Rogue One final trailer breakdown: Here's what we saw

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Dec 18, 2018, 10:00 PM EST (Updated)

The final trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story released today, giving fans their final shots at wild theories and glimpses of small details about what happens in the film. Characters who were introduced months ago are brought to center stage with lines from a richly diverse cast and words that resonate with what the Rebel Alliance was built on: hope. With no Jedi around to help them, the everyday citizens of the Rebel Alliance are tasked with retrieving vital information on the Empire's new weapon, and orphaned scoundrel Jyn Erso is one of the only people who can complete the mission. 

Amid the excitement, new character introductions and hints at how impactful the film will be on the rest of the saga might be easy to miss. So, we've compiled the most important shots and the stories behind them. Spoilers ahead! 


In a galaxy far, far away... this opening shot of what looks like Director Orson Krennic's (Ben Mendelsohn) Lambda-class shuttle, however gorgeous it might be, shows just how the Empire corrupts natural beauty. It also does an incredible job setting up the film's cinematography, framing flashbacks as dark memories with whirling colors of gloom. 


Dear Jyn Skywalker Truthers: Don't freak out. This shot, while it very eerily echoes two particular shots of Skywalkers looking at a skyline toward the future, seems to intentionally flip that feeling on it's head. There is no hope in this situation, as Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen) approaches Krennic's shuttle. It's interesting that the Erso homestead seems to rest in the middle of a vast, humid landscape, lending a little bit to the story of how Jyn lived before her life changed. 


Not a moment later, Director Krennic approaches the Erso patriarch with security at it's highest level: the Death Troopers. Serving under Krennic, this top-level murder squad has yet to reveal more than its intimidating armor (complete with McQuarrie-esque long angles and demonic "eyes"), but they're probably not the type of guys you'd want approaching your house regardless. 


As Krennic approaches, we cut to a moment from Jyn Erso's childhood, as Galen promises her that everything he does is for her. Ringing true for any parent, the pain in Mikkelsen's voice tells the story of a man with no other options when it comes to protecting his family. 


When Krennic and his forces stop before Galen, we cut immediately to an older Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), locked in a cell with another unfortunate prisoner, watching as a Stormtrooper walks by. Jyn doesn't seem to be in any ordinary jail cell: one look through the cold bars shows what appears to be several other cells on the other side. Jyn is inside of an Imperial Prison Compound, and the only people who can help her out are a rag-tag group of Rebel soldiers. 


Cue Captain Cassian Andor (Diego Luna). The Rebels break into the compound with an explosive entrance, and Andor spirits Jyn away to a secret Rebel base. 


But not before this especially ominous shot of what looks like a massive Jedi statue half-buried into the ground with its lightsaber still "activated". Look at the size of that thing! For perspective, the U-Wing flying just near it -- barely a white speck in the images -- carries Rebel troops into battle. 


Genevieve O'Reilly was seen briefly and had a few great lines in the last trailer, but throughout this one, she simply shines. That's particularly good for O'Reilly, who played Mon Mothma in the prequels and had her already brief speaking lines cut from Revenge of the Sith. O'Reilly carries the character into a new era, where Mothma is one of the few figureheads from Padme Amidala's small "cell" to have survived the Emperor's overthrow of the Republic. 

It's up to Cassian Andor and Mon Mothma to convince Jyn. Lucky for them, her father's involvement in the Death Star's creation probably means that joining the Rebellion to find him is more than enough reason. 


We see Galen Erso once again, drenched and sporting new (if wet) Imperial duds. It turns out that Jyn's father is the mind behind the Death Star's blueprints, and what's more, the tense shots of him and Krennic are more than just a captor and his victim The two of them go quite a ways back, and the details of their history -- along with why Erso so willingly helps Krennic create a planet-destroying superweapon -- are set to be revealed in James Luceno's upcoming novel, Rogue One: Catalyst, out this November. 


