What We Learned From New Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Footage

The only proof you need  about how mind-blowing the new footage from Rogue One – A Star Wars Story is, is that image of Imperial Stormtroopers walking through the shallow waters, storming the beach on the planet Scarif.

Director Gareth Edwards delivered an image we’ve never seen in any type of Star Wars media — not in any movie, animated tv series, or video game. Maybe I’m wrong with the video game but still. Considering the massive amount of Star Wars IP out there, providing such a stunning image like that is truly impressive.

Rogue One Teaser

The sizzle reel Lucasfilm released seems designed to snuff out all those rumors from several weeks ago that Disney execs were so worried about Rogue One they ordered nearly half the film to be reshot. Because that reel did nothing to change the expectations that Rogue One will be a war movie. Nearly every shot, from the Saving Private Ryan-style beach battle shots to the practical stuntwork underscored in behind-the-scenes footage, hints at a different type of Star Wars film.

And I love it. As much as I love SW, there are many, many different types of stories waiting to be told in that galaxy. I don’t put too much stock in trailers and promo reels because by design, they’re meant to highlight all the positive. But dang, I’m beyond excited to see this movie.

Other tidbits from the #SWCelebration:

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  • Did we actually get a glimpse of the mythical stolen Death Star plans? Look at this picture above showing Jyn and Cassian running through a battlefield. Are those the plans Jyn is holding in her left hand? Unless that’s the type of handbag they used during that time of Imperial enforcement, it would certainly seem to be the case. When I saw that, I had a major geek-out moment. Think about it: We knew about the stolen plans before we knew a single thing about Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Obi-Wan Kenobi … These plans are one of the lynchpins of the SW universe. And while we did see the schematics in ANH and ROTS, to see them here,  if those indeed are the plans, is pretty awesome.
  • A major focus of Rogue One is the planet Jedha. Edwards called it the ‘mecca’ of the SW galaxy. The director talked about how since the story takes place at a time when the Jedi were considered extinct, having a spiritual center, a place where these almost religious icons could be worshipped and remembered, made sense. Like a great many SW worlds, Jedha is also big on desert landscapes (many of the scenes were shot in Jordan).
  • Alan Tudyk plays a droid named K-2SO, and he’ll just be voicing the character. It’s an all-CGI droid, which no doubt makes eternal frenemies Anthony Daniels and Kenny Baker united in their envy. Oh, and Tudyk told the audience that his character is like that grandfather you know who speaks his mind and seems a bit…off. Maybe because he was once an Imperial droid.
  • Diego Luna’s character, Cassian, is a Rebel Intelligence operative. Riz Ahmed plays a pilot named Bodhi who works for the Empire, but is questioning his career path.
  • Forest Whitaker is playing Saw Gerrera, who we already know originated in the Clone Wars tv series. His rebel faction takes an extremist, ‘anything goes’ ideal into its fight with the Empire. Whitaker also earned lots of points with the home crowd by announcing he’s gone back and watched all of the Clone Wars episodes with his character.
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  • I counted at least a half-dozen new types of creatures and stormtroopers in the sizzle reel, not including the already-introduced black-costumed troopers. All looked interesting, but I really want to know who that cackling little fellow manning the gun in the attack is — he looks like he hangs out with that old Marvel villain The Red Ghost.
  • We have John Knoll, digital effects artist at ILM, to thank for Rogue One. Knoll pitched the caper-style story about the rebels who stole the plans to the original Death Star back when George Lucas was prepping the live-action SW TV show, Underworld. The idea didn’t fit with the timeline of that show, but when Disney bought SW from Lucas and the anthology movies were announced, Knoll decided to re-pitch. Thank you for your persistence, sir.
  • The Black Series action figure for Jyn Erso looks AMAZING. Good to see Lucasfilm and Hasbro learning from the Rey fiasco and getting out in front by releasing the Jyn figure first. I mean, she is the STAR of the movie, after all. I’ll definitely be picking this up — for my daughters of course! Jyn

To quote another piece of art that I’m obsessed with, how lucky we are to be alive right now. The Star Wars universe is an open-source sandbox, and we’re the beneficiaries of the creative wonders that are being made inside it.

Hurry up and get here, December 18th!

Here is that sizzle reel for you to enjoy, over and over.

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