Shocking no one, except perhaps those who aren’t force-sensitive, details for Star Wars: Rogue One – the first of several planned stand-alone films set in a galaxy far, far away but not connected to the new official trilogy – were revealed today at Star Wars Celebration, the big four-day fan frenzy in Anaheim. As it turns out, the film will be a prequel set just before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope (for those losing track, that’s the franchise’s original film).
The information came from both Twitter and a panel this morning featuring Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy and Rogue One director Gareth Edwards. The film concerns attempts by a rag tag group of Rebel Alliance members to capture the plans to the Death Star – said plans were, of course, the plot motivator driving A New Hope. Rather than focus on the adventures of Jedi Knights, who are of course all but extinct after the events of Revenge of the Sith, it will instead be about ordinary men and women “that don’t have magic powers, that have to bring hope to the galaxy,” Edwards told the audience.
Josh Trank, slated to directed a still-untitled Star Wars film for release in 2018, was scheduled to appear today but was a no-show due to illness. No matter, as the panel revealed the first teaser for Rogue One to a thrilled audience. Starting with impressionistic scenes of a forested landscape, voice over narration came courtesy of Alec Guinness’ famous line from A New Hope, intoning “For over a thousand generations, the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic. Before the dark times. Before the Empire.” The camera then pans up from the forest to reveal the horizon of a planet around which the completed Death Star is orbiting.
This being 2015, of course the trailer has already been leaked online. So far, Disney and Lucasfilm have not released an official version, but given the reaction to the stunning trailer for The Force Awakens released on Thursday, assume it’s coming.
Other tibits: the stand-alone Star Wars films are being branded “Star Wars Anthology,” the idea being to make genre films within the larger Star Wars context, such as how Rogue One sounds kind of like The Dirty Dozen in space. Felicity Jones was also confirmed to star in the film. Rogue One is scheduled for release December 16, 2016.