The long awaited Star Wars Rogue One trailer has landed this week attracting nearly as many YouTube views as The Force Awakens. An impressive feat considering the elephant in the room, this is a Star Wars prequel… so what is it that is giving fans hope that this will be different?
In the trailer we are introduced to Jyn Erso, played by Academy Award nominee Felicity Jones, a Han Solo-esque rebel whose ‘talents’ have not gone unnoticed by the Rebel Alliance who are out to discover what unimaginable weapon the Empire is constructing. Jyn is seen in the Yavin IV control room, the Rebel base featured in the climactic finale of A New Hope, being briefed by Mon Mothma, a character originally seen in Return of the Jedi and the deleted scenes from Revenge of the Sith.
It looks and sounds like Star Wars yet it is forging its own story outside of the films and previous lore…
This small appearance in the trailer is a reminder of the difficult task this film has taken on -forging a link between the originals and prequels- tricky given their distinct stylistic differences and the 20 year gap in the Star Wars universe timeline between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope.
A fear held by some fans is that to make production easier the design team may not try to take influence from either set of films and go ‘rogue’. However, the trailer certainly puts this fear to bed with the distinct 70s sci-fi look of certain characters, such as the Rebel Alliance trooper and his chamber pot helmet, and sets too, for example the not very tasteful panel lit corridors being retained from the original films. Combine this with the more Clone Wars (or even Star Wars Battlefront 2,) look of the dark Stormtroopers and this film looks perfectly placed between the two trilogies.
Here is a villain worthy of a film that looks to explore the darker side of Imperial occupation.
But it is not just the reappearance of classic Star Wars iconography in the shape of AT-AT’s and the Death Star which made this trailer so interesting. Whilst having to be respectful to the universe already created this film is looking to be ‘selfish’ in part, telling its own intriguing story about Jyn Erso and the galaxy under occupation. Director Gareth Edwards said in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, “It’s the reality of war. Good guys are bad. Bad guys are good. It’s complicated, layered”. This demonstrates that this film will not be a usual Star Wars romp but perhaps more of a ‘horrors-of-war-centric’ film. Think Saving Private Ryan or Full Metal Jacket, and the way that their stories presented an exploration of how fighting for what you believe is right is not always ‘good’.
We must not forget after all that The Phantom Menace looked incredible in the trailer…
Ben Mendelsohn, playing an unnamed Imperial Admiral featured in the trailer, looks cold and truly evil under the sterile white light and in his pristine, clinical white uniform. Not the usual Imperial Officer who was cannon fodder for Darth Vader and had the occasional good line, here is a villain worthy of a film that looks to explore the darker side of Imperial occupation… perhaps giving scope for reappearance of Vader in his truly malevolent form or the Emperor (this seems highly likely with the brief sight of the Emperor’s Guard in the trailer).
So fans surely have nothing to worry about when watching this trailer, it looks and sounds like Star Wars yet it is forging its own story outside of the films and previous lore. This is seemingly an exciting prospect then but with it trying to portray itself as something new and it being theoretically a prequel there is scope for this project to go awry, we must not forget after all that The Phantom Menace looked incredible in the trailer but was not the film fans hoped for in the end. The Phantom of previous failure stills hangs heavy in the air, but will Rogue One truly vanquish it and emulate The Force Awakens?
By Arran Byers
For more Maverick Film, Like us on Facebook