Star Wars fans everywhere are eagerly anticipating the release of a new film on December 16: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, a standalone movie that takes place in between Episodes III (Revenge of the Sith) and IV (A New Hope). It’s part of a new series of “anthology” movies developed since Lucasfilm was bought by Disney, and it aims to take place right before the events of A New Hope. If you’re not too familiar with the terrain it will be covering, however, or even if you just want to know more about what to expect, here’s what you should look for in the upcoming film:
- A new timeline.
Rogue One takes place in the intermediary period after the Empire has taken over the galaxy and killed most of the Jedi, but before the Rebel Alliance is able to start a significant battle against them. The plot of Rogue One revolves around a rebel group trying to steal the plans for the Death Star, which were used in the Battle of Yavin in A New Hope – so die-hard Star Wars fans will appreciate the tie-in, which helps give much of the backstory and context for the original movies. However, you don’t have to have necessarily watched all of the preceding Star Wars movies in order to understand what’s going on. But if you haven’t where the hell have been the last 40 years?. This means, however, that Rogue One is not a continuation of the Star Wars series in its typical “episode” format – and there likely won’t be a “Rogue Two,” as it is meant to stand alone (and the other Star Wars episodes, which involve the stories of Rey and Kylo Ren, will continue in later years).
- A plot based on conflict.
It’s true that all of the Star Wars movies have their fair share of battles, but Rogue One is particularly war-driven; producers have even said that its action is meant to evoke the Vietnam War though scenes set in jungles and on battlefields. There will be plenty of war machines and tools that Star Wars fans are familiar with, including AT-ATs, X-Wing and Y-Wing Fighters, AT-STs, and of course the battle-ready stormtroopers.
- An intriguing new star.
At the center of Rogue One is Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), a rebel recruited by leader Mon Mothma to fight for the Alliance to Restore the Republic as a sergeant during the Galactic Civil War. In Rogue One, Jyn Erso is part of the team that steals the Death Star plans, which she is reportedly chosen to do because of her knowledge of weapons. She is known to be “reckless and rebellious,” as she separated from her parents at the age of 15 and since then has been committing crimes that include resisting arrest, forging Imperial documents and possessing stolen property. There is much speculation about where Jyn Erso is from, why she is so important to the Rebel Alliance, how she might fit into the larger Star Wars storyline and whether she can even be trusted. For example, in the teaser trailer she is shown wearing the insignia of the Empire, which brings up questions about whether she is a double agent, in disguise or is actually working for the Empire. Furthermore, her father Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen) has been revealed to be an inventor of some importance who is also not a “bad guy,” which brings up the question of why she separated from her parents when she was 15. Other questions arise: what planet is she from, and is it significant? Is it possible that she might be the mother of Rey – Luke Skywalker’s daughter in Episode VI? Is she able to use the Force? Star Wars fans eagerly await the release of the movie on December 16 so they can get some answers to these questions, as well as to see how Jyn Erso’s character develops throughout the movie and fits in with the other characters.
- Mainly new characters.
There will not be a lot of crossover between Rogue One and A New Hope, which applies to characters as well as plot line. You can expect to see new players such as Rebel Captain Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed), the droid K-2SO (voiced and performed via motion capture by Alan Tudyk), Chirrut Îmwe (Donnie Yen) and Baze Malbus (Wen Jiang). With that being said, there will be a few returning characters, including Sith villain Darth Vader (James Earl Jones) and rebel leader Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly). Leia’s adoptive father, Bail Organa (Jimmy Smits), will reportedly have a role as well.