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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Force in Focus: Rogue One Trailer

We've learned a little bit more about Rogue One since the first teaser trailer was released back in April, notably that both Jimmy Smits as Bail Organa and Darth Vader will be making appearances in the film, and that Forest Whitaker is playing Saw Guerra, a character first introduced in one of the better Clone Wars arcs (there's also been some info released about some of the planets seen in the film and a few snippets about some of the other characters). This week, Disney unveiled a new trailer during Olympic coverage on NBC, which shortly thereafter hit the internet. Here's five standout things from the latest look at the new movie.

Atmospheric Star Destroyer 

Old Star Wars canon suggested that Imperial Star Destroyers (as opposed to the ones used by the Republic during the Clone Wars) weren't atmospheric, but here we've got a pretty amazing shot of one hovering over some kind of mesa on a planet, so that's apparently changed. Which is fine, because that's a pretty awesome shot.


One of the big disappointments in The Force Awakens was a relative lack of new ships. Rogue One, despite taking place in the past, appears poised to rectify that, with a new Rebel craft, the U-Wing, which is apparently more of a troop transport ship than a traditional fighter (making for a nifty in-universe explanation for its absence from, say, the Battle of Endor). This trailer gives us a pretty good profile shot of one.

Upside Down Death Star

Of course, in space, all direction is relative, so the Death Star isn't anymore upside down in this shot than it is right-side up when it's flipped the other way, but it's cool to see a more nimble Death Star in this film, shot in some fun, clever and different ways (see also: the shot in this trailer of the Death Star apparently causing a solar eclipse) than the understandably-limited "orb hanging in space" of New Hope.

Darth Vader 

The second Force Awakens trailer ended with the instant-classic line of "Chewie, we're home" as Han and Chewbacca burst onto the Millennium Falcon. The quick shot of Darth Vader at the end of this trailer isn't nearly as fist-pumping, but it's still electrifying to see that gleaming helmet and catch a brief snippet of the iconic breathing for a moment.

The Music 

As with The Force Awakens trailer, this one re-purposes some classic Star Wars themes to great use, both the quiet, twinkly rendition of the Imperial March and later, the slow build to a more dirge-like iteration of the Force/Luke theme. Hopefully some of that (or something like it) will make it into the final film (which is being scored by Alexandre Desplat, not John Williams).


  1. I was always under the impression that we never saw Star Destroyers in the atmosphere or on the ground because of technological limitations. With CGI it's much easier to put something floating above the ground and staying there along shots with moving cameras, etc. The only "craft" in atmosphere I can think of is the Death Star on Endor, but it was always shown in static shots, thereby making it technically easier to put in.

    Side note, the Star Destroyers in-atmosphere was one of my favorite parts of Attack of the Clones. You got a sense that big shit was going down because these big ships were visible and present in the entire Battle of Geonosis.

    1. Well, I think the real world explanation for the lack of atmospheric Star Destroyers is definitely that film technology at the time couldn't really do it. I think the early EU writers then wrote that limitation into the in-universe story by establishing that they weren't designed for traveling in atmospheres.

  2. Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but there was only one Star Destroyer shown in A New Hope, right? Was it ever implied that there was a whole fleet of them, or was it supposed to be one of a kind acting as Vader's flagship?

    1. I'm pretty sure there's multiple Star Destroyers in orbit around Tatooine when Han, Luke, Obi-Wan, etc. leave the planet en route to Alderaan. Or at least dialogue references there being multiple ships (though Star Destroyers weren't referred to as such in dialogue until EMPIRE).

    2. That's right, there are 2 seen when they escape Tattooine:

      It's a very brief shot and I completely forgot about it.

  3. Huh, I had heard about all the new developments you mentioned except the appearance by Smits as Bail Organa. I'm always happy when the Disney regime acknowledges the prequel era in any way, so this is great news.

    The music... eh. It doesn't sound STAR WARS-y enough for me. With few exceptions, nearly every videogame, TV show, etc., has gone for the Williams sound. CLONE WARS was a major exception and as a result it never sounded quite right to me, much as I loved the series (I like the music in REBELS a lot more for all the callbacks to the movies' themes). I hope Desplat goes full "traditional Williams orchestra" for this thing, and I hope LucasFilm keeps all their composers in that mold going forward. STAR WARS music just doesn't sound right any other way.

  4. Smits was pretty clear that his appearance is relatively small - if I had to guess, he'll probably be in the war room/briefing scene that's been in the trailers, along w/Mon Mothma - but I agree, anything that acknowledges the existence of the Prequels is aces in my book.

    As for the music, I don't mind the less-orchestral music for a movie like this, something which sort of fits in and around an existing movie. Luke is the capital H hero, and deserves a classic, bombastic musical cue. This group seems to be more nitty-gritty, the behind-the-scenes heroes who operate in the shadows and don't get credit, so more subtle and haunting music seems appropriate.

    I'd hate to hear something like that in one of the main "Episode" films, which deserve big classic Wagnerian music (and will hopefully continue even after Williams moves on), but for something like this, with a tone that's a little bit different than the "main" movies, I don't mind something a little different musically as well.


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