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Star Wars Celebration: Rogue One panel reaction

The web rumours are (partially) true: Rogue One, the first Star Wars Anthology movie (the official name for the standalones) will centre on a bid to nab the Death Star plans.

On-stage at Star Wars: Celebration, Gareth Edwards unveiled a short but very sweet teaser for the December 2016 release.

Over a God's eye view of some intergalactic jungle, we hear some classic Episode IV exposition from Alec Guinness: “The Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic... before the dark times. Before the Empire.”

A TIE Fighter whips past and in the sky we see... That's no moon, that's...! Cut to a title card and some panicky, static-y voices; we're fairly certain we heard “I'm on fire!” and maybe “stay down!” Either way, situation: not good.

The official logline for Rogue One is: “A rogue band of resistance fighters unite for a daring mission to steal the Death Star plans.”

It's set between Episodes III and IV, but “closer to IV” said Edwards, who also revealed that Felicity Jones will play a Rebel soldier.

There were no new cast announcements, but several behind-the-camera talents were namechecked, including DoP Greig Fraser (Zero Dark Thirty), Star Wars design veteran Doug Chiang and John Knoll, the FX guru who came up with the original story pitch.

We saw some concept art depicting troops and X-Wing-ish craft in the midst of a rain-scape; the gritty vibe was underlined by Edwards, who says he's aiming for a very “natural and subjective” feel. “If [the original] Star Wars is very black and white, then our movie is the grey,” he added.

The panel – which also including Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, but not Josh Trank (who was unfortunately too poorly to attend) – acknowledged that Rogue One's timeframe overlaps with that of animated series Rebels.

Will we see characters from that show? How about Vader? The Emperor? Obi-Wan McGregor? Time will tell – production's due to start this summer, in the UK and places around the world in places Edwards wouldn't name “for fear of 3,000 people turning up”.

The director thoroughly endeared himself to the Celebration crowd with his sincere SW fandom – as evidenced by snaps of him sipping blue milk in Tunisia (ie Tatooine) on his 40th birthday.

His reason for signing on to Rogue One was simple: “I couldn't sit in the cinema and know that someone else had directed this movie.”

You've obviously seen the new teaser for The Force Awakens already, but don't forget to check out our in-depth trailer analysis, our report on the Star Wars Rebels panel and the trailer for the new Star Wars Battlefront game.