The latest trailer, as well as the one-sheet theatrical poster, for the Star Wars stand-alone “experiment” film, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, have just been released, and while The Force Awakens last year gave us lightsaber battles and reunited us with Star Wars staples Han Solo, Chewbacca, and the Millennium Falcon, the new film looks delve a bit further beneath the surface. The film’s visuals bring that galaxy to life as we’d always imagined but hadn’t seen for nearly thirty years, that galaxy in which the Empire rules with an iron fist and it is through the determination of a few individuals that there is any sense of hope. Beginning with a flashback (something altogether new for Star Wars cinematic story-telling, and more welcome than it would be for an “episode” film, as the episodes have relatively strict story-telling structures) the film offers us a gritty setting that is something to behold. We see these worlds ruled by the Empire, yet even the simple images, such as the rain on Director Krennick’s face as he is (perhaps) about to arrest Galen Erso (Jyn’s father) is just s\as striking. Star Wars, at it’s best, captures both an epic scope of on a galactic scale balanced with the character moments that we remember, and it seems that director Gareth Edwards has achieved that with this film.
There’s lots of story details that are revealed in this trailer, images that are striking new, and, quite frankly, incredible, and they all feel perfectly in line with the fact that this film takes place just prior to A New Hope, the original 1977 film.
Perhaps most admirable is the fact that the the marketing department was able to show Vader here without him overshadowing the new characters or this story. Showing any of his fight scenes or hearing any of his dialogue would have guaranteed that the even casual movie-goers would say “shut up and take my money” but the powers that be have made a statement here that says Vader’s presence is more important than his screen-time. Even the poster, which shows his visage in the shadow, so his presence is felt, doesn’t want to rely on him to sell the film.
Also, look at how closely the AT-ST’s movements perfectly harken back to the battle of Endor in Return of the Jedi.