Rogue One: A Star Wars Story: five things we learned from the latest trailer
Force theology has got a bit hazy, Star Destroyers may have learned to hide, and Darth is definitely in the house
Gareth Edwards’ debut Star Wars movie has been plagued by reports of reshoots and touble in the edit suite , with Tony Gilroy parachuted in from the Bourne saga to oversee the final cut. And the pressure is on Disney and Lucasfilm to make sure the saga’s first ever spin-off instalment (don’t call it a prequel) repeats the barnstorming success of The Force Awakens at the global box office. So can the new trailer, first aired last night in the US during coverage of the Olympics, successfully negotiate the asteroid field of uncertainty surrounding the movie? Or will it crash and burn like an over-confident Phantom Menace podracer? Here are five takeaways from our latest glimpse of goings on in a galaxy far, far, away.
The Force is being tinkered with in unexpected ways
Edwards recently told Entertainment Weekly that the planet of Jedha – most of Rogue One seems to be set here – has become a kind of holy land for followers of the Jedi, which perhaps explains why the Empire are so keen to control it. Donnie Yen’s Chirrut Imwe is one of these new kind of Force acolytes, incapable of using the mystical energy field to control their environments, but nonetheless determined to uphold its principles. But what are these exactly? Previous Star Wars directors have kept the whole concept pretty nebulous, and for good reason.
Imwe seems to be taking a fatalistic view of the Force into battle with him. This is not something we’ve really seen before, and certainly jars a little. Given we’ve not yet seen the Jedi equivalent of preachers, which would mean our new friend has had no one to teach him about Jedi mantras, is it possible he has misunderstood the whole religion?
Forest Whitaker’s Saw Gerrera needs convincing
We know from episodes of TV show Star Wars: The Clone Wars, that the resistance veteran has been fighting a guerrilla war against the Empire on his home planet of Onderon for years. It looks like Felicity Jones’s heroine, Jyn Erso, will need to summon up all her powers of persuasion to convince him that the forces of evil can still be defeated on Jedha. In fact, Jones seems to be doing an awful lot of general pep-talking in this movie, not something that was ever required in the original trilogy, where a willingness to sacrifice one’s life for the cause seemed to be part of every Rebel’s DNA. Is this a sign of Edwards injecting some realism into the Star Wars universe?
Do Star Destroyers have Star Trek-style cloaking devices?
It’s either a trick of the light (and there’s not much light in space), the result of each part of a large ship coming out of hyperspace separately, or the Empire has developed some kind of cloaking device for its major ships. Similar technology was briefly mentioned in 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back, but unless I’m mistaken I don’t believe we’ve yet seen it in canonical Star Wars movies. Cloaking devices are, of course, mentioned frequently in the “expanded universe” novels, and rival space saga Star Trek has been using such gizmos ever since 1984’s The Search for Spock.
Droids are still irritating stattos
Alan Tudyk’s K-2SO replaces Kurosawan comedy sidekicks R2-D2 and C-3PO as the new movie’s robot comic relief. A reprogrammed Imperial droid, he’s blunt and detached, with little time for human niceties. Only time, and some additional context, will tell whether the grumpy robot’s determination to quote statistical probabilities of imminent death is a neat nod to his predecessors’ incessant stattoing in Empire, or just a lazy grab for a crowdpleasing Star Wars trope.
It’s not much of a reveal, is it? And yet the evil Sith Lord’s scary breathing and shiny beetle-like carapace still send shivers down the spine. Evidence suggests this may be little more than a fanboy-friendly appearance, similar to Batman turning up briefly in Suicide Squad. But who in their right minds would deny James Earl Jones one last chance to deliver that deep and terrifying baritone?