Unpacking the Rogue One Teaser

The first trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story dropped today, and it’s chock full of new information about the Gareth Edwards-directed stand-alone film. It’s a trailer with no lightsabers, no Jedi, no Sith, and no major characters from any previous Star Wars films. But it’s a testament to the franchise that even without those major markers, this is still a thrilling teaser. Below are nine GIFs we plucked from the 90-second teaser to highlight the moments sure to fuel rampant speculation about the plot, the characters, and how Rogue One will connect to the larger Star Wars universe.

The first trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story dropped today, and it’s chock full of new information about the Gareth Edwards-directed stand-alone film. It’s a trailer with no lightsabers, no Jedi, no Sith, and no major characters from any previous Star Wars films. But it’s a testament to the franchise that even without those major markers, this is still a thrilling teaser. Below are nine GIFs we plucked from the 90-second teaser to highlight the moments sure to fuel rampant speculation about the plot, the characters, and how Rogue One will connect to the larger Star Wars universe.

Our Rogue Hero Begins Her Journey in Shackles

Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), “on [her] own from the age of 15,” starts the film in shackles as Rebellion leader Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) makes her an offer to (presumably) recruit and lead a ragtag group of spies. This film takes place about 35 years before The Force Awakens, so it has to predate A New Hope in its design, but this Rebel base is definitely on Yavin IV, where the climactic battle of the original Star Wars takes place.

Lucasfilm

Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), “on [her] own from the age of 15,” starts the film in shackles as Rebellion leader Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) makes her an offer to (presumably) recruit and lead a ragtag group of spies. This film takes place about 35 years before The Force Awakens, so it has to predate A New Hope in its design, but this Rebel base is definitely on Yavin IV, where the climactic battle of the original Star Wars takes place.

Under Construction: The Death Star

“A major weapons test is imminent, and we need to know what it is and how to destroy it.” That’s basically the whole mission of Rogue One in a nutshell, spoken by Mothma as the superlaser is lowered into place on the Death Star. Check out those puny Star Destroyers for scale.

Lucasfilm

“A major weapons test is imminent, and we need to know what it is and how to destroy it.” That’s basically the whole mission of Rogue One in a nutshell, spoken by Mothma as the superlaser is lowered into place on the Death Star. Check out those puny Star Destroyers for scale.

Our Hero’s No. 2 Gives Off Oscar Isaac Vibes

Erso’s chief partner in this group of rebels is Diego Luna. His character doesn’t have a name yet, but he’s got some smolder that reads a bit like Oscar Isaac in The Force Awakens, and they’re joined at the hip for most of the trailer, so we’re just going to go ahead and say something’s going on there.

Lucasfilm

Erso’s chief partner in this group of rebels is Diego Luna. His character doesn’t have a name yet, but he’s got some smolder that reads a bit like Oscar Isaac in The Force Awakens, and they’re joined at the hip for most of the trailer, so we’re just going to go ahead and say something’s going on there.

This Is an Imperial Security Bureau Officer, Right?

Ben Mendelsohn (Netflix’s Bloodline) plays the major villain, likely an Imperial Security Bureau officer, though the white uniform and tenuous canon status of uniform colors in the Expanded Universe means this remains a small mystery. He doesn’t get a menacing display, just one more shot of cooly walking into some post-battle wreckage, but that uniform is crisp.

Lucasfilm

Ben Mendelsohn (Netflix’s Bloodline) plays the major villain, likely an Imperial Security Bureau officer, though the white uniform and tenuous canon status of uniform colors in the Expanded Universe means this remains a small mystery. He doesn’t get a menacing display, just one more shot of cooly walking into some post-battle wreckage, but that uniform is crisp.

Here’s Forest Whitaker’s Bounty Hunter

What better way to serendipitously honor Jim Jarmusch’s 1999 masterpiece Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai than to cast Forest Whitaker as a wizened adviser? He’s rumored to be playing a bounty hunter here, and his voiceover warnings play over the rest of the trailer.

Lucasfilm

What better way to serendipitously honor Jim Jarmusch’s 1999 masterpiece Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai than to cast Forest Whitaker as a wizened adviser? He’s rumored to be playing a bounty hunter here, and his voiceover warnings play over the rest of the trailer.

There’s (Naturally) a Great Chase Scene

At some point, the mission doesn’t go totally according to plan, and there’s a chase. But more importantly, look at the droid lumbering along behind Jones and Luna. That’s allegedly Firefly’s Alan Tudyk in a motion-capture performance.

Lucasfilm

At some point, the mission doesn’t go totally according to plan, and there’s a chase. But more importantly, look at the droid lumbering along behind Jones and Luna. That’s allegedly Firefly’s Alan Tudyk in a motion-capture performance.

Your New Favorite Thing: This Stormtrooper-Fighting Samurai

Donnie Yen as a samurai in space who beats down some stormtroopers is basically taking Star Wars full circle back to Akira Kurosawa’s Hidden Fortress, which should make George Lucas smile. No lightsaber, no problem.

Lucasfilm

Donnie Yen as a samurai in space who beats down some stormtroopers is basically taking Star Wars full circle back to Akira Kurosawa’s Hidden Fortress, which should make George Lucas smile. No lightsaber, no problem.

Mads Mikkelsen, Is That You?

Bright red Imperial Guards typically signal only one thing: Emperor Palpatine. Perhaps he’s still somewhat recovering, which is why he’s stuck in that foggy cylinder. There are also rumors that Darth Vader makes an appearance. However, since he doesn’t really need a hooded cloak, we’re hoping the shrouded figure in this scene is Mads Mikkelsen’s character, since he doesn’t show up anywhere else in the trailer.

Lucasfilm

Bright red Imperial Guards typically signal only one thing: Emperor Palpatine. Perhaps he’s still somewhat recovering, which is why he’s stuck in that foggy cylinder. There are also rumors that Darth Vader makes an appearance. However, since he doesn’t really need a hooded cloak, we’re hoping the shrouded figure in this scene is Mads Mikkelsen’s character, since he doesn’t show up anywhere else in the trailer.

The Final, Perfect Hero Shot

A hero shot of Erso in what appears to be a TIE fighter pilot uniform ends the trailer. This looks like an action-packed science-fiction heist movie, which seems like a perfect bit of tangential genre fare to debut the Star Wars anthology films. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theaters Dec. 16.

Lucasfilm

A hero shot of Erso in what appears to be a TIE fighter pilot uniform ends the trailer. This looks like an action-packed science-fiction heist movie, which seems like a perfect bit of tangential genre fare to debut the Star Wars anthology films. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theaters Dec. 16.

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The New Star Wars Trailer: A Comprehensive GIF Analysis