Teaser Breakdown: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

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The teaser for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has dropped, so we thought we’d do a trailer breakdown for you because, hey, there aren’t enough of those things on the internet, right?

Directed by Gareth Edwards, hot off the giant heels of Godzilla and his low budget, big ambitioned debut Monster, the film sees a sort of dirty dozen, led by Felicity Jones, work for the fledgling Rebellion to steal the top secret plans to the Death Star, so the good guys can blow it to smithereens in George Lucas’ seminal ’77 space opera (Psst – just don’t call it a prequel, OK?).

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Here’s Jones’ “Rogue”, Jyn Erso, under arrest by the rebels in what looks like the Yavin base, which incidentally, looks fantastic. We hear a list of charges against her in voice-over as she’s led past X-Wings, a Gonk droid, and many bustling personnel – “Forgery of Imperial documents, possession of stolen property, aggravated assault, resisting arrest.” Great to see Blockade Runner uniforms about the place – the whole film has a real love for the feel of the original, including John Mollo’s costume design, with an additional grim, war movie aesthetic, lensed by Greg Frasier. Edwards wanted a Black Hawk Down, Zero Dark Thirty ground level vibe, and based on this and upcoming combat shots, he’s certainly achieved that.

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That’s Mon Mothma Jyn is hauled before, ex-senator and one of the Alliance leaders, last seen in Return Of The Jedi holding an onion under her eyes as she choked up about some many Bothans dying to bring her information. She’s played here by Genevieve O’Reilly, who also played the role in a scene cut from Revenge Of The Sith. Interesting that the time lapse has made the actress settle into an ever better resemblance of the originally cast Caroline Blakiston.

“On your own from the age of 15,” states Mon Mothma. “Reckless, aggressive, and undisciplined.” “This is a rebellion, isn’t it? I rebel,” Jyn shoots back, and Mothma is drawn to her flame. Just the sort of cocky sod we need, she thinks to herself.

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A scruffy, moustachioed unnamed rebel, played by Diego Luna, grins at the exchange. I’m going to call him Inigo Montoya from now on. Cut to Jyn taking out a bunch of stormtroopers in some deserty backstreet with aplomb.

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Nu-Star Wars loves to spin those bad guys in a firefight, don’t it?

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This is a lovely, cheeky nod to the classic screen wipes of the original film – only it’s not, it’s the shadow of the giant Sky dish being installed on the Death Star. I never thought I’d see Star Wars endorse product placement…

Mon Mothma wants Jyn to infiltrate the new weapon undergoing trials. “Is that clear?” Alistair Petrie (The Night Manager) snaps at her. What have they got on her to make her throw her lot in with them?

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Cut to Jyn and Ingo Montoya racing off with a bunch of rebel pilots, as a deafening siren blares over the soundtrack. This thing is great on atmosphere. Incidentally, the score isn’t by John Williams, who’ll be busy on the main event trilogy, but by Alexandre Desplat. He’s one of the greatest film composers around, so we’re in safe hands. His work on Godzilla was amazing. Love the Star Wars music played eerily and sparingly on piano throughout.

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Oh, this is nice. Ben Mendelsohn as a white uniformed, be-caped senior Imperial officer standing in front of the giant Death Star viewscreen, looking like a BOSS. The same one Tarkin and Vader made Leia watch her home planet Alderaan go ka-blooey on. I’d love Vader to interrupt him mid-flow and lay the back of his hand on his shoulder, Bane- style and wheeze “Do you feel in charge?

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Stormtroopers on motorised patrol, in what looks like downtown Baghdad. Great to see this classic look back on screen – some even carry the big lewis gun made to stand in for a futuristic sidearm. Great attention to detail, guys.

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Here’s Forest Whitaker, limping up on a walking stick – Ghost Dog, The Way Of The Jedi? He’ll throw out some motivational shit to our young heroine later – “What will you do when they catch you? What will you do if they break you? If you continue to fight, what will you become?” “It’s too bad she won’t live, but then again, who does?” (Wrong film – Ed). Are these trick questions?

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Things haven’t gone so well here for the heroes – a bunch of rebel pilots led away. Maybe this guy will rescue them?

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Donnie Yen kicks ass with his staff of wrath. Is he blind? Force sensitive? We also get a glimpse of black armoured  “Death Troopers” – maybe a black ops squad sent after the rebels?

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This looks like our heroes have been rumbled aboard the Death Star Canary Wharf level. The droid running behind them is apparently an Imperial model that’s been reprogrammed to work for them. It could be motion-captured by Alan Tudyk. Incidentally – desert camouflage speeder bike troops?!

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An imperial ship that resembles Kylo Ren’s ride in The Force Awakens gets taken out on the ground. Note the palm trees. Now imagine Robert Duvall’s Colonel Kurtz, flying above, observing – “Fucking animals.” Getting that war movie vibe?

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What is this the black robed villain is approaching, guarded by Imperial Red sentinels? Looks like a Bacta tank. If so, who’s in it?

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Ben Mendelsohn’s cloak sweeps across shallow water as he surveys the aftermath of a deadly skirmish, the camera gliding low behind. Love the composition in some of these scenes. The rumour mill is on overload that he could be a certain younger Supreme Leader *Deep Purple guitar lick* – “Snoooke on the water” (don’t be daft – Ed).

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Now THIS is Star Wars-ing! Jyn and co. charging headlong into AT-AT Walker fire. Jyn, we are LEAVING!”

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Wow, what a moody close-up, Jyn in Imperial disguise. And a nice call back to this image from The Empire Strikes Back.


December can’t come soon enough.

As a bonus, here also is Nick Skywalker’s mash-up tribute of the trailer with footage from A New Hope. I particularly like it when Forest Whitaker’s lines (“If you continue to fight, what will you become?”) are made to apply also to the plucky, steely Princess Leia. The Force is strong in these women. Leia, Rey – now it’s “JYN TIME for Vader, and tyranny” (to the tune of “Springtime For Hitler”).

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