You’re going down, Death Star.
The debut teaser trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has hit, revealing the first details of the Rebel team tasked with stealing plans for the Empire’s planet-killing battlestation.
Directed by Gareth Edwards, Rogue One is the first spin-off in the Star Wars storyline, leaping back in the chronology nearly 40 years to explore a Rebel operation only hinted at in the 1977 original film. (To be clear for the casual fans: Rogue One comes out this Dec. 16, while the still untitled Episode VIII, which picks up the story of Rey, Finn, and Poe Dameron after The Force Awakens, will come out in December 2017.)
Felicity Jones, an Oscar nominee for The Theory of Everything, plays the lead in the movie — a new character named Jyn Erso. (Although we only hear it pronounced in the trailer, that spelling is confirmed via a Lucasfilm source.)
We get our first taste of her character and motivation in the approximately 90-second tease. She’s a loose cannon, a troublemaker. And, judging by the handcuffs, an outlaw. “This is a rebellion, isn’t it?” she says to the leader we know from Return of the Jedi as Mon Mothma. “I rebel.”
She’s apparently an orphan who has been taking care of herself since her mid-teens, and we see a shot of her single-handedly taking down about half a dozen old-school stormtroopers.
The teaser also sheds some light on the rest of the film’s ensemble, including Milk star Diego Luna (who appears to be the Rebellion’s way of partnering her with someone they trust) and Firefly actor Alan Tudyk (who plays a performance capture character — and is very likely that skeletal droid who is seen running alongside them at one point).
Ben Mendelsohn (Bloodline) appears to be an Imperial admiral in an ominous, intimidating costume; Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland) looks like a scoundrel who has developed some good survivor skills after many fights; and Hong Kong action star and martial artist Donnie Yen takes down seemingly a whole garrison of stormtroopers with a single staff. Meanwhile, Jiang Wen (Let the Bullets Fly) runs no-guts-no-glory-style into a beach battle looking like a human tank. They’re going to need such bravado to take down those Imperial walkers.
That leaves Riz Ahmed (Four Lions, Nightcrawler) and Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale) still in the shadows, unless I missed them. Time for a second viewing, then third, fourth ….
The Rogue One trailer ends on an enigmatic note: Jones’ character dressed in an Imperial uniform, while Whitaker’s voice asks: “If you continue to fight, what will you become?”
Okay, time to study it a little closer. Check back to EW shortly for a deeper dive into the Rogue One revelations.
For more Star Wars news, follow @Breznican.