Okay. So, I love Star Wars. This is no secret. If you read my review of The Force Awakens, I make it pretty evident. But, I want to talk about an unfortunate fact of the Star Wars film franchise that no one really ever talks about: the fact that the plots are primarily focused on force users. Don’t get me wrong! I love Jedi. I think the force is awesome. Lightsabers are awesome, and I will watch as many lightsaber battles as they want to put on screen. Seriously. But, one of the wonderful things about the Star Wars universe is how deep and complex and interesting it is. There’s a history there, and some of the most interesting characters we have run into are not Jedi. The problem is, that Star Wars, at least the main film series, is, in essence, a superhero story, as I point out here. And when you are writing a superhero story, it’s hard for your plot not to focus on the superheroes and supervillains. What people forget, I think, is that there was a 19 year gap between the birth of the Galactic Empire and the start of A New Hope where the only people openly using the force were Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine. During this period, our stories necessarily have to be about our non-superpowered heroes, which is why when Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was announced I got REALLY excited.
This is a movie about all of the cool stuff in the Star Wars universe that isn’t magic. Sure. There will be some force stuff in there. They are stealing Death Star plans, it would be weird if we didn’t get an image of Vader, and, in fact, we seem to in the trailer (maybe?), but, nevertheless, what we are going to be seeing here is the first film not focused around a Jedi’s journey, but, instead, on a group of extraordinary badass rebels with no superpowers backing them up. That’s cool! And it gives the film makers the opportunity to dive into aspects of the Star Wars universe that often go unexplored. So let’s talk about what we can gather from the trailer.
At just under two minutes, the trailer isn’t very long, but it’s phenomenal! The amount that they are able to pack into this trailer is truly impressive, and I don’t mean content-wise, though we get some great content. But this is a trailer that understands how to get you excited. We see some great shots. That shot with the rebels rushing in against the AT-ATs is so stunning. And the trailer does an excellent job of showing us a blend of the Episode IV-VI aesthetic with the old rebel helmets and the Imperial star destroyers, and the new look and feel of Episode VII, with its beautiful blend of practical and CG-rendered effects that take advantage of modern technology, but still feel like Star Wars. What we do get a lot of in this trailer is a look at Felicity Jones’ Jyn Erso. We get to see her in combat with some storm troopers, both in melee and with a blaster, we see her being a spy in her tie-fighter pilot disguise, and, most importantly, we get to know more about her personality in her interview with Mon Mothma: “This is a rebellion isn’t it? I rebel.” Also, we see a shot of the Death Star being assembled, which made the 10 year old me so giddy with excitement that I almost couldn’t contain him. And to top it off, we get our first chance to listen to Alexandre Desplat’s score, which sounds AMAZING. I was a little concerned at there being a Star Wars movie without John Williams, but Desplat kills it. The trailer ends with what sounds like a blend of the Imperial March and The Force Theme (except slowed down), and it sounds haunting and mysterious and just gives me chills. I am very excited for this film. December is much too far away.