus your fire on ... the Jedi,” he tells everyone.
Also, I’m going to use this opportunity to tell you to watch Rebels. Seriously. You’re missing out.
So people know who the Jedi were at this point. And, while Rogue One seems to happen very close to the Battle of Yavin, the events of the rest of the films and the work the Empire puts into pushing the Jedi back into myth seem to have worked pretty well. The Jedi are regarded as a bedtime story and little more during The Force Awakens.
That makes sense, and I’ll explain why:
So Rogue One could fill in some blanks about how the Empire is treating the idea of the Jedi, and what people think of the Force during this time. We also know that characters like Chirrut Îmwe, who aren’t Jedi and may or may not be Force-sensitive, worship the Force as a religion. The flame is being carried, even if characters like Han Solo regard the very idea of the Force as something of a joke.
The statue is a tiny shot in the trailer, but it means the film is at least going to nod at these issues. We can’t wait.