Before Luke fired the blast that detonated the Death Star, before Leia launched R2-D2 to a remote desert world with secret plans for that battle station, someone had to locate and steal those schematics.
Turns out, it was a team effort.
In this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly, we bring you an inside look at Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which explores just how the Rebellion came to possess the information that revealed the fatal flaw in the Empire’s super weapon. It’s a battlefield heist that fans have been imagining for nearly 40 years, described in the opening crawl of 1977’s original Star Wars, with little details scattered throughout.
The new film from director Gareth Edwards (2014’s Godzilla) will finally fit those pieces together to form a full story – revealing never-before-seen characters while also reintroducing a few classic ones. We’re confirming a big one on our cover: the galactic man in black himself, Darth Vader.
Here’s what else to expect this week from EW’s own peek at Lucasfim’s secret plans:
- The background of our cover showcases new Imperial weaponry being used against the nascent Rebellion: taller, slimmer walkers known as AT-ACTs hauling cargo, and flatter, fang-like interceptors known as TIE Strikers.
- New information about Jyn Erso (The Theory of Everything‘s Felicity Jones), the outlaw who has clashed with both the Rebellion and the Empire, and now has a chance to clear her ledger of past wrongs by leading a mission for the good guys. It’s also personal – her father, played by Mads Mikkelsen, is a scientist whose knowledge is sought by both sides.
- Full details of the squad of characters uniting to take on the Empire, played by the most multicultural cast to appear in a Star Wars film yet: Diego Luna, Jiang Wen, Donnie Yen, Riz Ahmed, Forest Whitaker, and Alan Tudyk – as a performance-capture droid. (One of these has been seen before by Star Wars fans.)
- A look at the skullduggery inside the Imperial ranks, as seen through the eyes of a new villain: Ben Mendelsohn’s ambitious officer, who’s eager to earn the favor of the Emperor – and avoid the wrath of his black-masked enforcer.
- Candid revelations from the filmmakers about what the current reshoots are adding to the story as the film nears its December release.
- Finally, confirmation of what fans have hoped ever since the project was announced: Vader is back. We have a run-down of the Sith lord’s first day on set, and what his return means for the larger Star Wars storytelling universe.
RELATED: Rogue One exclusive details – EW Radio
For more on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands Friday. And don’t forget to subscribe for exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW. Along with the magazine feature, EW.com will host expanded coverage in the days ahead. Coming up this morning: a breakdown of all the new major characters…