Earlier today, Disney and Lucasfilm premiered the first teaser trailer for Gareth Edwards' upcoming Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on Good Morning America.
Before this trailer was released, there wasn't too much information about the project outside of casting news. Even then, character names weren't revealed and only one promotional image was released by the studio. Although, there wasn't a lot to go off there, either.
Now, the studio has given us a name for Felicity Jones' main character — Jyn Erso — but there's still quite a bit happening in the trailer that we don't know about. We still don't know the names of the other characters, for example, or where the events of this movie take place.
To try and get a better understanding of what may be happening in the first standalone movie to come out of the Star Wars universe, we broke the trailer down scene-by-scene to examine it more in-depth.
The first shot we have of the new film is of Jones' Jyn Erso being led through an X-Wing hangar on what can only be assumed is the Rebel's base. In Episode IV, their base was located on a tiny moon called Yavin 4. We know that this was, at the very least, the second base the Rebels used after they abandoned their original camp on the planet Dantooine. Considering the events of Rogue One take place before Episode IV, there's a good chance that we'll see Dantooine used as the new home planet for the Alliance.
It's interesting that as she's being lead through the base, it appears she's been handcuffed. We know that Jyn Erso has been on her own since the age of 15, and has learned to tough it out to survive, but we don't know what's happened to lead her to the Rebel base. Nor, do we know, if she joined the rebellion willingly or not. We do know, however, that she does have a criminal history, including offenses for "forgery of Imperial documents, possession of stolen property, aggravated assault and resisting arrest."
Another interesting aspect of this part in the trailer to note is the possible appearance of the R5-X2 droid gliding through the hangar. The R5-X2 droid, although not as popular as R2-D2, appeared in Episode I — The Phantom Menace ahead of the famous Boonta podrace. While R5-X2 doesn't have a huge importance in the Star Wars series, it may be one of the ways director Gareth Edwards ties Rogue One to the main series. The droid can be seen in the bottom right hand corner of the gif below.
The next scene is one of the most important and introduces a key character that was supposed to be in Episode III — Revenge of the Sith, but was eventually cut out. Mon Mothma, played by Genevieve O'Reilly, was one of Chancellor Palpatine's enthusiastic supporters during the Separatist Crisis and Clone Wars. As a politician who served in both the Imperial Senate and Galactic Senate, her opinion carried quite a bit of weight and she ended up becoming the first chancellor of the New Republic. However, after Chancellor Palpatine changed the Republic into the Galactic Empire at the end of the war, Mon Mothma turned her back on him and began working on the foundations of the Rebel Alliance.
In the clip, she talks to Jyn Erso about joining their mission and inevitably heads up the group of fighters who plan to steal the plans to the Death Star.
There are a couple of other key characters in this scene, although we don't know who they are, unfortunately. One of the actors who appears, Diego Luna, will be Jyn Erso's right-hand man in the mission (based on other scenes that appear in the trailer), but we don't know what his connection is to the Rebel Alliance or what his exact role is within the organization. In fact, this is the only time we get a close-up of his face. He only appears one other time in the trailer, walking alongside Jyn Erso as they leave the base with a group of Rebel fighter pilots. We know from the expanded universe that Oscar Isaac’s Poe grew up on Yavin. Perhaps Luna, another Latino actor, is also playing a native of that planet.
Toward the beginning of the trailer, we also get a glimpse of the kind of fighter Jyn Erso is. There's one particular scene where she comes across a group of stormtroopers in an unidentifiable alley, switching back between hand-to-hand combat and using her blaster to take them out. It looks like she's a trained fighter, but there's no evidence outside of her fighting technique to prove otherwise. Again, knowing that she's been orphaned since the age of 15, she may have picked up her fighting skills elsewhere. Remember, she's gotten into trouble before for aggravated assault.
If the beginning of the trailer was used to introduce Jyn Erso and showcase her as the Rebel Alliance's newest hope in taking down the Galactic Empire, the middle was definitely an introduction to that villainous organization. There's quite a few scenes focusing on different classes of stormtroopers, as well as a closeup of Ben Mendelsohn's ominous character and some more combat scenes.
The Death Star, one of the most iconic weapons in the Star Wars universe, is under construction in Rogue One, and the trailer gives us a tiny look at that process. In the scene below, we can see the Star Destroyer flying through space while the finishing touches of the Death Star are added. As we've always known, the main arc of the movie will follow Jyn Erso and her Rebel team as they attempt to steal the plans for it so the Alliance can destroy it. A feat, we know, doesn't happen until Episode IV.
While Jyn Erso and her team try to steal the plans, however, it will be Ben Medelsohn's character — whose name we are still unaware of — acting as the main force trying to prevent them from doing so. As a member of the Empire, he'll be overlooking the construction of the Death Star and probably has close ties to Chancellor Palpatine.
We also get this beautiful shot of Mendelsohn walking on a planet where a battle has just taken place. We don't know what exactly has happened, but there are stormtrooper bodies laying around on the ground and in some kind of water. There also appears to be a fighter jet of some kind that has been shot down in the upper left hand corner of the gif below, and while it looks like an Y-Wing, it's difficult to tell for sure.
Besides Mendelsohn, there are some other members of the Empire that get showcased in the clip, including a group of shadow stormtroopers. Shadow stormtroopers, otherwise known as Blackhole stormtroopers, carry cloaking devices that make them invisible and are known for their role within the Imperial army. They're also the personal unit of stormtroopers that belong to the head of Imperial Intelligence.
The middle segment of the trailer also introduces some of the bigger cast members. Forest Whitaker and Donnie Yen both make an appearance, and while their identities are never revealed, it looks like they're on the Rebel's side. Whitaker appears to be a veteran fighter with the Alliance, talking to a character offscreen about his ordeals with the Empire. Yen, on the other hand, doesn't say anything, but does take on a group of stormtroopers in a very quick clip.
The end of the trailer gives us two very cool scenes. The first features a cloaked figure, bowing down before what appears to be a tank. The tank is being guarded by a couple of sinister Imperial guards, who only appear in the original trilogy when the emperor is around, which leads us to believe that someone like Darth Vader could be in there. The trailer doesn't reveal this figure's face, but there are a couple of actors who we know are in the movie who don't appear. Alan Tudyk, for example, has a role in the film and was absent from the trailer. As was Mads Mikkelsen. We know that Tudyk will be playing a motion-capture character, so while he probably isn't one of the cloaked figures, Mikkelsen definitely could be.
One of the last shots in the trailer features Jyn Erso and her team running away from a building while avoiding being shot by a group of Imperial Walkers. There's not a lot to work with, but we can see palm trees, sand and water on the ground, leading us to believe this is a tropical setting.
More information will be made available as we get closer to the release date and more trailers are revealed. With Star Wars Celebration just a couple of months away (it takes place the weekend before San Diego Comic Con in July), expect to see some more footage around then.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theaters Dec. 16.