“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” Trailer Analysis

You know why I’m here. You saw the trailer too. So the first official teaser trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has dropped. I don’t do posts on movie trailers or teaser images. Last week, some people wanted to hear my word on the Lego Batman Movie trailers. But they were essentially the same, so I’d be saying, “There’s a brand new Lego Movie coming out. It’s about Batman, and there are a lot of self-referential jokes. Done.” Same thing when the first cast image appeared last August. Here’s what it would’ve been: “It looks like a bunch of battered Rebels, just like we all heard. Looks cool, but I don’t see the importance of this in the middle of The Force Awakens’ campaign. Done.” But this first trailer? Oh yeah, there’s enough to talk about. The trailer opens with Felicity Jones’ character, Jyn Erso, being interrogated on what looks like the Rebel base on Yavin 4 by Mon Mothma and General Dodonna. She remarks, “This is a Rebellion, isn’t it? I rebel.” Pretty witty and clever, not only because it’s told over a scene of her kicking Imperial ass, but also directly addresses the Rebel Alliance’s seemingly obvious sales pitch. This film is being directed by Gareth Edwards, the director of the new American incarnation of Godzilla. If there’s one thing he did right in both of those movies, it’s that he showed off an immense scale. It’s looking no different in this trailer. You see it when the Star Destroyers are so puny when compared to the completion of the Death Star. Next, can we just address the love movie trailers have for loud, siren-like bursts of alarm? It plays almost all throughout, especially during the montage of action. We also get our first look at Forrest Whitaker. It’s kind of odd to see one of the most accomplished actors in the world and in this saga as a Mad Max-like warrior, but he provides an obligatory ominous voice-over. He keeps asking, “What will you do if they catch you? What will you do if they break you?!” From context, it sounds like he’s a mentor figure of sorts to Jyn Erso, warning her about going off to war. This montage also shows Donnie Yen, the modern-day Bruce Lee of martial arts movies, being a complete badass. Though he’s a blind alien, he’s more than capable of taking down an entire Imperial Stormtrooper squad with a staff like Morgan from The Walking Dead. You get a couple glimpses of Ben Mendohlson as the villainous officer of the Empire, and he looks like he’s high in power. Just his white cape and stride through the aftermath of a large battle are enough for the as-yet unnamed character to look intimidating. There’s one quick shot of someone approaching the Emperor’s Guards. I’ve heard that Darth Vader makes an appearance in this movie in some capacity. From what it looks like, he may not be relegated to a simple cameo for the sake of fan service. And remember what I said about the director’s penchant for huge scale? The teaser ends with many of the Rebel soldiers running across a beach landscape towards a line of AT-AT Walkers. It felt so cool and intense. It seemed reminiscent of the front line beach attack in Saving Private Ryan, because like the Nazis, these gigantic Walkers are not messing around. Now comes the part where I explain what the hell I’ve been talking about. So about a year ago, Disney announced that the Extended Universe has been wiped from canon, which now only consists of the films and cartoon series. (And supposedly that godawful Holiday Special) They also announced that in addition to the core movies, they begin an Anthology series. This is where each installment is a different stand-alone picture centered around a different story. And now we have an entire cinematic plan that stretches from now to the year 2020. The first Anthology movie is Rogue One, which focuses on the Rebel soldiers and spies who embarked on a suicide mission to steal the Death Star plans right before the events of A New Hope. And unlike the other films, this is meant to be a gritty and grounded war drama, with no Jedi or Lightsaber battle included. While many have argued that this business practice of releasing annual films screams money-grab, I think it’s a great proposition for fans. Outside of the central Skywalker family arc, there is a wealth of fascinating stories in the Star Wars Galaxy worth exploring. And now that the first teaser trailer has released, I’m officially pumped. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

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