With all of that information in mind, let's hit the breaks on dramatic backstories and take a second to admire this Imperial work of art: Krennic's Rain Coat Uniform. What makes it particularly exciting to look at is the fact that it simply looks like a more water-resistant version of his normal outfit. Director is a title that comes with benefits in the Empire, apparently. 


As the Death Star rises ominously above a mysterious skyline, we move from the darkness of its shadow to the promise of hope: our introduction to Jyn's new allies.


We meet Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed), Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen), Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen) and get our latest quick glimpse at K-2S0, the plucky and sarcastic droid that accompanies the crew (rounded out by aliens Pao and Biston). 


As the Rebels construct a strategy to retrieve the Death Star plans, desperation looms over the scene like a fog. One woman -- dressed in gold -- makes sure to remind her fellow Rebels of the severity in this mission, and what will happen if it fails. But who is she, and will she have more of a role as the movie progresses? 


Next, we're given a more detailed look at Saw Gererra, former guerilla soldier from Onderon who worked with Anakin Skywalker during The Clone Wars to save his planet from Seperatist oppression. Unfortunately, Saw's sister -- a courageous girl named Steela -- didn't make it through that battle. Saw, hardened already by years of war and hunger, has obviously not fared much better since. Missing what looks like at least both of his feet (and likely much of his body, given his massive armored suit), Saw is a grizzled hero who dares to see a better future, even when his own battle-worn pessismism tells him not to. It's interesting that Saw, who fought alongside the man who would become Darth Vader, fared almost as badly, physically, as Vader did. 


After an inspiring speech from Jyn Erso herself, we're zipped over to the planet Scarif, where a primary part of the Death Star's construction is being staged. The station rose over Scarif earlier, and the planet is so vital to the Empire that it has its own specific Stormtrooper squad, with armor tempered for the mucky heat of the world. 


Aren't you a little short for a TIE Pilot? In a classic Rebel move, Jyn and Cassian don Imperial duds and bring along Cassian's conveniently former-Imperial droid as they infiltrate the enemy base. Not very long after this mission, Han Solo and Luke Skywalker will use the same method -- and before this, in Star Wars Rebels, the members of the Ghost crew have dressed as Imperials so many times that Ezra Bridger has a small collection of various trooper helmets. Maybe the masks aren't such a good idea, Palpatine... 


This trailer gave us a full shot of Tognath mercenary Edrio Two-Tubes, a character that was first debuted this past summer at San Diego Comic-Con. Two-Tubes is described as "a mercenary pilot who flies alongside his eggmate, Benthic," who might very well be the similar-looking alien in the back. Why would Edrio help the rebels? Well, his home world Yar Togna was "conquered and occupied" by the Empire, which caused he and his eggmate to flee and become refugees. Edrio is described as an ally of Saw Gererra's, and looks like he can take down quite a few Imperials all by himself. 



As the action heats up, this perfect shot of Chirrut sending off an equally "perfect shot" from what looks like a state-of-the-art crossbow blaster is enough to make Han Solo want to nab it from him. 


Another shift worth noting: what looks like the destruction of the Jedi Temple where we saw the massive statue before. A blurred figure watches as the Temple falls to ruin, making this an interesting story from an outsider's perspective. As religious as Chirrut may be when it comes to the Force, there are no Jedi in Rogue One. The Rebels are on their own for now, and this shot drives that point home firmly. 


As Saw Gererra's message of hope rings throughout the trailer's audio, an image of sheer destruction appears: Darth Vader is officially returning to the big screen as more than just a crispy, melted helmet. The Dark Lord of the Sith sports armor close in detail to his suit in A New Hope, though alterations to the suit are expected by hardcore fans, since tiny details on Vader's suit changed from film to film in the original trilogy. 


The trailer closes out with an incredible shot just above the battle on Scarif, as a U-Wing dives down among AT-ACTs and fiery explosions. It looks like something straight out of a concept painting, and shows off just how fun the terrain will be when the Rebels and the Empire go toe-to-toe for data tapes that will change the history of the galaxy as they know it. 


Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theaters everywhere on December 16th.

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