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by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Dan Moren

Rogue One trailer: “This is a rebellion, isn’t it?”

Note: This story has not been updated for several years.

Like we weren’t going to link a Star Wars trailer.

Rogue One is the first of the Star Wars anthology films (it’s subtitled “A Star Wars Story”, which seems to be the new branding), and it follows Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), who is tasked to steal the plans for the original Death Star–or, in other words, the events that lead directly to A New Hope. (I don’t think it’s going too far to suggest she’ll be accompanied by a ragtag band of misfits.)

This is going to be largely unlike any Star Wars story we’ve seen before: despite the simplified piano version of John Williams’s “Force theme” in the trailer, there seems to be little involvement of any of the saga’s mystical themes, instead focusing on a classic military “on a mission” story. Think The Dirty Dozen or Guns of Navarone or Where Eagles Dare meets Star Wars.1 It seems to be playing up Star Wars‘s sci-fi and action elements, and playing down the epic fantasy. And that’s okay! The nice thing about having an anthology is it leaves room open for all sorts of different stories.

It’s also the first time that we’ve ever really had a standalone Star Wars film–you can sort of count the original movie there, but it was always formulated as an “episode”–and while the name brand alone should be enough to propel it to success, it will be interesting to see how audiences react to characters who are presumably one-and-done.2

Of course, there’s the benefit of getting to use all the iconic original trilogy characters and settings: in the trailer, we see classic stormtroopers, AT-ATs, what looks to be the base on Yavin IV, and Star Destroyers. (The latter gave me a chill, I can tell you that.) But we also get new characters and fleshing out of corners of the universe that we haven’t seen explored on the big screen before, and that’s exciting.

There are already additional standalone movies in development, and it’s hard to imagine anything with “Star Wars” in the title not doing well, especially after the success of The Force Awakens. But Lucasfilm is also being careful not to inundate us with Rogue One marketing, either: there was one previously released picture of some of the cast3, and that was it. Kind of wacky to get your first real glimpse at a Star Wars movie only about half a year before it comes out, right? I like the “less is more” approach they’re taking, and much as I doubt this will be the last we see before the film’s release, well, I’d be okay if it were.

Regardless, we’re destined to get Star Wars films every year from now until we loop back around to a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Here’s hoping they maintain what looks to be this level of quality for at least a while.

  1. And if you haven’t seen any of those, what are you still doing here? 
  2. Though, of course, there are already rumors that Jones’s character might be linked to The Force Awakens‘s Rey–her absentee mother, perhaps. I’m not sold: I think the anthology films are going to be linked to the main threads via plot and setting, but not quite so incestuously. 
  3. A very diverse cast, to boot! Though it could use more women. At least the trailer itself passes the Bechdel test

[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Twitter at @dmoren or reach him by email at The latest novel in his Galactic Cold War series of sci-fi space adventures, The Nova Incident, is available now.]

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