We live in a magical time where we’re going to get a new Star Wars movie roughly every year for the foreseeable future. That’s enough to make my childhood self retroactively explode with glee. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the first of the series of films to exist outside of the main narrative line of that far, far away galaxy, is up next, and Lucasfilm just dropped this awesome new behind the scenes look. Check it out.
Star Wars Celebration is on right now in London, and this video was the centerpiece of the Rogue One panel. This is similar to how they played it last year with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, showing off behind the scenes glimpses instead of a new trailer as many anticipated, and there’s a ton to see. (They did reportedly show a new trailer, but only in the room, not on the live stream. Though it is supposed to debut later tonight on a special ABC broadcast, so we still have that to look forward to.)
One of the big narratives of the new wave of Star Wars films after the Disney buyout of Lucasfilm, has been a return to practical effects, and that is on full display here. The green screen nightmare of the prequels is a wound that still hasn’t fully healed, but director Gareth Edwards and company are doing what they can.
We get quick peeks at a slew of new creatures, droids, and characters. More than sets and blank screens, there is an emphasis on actual locations. With the characters responding to explosions and being blasted in the face by wind and water, there’s a visceral texture that rings so much more authentic and true.
Tonally, Rogue One is said to be much different than the core Star Wars saga. Though there will be elements of the Force, Force users are not the main focus. Described as a gritty war movie, that certainly comes through in this footage, with the beach invasion, the ground combat, and the like. Don’t worry, I’m sure there will be plenty of space action to tide us over. But set just before A New Hope—the plot revolves around the theft of the plans for the first Death Star—this promises to focus more on the rank and file members of the Rebellion.
While we don’t get much plot, this sizzle reel sets the ominous mood and tone. This is a bleak time for the Rebels, one where the future is very much in doubt, and that is readily apparent. But there’s also a giddiness in the cast and crew that’s infectious—they feel like kids playing with giant toys and living out childhood dreams. Donnie Yen looks effortlessly badass, Ben Mendelsohn’s villain may give you chills, the creatures are awesome, the action is intense, and with an all-star cast that includes Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Forest Whitaker, Riz Ahmed, Alan Tudyk, Mads Mikkelsen, Jiang Wen, and voice work by a guy named James Earl Jones, this promises to be something special.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theaters on December 16. While your killing time before the trailer reveal, there’s also this gorgeous new poster to gawk at.