We’re less than two months away from the premiere of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” and it’s building up to excitement levels we haven’t seen since, well, “The Force Awakens” last year.
The film underwent reshoots after Disney offered a first glimpse of the standalone film with a teaser trailer back in April. From the first official trailer that premiered in August and the final trailer that Disney released this month, we now have a pretty good idea of what’s in store for the film.
Taking place before the events of the 1977 original film, “Rogue One” follows Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and a group of Rebel fighters on a mission to steal plans for the Empire’s new weapon, the Death Star. The movie hits theatres December 16.
Here is everything we know about “Rogue One” so far (warning: mild spoilers):
The film is the first in the 'Star Wars Anthology,' a series of standalone films, which will include movies dedicated to Han Solo and bounty hunter Boba Fett.
The script was written by Chris Weitz ('About a Boy'), based on an idea from visual-effects supervisor John Knoll. Gary Whitta ('After Earth') was originally hired to write the screenplay, but he left the project after writing the first draft.
The film takes place before the events of 1977's original 'Star Wars' film, also known as 'A New Hope,' and focuses on a group of Rebel fighters who attempt to steal the plans for the Empire's newest weapon, the Death Star.
Knoll got the idea from a line in the opening crawl of 'A New Hope.' The line reads: 'During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire's ultimate weapon, the Death Star.' He always wanted the lead to be a woman.
Even though the crawl inspired 'Rogue One,' the standalone film might not have a crawl itself, so as to help separate it from the episodic films.
The film has undergone reshoots, but they are said to be 'little things within the preexisting footage.' The director still says it has a 'dark tone.'
This is the first 'Star Wars' film that won't feature a score from the legendary John Williams. Michael Giacchino, the composer behind the new 'Star Trek' films and a number of Pixar movies, replaced Alexander Desplat in the 'Rogue One' reshoots.
Tony Gilroy, who wrote the screenplays for the 'Bourne' trilogy, has contributed notes and wrote some more dialogue for the film.
Felicity Jones will be a Rebel soldier and was the first person cast in the film. The rest of the cast includes Riz Ahmed, Diego Luna, Jiang Wen, Ben Mendelsohn, Forest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen, Donnie Yen, and Alan Tudyk.
We learn in the final trailer that the film's title comes from the military call signal -- 'Rogue One' -- that the Rebels use to designate their mission.
In the trailers, Jones' character is introduced as Jyn Erso. Her introduction includes a list of crimes she has committed. After being detained by the Rebellion, she is recruited to fight against the Empire.
She's been on her own since she was 15. When described as 'reckless, aggressive, and undisciplined,' she responds, 'This is a rebellion, isn't it? I rebel.' Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy calls her a 'Joan of Arc.'
The first international trailer revealed that the message given to the Rebels that a 'major weapons test is imminent' was sent by Jyn's father, meaning no main character in the 'Star Wars' universe is without some daddy issues.
Mads Mikkelsen plays Jyn's estranged father, Galen Erso. He's a nuclear scientist wanted by both the Empire and the Rebellion for supposedly creating the technology that powered the Death Star. He appears briefly in the most recently trailer.
An old favourite is back: Mon Mothma, the political leader from 'Return of the Jedi.' Genevieve O'Reilly actually played a younger version of the character in 'Revenge of the Sith,' though her scenes were ultimately cut. As leader of the rebellion in the original trilogy, she'll be a key figure in 'Rogue One.'
Speaking of bringing characters back from the prequels, Jimmy Smits is returning as Senator Bail Organa, Princess Leia's adoptive father. Fans thought they spotted him in the behind-the-scenes video. Smits is ranked pretty high on the list of IMDb credits for 'Rogue One,' so he might have an important role and it might mean we will get a glimpse of a young Leia.
Diego Luna plays Captain Cassian Andor, a 'by-the-book Rebel intelligence officer, brought in to steady the volatile Erso.'
But his job probably changes to be more personal as he likely becomes Jyn's love interest, as evidenced by their apparent trip into the sunset in the official trailer.
Donnie Yen is Chirrut Imwe, a blind warrior devoted to the ways of the Jedi, even though at this point, they are 'pretty much extinct.' Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy says he 'falls into the category of being a warrior monk.'
Yen revealed that his character is from Jedha, a new location in the galaxy that is the source of the power for lightsabers and the likely setting for a climactic fight between the Empire and the Rebels. Jedha is like the Jerusalem or Mecca for the Force in the 'Star Wars' universe.
Gareth Edwards told Entertainment Weekly that the galaxy inhabitants are 'losing their faith' in the Force during the period in the film, but Jyn says, 'May the Force be with us,' in the behind-the-scenes video, signifying that they might find the faith again.
At the 'Star Wars Celebration' 'Rogue One' panel, Wen might have let it slip that Yen's character Chirrut dies. Panel moderator and Captain Phasma herself Gwendoline Christie cut him short soon after.
Riz Ahmed plays Bodhi Rook, the Rebellion's lead pilot. We got our first look at the character in the official trailer and he apparently is a former member of the Imperial Army.
Alan Tudyk will play a motion-capture character named K-2SO. He's a tough security droid. Gareth Edwards described him as 'the antithesis of C-3PO.' He also seems to be a former Empire droid.
Ben Mendelsohn plays Director Orson Krennic, an Imperial officer who strives to rise alongside Emperor Palpatine and is in charge of protecting the Death Star project. He is the main villain in 'Rogue One,' and feels slightly threatened by Darth Vader.
Gareth Edwards recently said that, unlike many of the Imperial officers in past films who were 'posh' elites, Krennic's background is 'much more working-class,' and he rose in the ranks 'through sheer force of personality and ideas.'
Darth Vader will return, though he won't be a primary character. James Earl Jones, who voiced the character in previous films and projects, is returning. We've gotten a few brief looks at Vader in the trailers, and he's just as chilling as you hoped he would be.
Forest Whitaker's character has been revealed to be none other than Saw Gerrera, a warrior from 'The Clone Wars' animated series. Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy described him as a 'kind of a battered veteran who leads a band of Rebel extremists.'
The new trailer changed Whitaker's look dramatically, meaning he either ages significantly or his look was revamped in reshoots. Star Wars Databank also says that he lives on Jedha to plan a mission against Imperial forces.
The Imperial walkers on the beach in the trailer look like AT-ATs, but they are taller and slimmer walkers known as AT-ACTs.
Along with Stormtroopers, 'Rogue One' is revamping another 'Star Wars' classic. The Rebellion famously uses X-wing fighters and now in their early days, they will use U-wings.
In what might be the most reassuring news, cast and crew talked in a behind-the-scenes video about how the film doesn't rely much on green-screen effects, one of the aspects of the prequels that got the most criticism.
Mads Mikkelsen also confirmed that the film was partially shot in Iceland, where parts of 'The Force Awakens' were shot. Other locations include Jordan and Laamu Atoll in the Maldives.
The scenes filmed in the Maldives are for a new world that will be introduced. Director Gareth Edwards describes it as a 'South Pacific, tropical paradise planet.'
The planet is featured heavily in the trailers and it's likely where the Rebels make their attempt to steal the plans for the Death Star.
Likely because one could guess that Jyn is carrying the plans to the Death Star in this mysterious device as she's running through a battle on sandy terrain, as seen in the behind-the-scenes video.
The film began principal photography in August 2015 and is slated for release on December 16, 2016, almost exactly a year after the premiere of 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens.'
With an upcoming standalone film for himself, it was rumoured that Han Solo might make a cameo in 'Rogue One,' but director Gareth Edwards and Kathleen Kennedy said Han will not be in the movie.
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