Get ready to go back to the original “Star Wars” universe. On April 7, Disney unveiled the first trailer for “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and it 100 percent delivers, just when you were getting over your “The Force Awakens” high.
Set to hit theaters this December, “Rogue One” is the first “anthology” movie in the “Star Wars” franchise. These anthologies are stand-alone films set in the “Star Wars” universe that have some connection to the main episodes of the franchise. “Rogue One” will be the first “Star Wars” film not to feature the Jedi in a leading role.
The movie has the enormous task of carrying the momentum of “The Force Awakens” and satisfying audiences with a newer, more subversive look at the “Star Wars” universe. Based on the trailer, it looks like it’s going to pull it off with flying colors.
“Rogue One” centers on a group of rebel spies that steals the plans for the iconic Death Star, the planet-destroying battle station blown up by Luke Skywalker in “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope,” aka the movie that birthed the entire franchise. Felicity Jones stars as Jyn Erso, who leads the bandit of spies in their daring plan.
Since “Rogue One” is set in the same time period as the original (and best) trilogy, we see the return of many of the same iconic characters, planets and settings. It already looks beautifully faithful to the originals in aesthetic, design and tone.
Almost immediately we get ushered back to Yavin 4, the rebel base where Luke and his friends took off on their ships a few years later to blow up the Death Star. The 1970s’ griminess of the set design and clunky futuristic technology of the original Yavin 4 is palpable in the “Rogue One” trailer.
Rebel leader Mon Mothma, one of the few speaking women in the original trilogy, also makes a return in the trailer. The new actress who plays her is a dead-ringer for the actress in “Return of the Jedi.” The resemblance is uncanny. We also learn that Mon Mothma only has one outfit, as she wears the exact same ensemble from “Return of the Jedi.”
We get a look at the Star Destroyers, which captivated audiences in 1977 with their size and intimidating nature. And we already get to see the construction of the Death Star. As Star Destroyers hover around, the laser is installed onto the iconic space station. If you aren’t excited at this point, you have no soul.
The last welcome surprise from the original trilogy in the trailer is the return of the clumsy All Terrain Armored Transport Walkers from “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi.” Based on what we already know, the rebels should have no trouble dealing with the AT-ATs.
The trailer also raises a lot of great questions in anticipation of the film. Who exactly is this Han Solo-ish Jyn Erso? Who does Ben Mendelsohn play? He wears a fabulous long grey cape and has the aura of an Imperial Army general. Some theorize he could be Tarkin, the general of the Death Star in “A New Hope,” but Mendelsohn’s character looks intimidating in a new sort of way. Then, we see the return of the Imperial guards. Does Emperor Palpatine himself make an appearance in the film?
The trailer is nothing short of great. We already know the conclusion of “Rogue One,” as the Death Star plans are given to Princess Leia, but the movie still looks captivating. The lack of Jedi, lightsabers and Skywalkers give a fresh look to the “Star Wars” universe.
It’s incredibly exciting to see the same universe that the entire world fell in love with in 1977. While the new direction “Rogue One” takes is a massive gamble for Disney, it already seems to be paying off. The first trailer for the movie snagged about 30 million views in 29 hours, pretty close to the numbers for the first “Force Awakens” trailer. And that movie now has box office totals nearing $2.1 billion.
Most importantly, we might see the return of Darth Vader himself in “Rogue One.” While nothing has been confirmed, people are on high alert for any news that the legendary Sith Lord might be returning to the big screen. The reappearance of Darth Vader, the very symbol of the entire “Star Wars” franchise, would send audiences into complete hysteria. I cannot wait for December to get here.