We now have a second Rogue One trailer (opens in new tab) giving us a little more info and backstory for the Star Wars spin off. As well as the predicted stormtroopers, blaster fire and - finally - an appearance from the wheezy one, what else does it tell us? Let's take a look,
The desert moon of Jedha is described as a ‘holy land for those who follow the Force’ which would explain why Jedi fanboy/blind warrior monk Chirrut Îmwe is there.
Historically, it’s a spiritual home for some of the earliest Force users but now under military control. It’s possible the large prominant building could be an ancient Jedi temple. It doesn’t match anything we’ve seen before (like the one on Coruscant in the prequels) but given the backstory for the place it seems likely. Remember as well that at this point in Star Wars lore the Jedi are all but myths.
Most importantly, where you get Force stuff you get Kyber crystals. These were originally used by Jedi and Sith to make lightsabers but also, more crucially, by the Empire to power the Death Star’s planet smashing laser.
Forest Whitaker’s character Saw (who debuted in The Clone Wars animation) says ‘the world is coming undone. Imperial flags reign across the galaxy’. It implies the Empire is just on the cusp of cementing its power, something the Death Star is the final step towards doing.
Whitaker’s also been talking about the character's parallels to Darth Vader recently - both apparently need a suit to stay alive, and both have gone to far on their respective paths to be able to do anything else.
"Let’s just get this over with shall we?"
We already knew about Jyn’s troublesome criminal past, however when she’s brought before Mon Mothma (in cuffs) and says the line ‘let’s get this over with’ it sounds like she’s expecting punishment, not a job. Her and rebel captain Cassian Andor’s reactions seem to suggest a top secret mission to save the galaxy is a bit of a surprise.
We’ve seen this Rebel base before in A New Hope, when The Alliance launch the final attack on the Death Star. It makes sense that this is the centre of operations in Rogue One as well. That’s also the new U-Wing troop transport and gunship (opens in new tab) you can see taking off.
A new world?
While we’ve seen Jedha and Yavin already, and the tropical Scarif has been revealed, this place looks new - stormy, dark and, most importantly, rainy. (So not likely to be the also mountainous desert planet of Jedha at night.) Baze Malbus is seen stating ‘they destroyed our home’ before opening fire on some Stormtroopers but it’s not clear if he means this planet. Later in the trailer we see X-Wings in the same place, also attacking what looks like an Imperial base, suggesting this is a crucial plot beat in the film.
Chirrut Îmwe taking out Stormtroopers with his stick has been a key moment in all the footage so far. However he seems to be doing it to rescue Jyn and Andor by the looks of it. Have they been captured? Or is this how they meet up? Later on we see an Empire tank apparently shooting at Stormtroopers as well, suggesting one of the Rebels hijacks it as this encounter escalates.
K-2SO is a bit… not right
We already know that K-2SO, a stolen and reprogrammed Imperial robot (opens in new tab), isn’t quite right in the head. His first meeting with Jyn underlines that with the line: ‘I’m told you are a friend. I will not kill you’. Later he announces ‘there is a 96.7% chances of failure’. He’s definitely not a people droid.
A new shuttle
As well as that new U-Wing, Rogue One also adds these four winged Imperial shuttles to the Star wars canon. This one (in the process of exploding) has a similar orange cargo pod to the freight carrying AT-ACT walkers, suggesting it’s more about transport than fighting.
Where does the Death Star fit in?
It’s been established that Rogue One finishes very close to the start of A New Hope, but how close exactly? This sequence shows the Death Star rolling across a planet and blocking out the sun while Ben Mendelsohn's villain, Director Orson Krennic, looks super serious. Along with the voice saying, ‘we’re running out of time’ it suggests people are at least thinking about firing it. There’s also another big clue we'll get to later…
We know this tropical planet is Scarif, the Empire’s weapons research facility. All the footage so far, including this trailer, points to it being the big climatic battle - the ground troops, X-Wings over head and a downed, burning U-Wing here make this definitely look like Rogue One’s Dunkirk.
Another thing suggesting the Death Star might actually get used is this shot. That tiny little dot in the middle is a U-Wing, and around it? Well, that looks like a lot of planet that isn’t where it’s meant to be. What else has the Empire got that could do this except for the Death Star? Maybe a test firing at less than full power?
And the money shot
Vader. Done. And he's standing in front of what looks like the Death Star targeting graphic from A New Hope. So they are absolutely, definitely thinking about firing the thing. Maybe.