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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – A trailer analysis


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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the latest film to be set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, yet somehow in the future, but not as far in the future as The Force Awakens or the trilogy that precedes it. It’s the one before all that, but after episodes one, two and three, which were actually made more recently than four, five and six. It’s episode three and a half. It’s quite simple.

Anyway, it’s going to show us how the Rebels acquired the plans to the Death Star because that “Many Bothans died to bring us this information” line from Return of the Jedi wasn’t sufficient. We need to actually see them die, I guess.

And now Rogue One has what’s being called a ‘teaser trailer’, giving us a greater idea of how the film might pan out, even though we already know exactly how it ends. I’m not sure why they’re calling it a teaser, though. The protagonist actually talks, it sets up a plot and it’s too long for anyone to convert into a GIF, so it’s surely a fully fledged, un-bastardised, proper trailer. Teasers usually just contain strobe lighting and grunting.

Whatever it is, it’s been cut together brilliantly, bringing back memories of the hair follicle damage done by The Force Awakens trailer. It introduces us to Felicity Jones’s Jyn Erso, who many of you might have noticed is a female. And she’s not even an earlier/later version of Padme or Princess Leia or Rey. She’s a brand new character, which is terribly progressive. Handily for the story, she’s the rebellious kind.

Cue the dramatic farting trumpets and an equally ominous shot of the Death Star, which currently isn’t blown up. The Rebellion wants to know why there’s a massive football in space and how to destroy it. Of course, they can’t put the old DVDs in and experience the timeline in a demented order like we can, so they have no idea that all you have to do is shoot a proton torpedo up its arsehole.

When the Death Star detects intruders snooping around its orifices, it starts whaling and screeching like a distressed elephant. Coincidentally, that makes all the images that follow look decisively more theatrical: an Imperial man (Ben MendelsohnPhil) standing inexplicably still, which might explain why his costume has remained perfectly white, Stormtroopers looking 20% more confident because they know there’s no Jedis in this film to mind trick them, samurai with massive wooden sticks and Forest Whitaker who has a limp that will probably need to be explained in a another prequel.

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Then we’re shown the beach scene from Saving Private Ryan that just happens to have AT-AT Walkers in it. Rebels bum-rush the twenty-meter-tall behemoths with nothing more than laser rifles and presumably a deluded sense of optimism. It’s awfully gritty, but that’s only natural when you film with sand.

At this point, Jyn Erso does her best Katniss Everdeen impression, dressed in black Imperial gear, and gazes into the camera as if to denote a sense of uncertainty about her destiny. Chances are it ends with her being choked to death by Hayden Christensen. Yoda forbid.

What are your thoughts on the trailer? What worked, what didn’t?

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Words by Chris Edwards

Chris’s website


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