After restoring almost everyone’s good faith in the Star Wars franchise last December with The Force Awakens, Disney’s back with to tease audiences with Rogue One, a standalone movie (creatively subtitled A Star Wars Story) that focuses on the Rebellion obtaining secret Death Star plans. The first trailer zeroes in on Felicity Jones’ scrappy, hardened loner, Jyn Eso, she’s introduced via her rap sheet, including such crimes as Imperial forgery, and resisting arrest. Way to ground the franchise in reality with that last one, there.
As she’s brought before Mon Mothma—because we can’t get an expanded cinematic universe without recasting existing characters—Eso gives her soon-to-be-a-meme tagline “This is a rebellion, isn’t it? I rebel.” Any other details about the story are cast aside in favor of Stormtrooper training sessions, spaceships, and capes. So many capes.
Director Gareth Edwards (who directed the remarkably forgettable Godzilla reboot in 2014) looks to really double-down on the grimy, slightly broken aesthetic that made the Classic Trilogy so enduring. Edwards cited Saving Private Ryan as an influence, though it ends up coming off closer to a Mad Max story set in outer space. Particularly by Forrest Whitaker, who shows up looking a bit like Uncle Entity.
None of this is assuming Rogue One might not be great. Focusing on the early days of the Rebellion as they mount their ‘David vs. Goliath’ offensive on the Empire, and doing it far, far away from the saga of the Skywalker family opens a lot of doors creatively. And a lot of new cosplay ideas based on the two or three Stormtrooper uniform variations that are scattered about. Nothing in the way of new aliens, though, which seems like a surprising omission, until you remember that Abrams’ first teaser for The Force Awakens was absent any shots in outer space. Outline marketing is weird.
The two biggest takeaways will likely be the Rebel troops running through a hoard of AT-ATs, which looked exhilarating, and an ominous last line teasing the question “The longer you fight, what will you become?” with a shot of her wearing a decidedly Imperial getup. Whether this is teasing some kind of betrayal, or just a good, ominous line to end the trailer is a question that’s eight months away from being answered.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens December 16, 2016.