The Rogue One: A Star Wars Story teaser is here — and it is glorious. It's full of amazing throwbacks, exciting teases, and no shortage of intriguing new characters that will surely inspire legions of fans like so many Star Wars characters before them.
There are a lot of cool details in here, so strap in and let's take a look. But first, watch the trailer again because life is awesome:
Where to begin?
The Rebel base where Jyn Erso is apparently being held prisoner — at least, to begin with — is most definitely on Yavin IV, the same base we see in A New Hope. Since we know the Rebels move bases frequently to avoid the detection of the Empire, this helps us zero in on a time frame for Rogue One.
It's likely that this movie takes place mere months or even weeks prior to the events of A New Hope, which opens with Princess Leia sending R2-D2 off to Tatooine with the very plans that Jyn is assigned to steal.
Throughout the Rogue One teaser, we see the Rebel insurgence taking out Imperial troops, then captured. The streets of this unknown planet strongly resemble the landscape of Lothal, Ezra Bridger's home planet in Disney XD's Star Wars: Rebels and that crew's main base of operations in the first season of the show.
Lothal is based on Ralph McQuarrie's original concept art for Star Wars, so it's possible Gareth Edwards and the Lucasfilm Story Group could have been inspired to introduce Lothal to live action.
In Star Wars: Rebels, Lothal has been overtaken by the Imperials and is under the complete control of the Empire, despite Ezra and the gang being constant thorns in their side. Perhaps the Rebels in Rogue One are trying to pick up from where Ezra's crew left off.
One of the coolest surprises in the Rogue One trailer was the appearance of Mon Mothma, Senator of Chandrila and leader of the Rebel Alliance. Played by Genevieve O'Reilly, reprising her role from Revenge of the Sith (though her scenes were cut from the final film), Mon formed the Alliance alongside Leia's adopted father Bail Organa, when Palpatine declared himself Emperor.
In Rogue One, she's wearing the same clothing as she is when we see her in Return of the Jedi:
It's cool to see Mon Mothma directly involved in the recruitment of new allies and down in the trenches with her soldiers. Fans of the Star Wars novels will recall a scene in Star Wars: Lost Stars by Claudia Gray where Mon Mothma shares a scene with recent Imperial defector Thane Kyrell and more or less makes him feel like his decision to leave the Empire was the right one.
Hopefully, we get to see Mon play a similarly inspirational role in Rogue One.
Grand Admiral Thrawn is one of the most beloved characters from Legends, the de-canonized stories of Star Wars lore before Disney took over the property. The Force Awakens wasn't shy about borrowing from Legends — particularly with Kylo Ren being the son of Han Solo and Leia, and a fallen apprentice of Luke's — so it's not out of the realm of possibility that this new character clad in white could be inspired by Thrawn.
You'll notice that their ranks differ, and that this new character currently serves as fleet admiral. Of course, as it's a prequel, it stands to reason that he could be promoted to grand admiral by the time of Return of the Jedi — if he survives that long.
It's also cool to note that he's standing in the same Death Star control room that Grand Moff Tarkin would enjoy his last moments of life before he died from his own hubris (and a big honkin' explosion).
Royal Guards And A Mystery Figure
We know Darth Vader will be making an appearance in Rogue One, though we don't see or hear from him in the teaser beyond some echoes of his iconic theme. However, we do catch a glimpse of Palpatine's Royal Guards in red as a mysterious hooded figure kneels before a cylinder of white light.
We know Palpatine doesn't bow to anyone and this definitely isn't Darth Vader, so who could it be? One theory, yet another influenced by the Legends canon, is that Jyn Erso is an analogue for Mara Jade, a former Imperial spy that wound up joining the Rebels and ultimately marrying Luke Skywalker. While I don't think Jyn will wind up a romantic companion for Luke, Jyn could be operating as a double agent for a period of the movie.
But we do see Jyn in Imperial flight gear, like she just left the cockpit of a TIE fighter:
And she's kind of snarky toward her superior officers:
Another theory is that this could be one of the last Inquisitors, the Force-wielding badasses that the Star Wars: Rebels crew have been facing off with as of late. Most likely though, this is a new character.
The Death Star Completes Construction
We're certainly no stranger to seeing a Death Star under construction, considering it's the world-ending threat in Return of the Jedi and we even catch a glimpse of the original space station being built at the end of Revenge of the Sith.
But the Rogue One trailer puts the icing on the cake, showing us the installation of the super laser that would later destroy Alderaan. It looks sort of like getting your satellite dish installed:
This is also another clue to the Rogue One timeline, since we're told that the Death Star has just become fully operational in A New Hope. Presumably, this was the last piece of the puzzle.
Imperial-1 Class Star Destroyer
This is a small thing, but shows the awesome attention to detail in Rogue One's production design. The Star Destroyers we see during the Death Star reveal reflect that of the Devastator, the ship that captures Princess Leia's Tantive IV at the start of A New Hope:
After A New Hope, the Star Destroyers were tweaked slightly with a different architecture for the bridge, known in canon as the Imperial II-Class Star Destroyer.
The Rogue One crew has a droid companion we don't know much about, but we do actually see him in action twice during the teaser. Once during what is framed to be the capture of Jyn:
And then again when they're escaping from an Imperial ship:
New Trooper Armor
Rogue One also debuts a cool new stormtrooper armor that we've never seen before in canon. This is what we glimpsed in the teaser for the teaser, which appears to take its influence from shadow troopers and purge troopers in past Star Wars video games:
They appear again later on from a different angle:
It seems that these are a special unit of stormtroopers, probably more effectively trained for high-priority missions than the standard stormtrooper — who, let's admit, are somewhat incompetent under pressure.
This one is more hidden, but in the background of this shot, riding on the transport, is yet another example of alternate trooper armor:
It's more difficult to see, but it looks like a sleeker version of the traditional stormtrooper getup — almost like the flametroopers from The Force Awakens that destroy the village on Jakku — that features a visor that probably serves as a blast shield. In this quick glimpse, it could also seem to resemble the old clone trooper armor, but given that Star Wars: Rebels has established that all clones have been decommissioned in the years since the Empire was formed, this is unlikely.
And finally, there's the weapon that Donnie Yen's character is using when he absolutely destroys that stormtrooper:
It could simply be a staff or sword, but it could also be a vibroblade, a utility weapon in the Star Wars galaxy, but also the weapon of choice of the Emperor's Royal Guards. Given that we know the Royal Guards appear in the movie, Yen's style of dress and fighting style suggest that perhaps he's a defected Royal Guard that is able to provide information critical to the Rebellion?
Let us know if there's anything else you caught that we didn't mention!