My gosh, we really are getting a Star Wars movie every year, aren’t we? I mean, sure, we were told this was going to happen, but until that Rogue One trailer hit, it hadn’t really sunk in yet. The Force Awakens was a huge event – and one that happened only three and a half months ago, somehow – yet here we already are, with a brand-spanking-new Star Wars movie to look forward to. (Sure, we will never know how Star Wars ends before we die, but it’s all going to be fun until then.)
This really is uncharted territory. In the past, we waited 3 years, 3 years, 16 years, 3 years, 3 years, and 10 years between each film. The Force Awakens was just released on Blu-ray earlier this week, but it’s already time to look forward. Or backwards. Or whatever. It’s all a little confusing.
Anyway: Rogue One! In no particular order, here are some reactions I had while watching this trailer.
1. I’m getting the impression the word “prequel” is verboten around the halls of Lucasfilm. Technically, Rogue One is a prequel to the original Star Wars, but you will never hear anyone with any kind of authority say that. It’s “A Star Wars Story.” Okay then! Regardless, Rogue One is really driving that nail into the prequels’ coffin. I wrote about this before, but I believe it more today: A few years from now, the prequels will be some weird outlier movies that look and feel absolutely nothing like any of the other movies. (I can see them becoming “cool,” in a hipster kind of way.) Watching this Rogue One trailer, it struck me, “Oh, yeah, that’s how you make a movie look like it took place before the original Star Wars.” I think this trailer made me retroactively more displeased with the prequels.
2. AT-ATs are fun! It’s hard to believe over the course of seven Star Wars movies, we only saw AT-ATs in action one time. (In the Secrets of The Force Awakens documentary that’s on the Blu-ray, J.J. Abrams pronounces them “at at,” as opposed to “a tee a tee,” and this makes me happy.) Yes, there’s a dead one that Rey uses as her home in The Force Awakens and we sort of see one walk by in Return of the Jedi, but here they are again. On the beach! And they are scary! (I’ve been playing a lot of Star Wars: Battlefront and any mode with AT-ATs are great, mainly because they look so imposing. Sometimes the game allows a player to pilot these things and it’s the only time in the game you are pretty much invincible.)
3. Before the prequels were released, I always just assumed that Grand Moff Tarkin and Mon Mothma would be major characters. Because, you know, that would make a lot of sense considering how important they both seem to be in the original trilogy. Instead, Jar Jar Binks turned out to be a major character while Tarkin got about 10 seconds of screen time at the end of Revenge of the Sith. And poor Mon Mothma was relegated to the deleted scenes. But hey, Genevieve O’Reilly gets to reprise her deleted scene role in Rogue One. How great is that?
After ten years of knowing you were almost in a Star Wars, now she gets to be in one that will most likely be a lot better anyway.
4. One thing that always struck me about the original Star Wars is that we meet the Rebellion early in the film aboard the Tantive IV, but then we don’t see them again until the Millennium Falcon lands at their base on a moon of Yavin. It’s at that point you realize they have a whole big operation going on. I love that quick shot outside the base, right before all of the “here’s how to blow up the Death Star” meetings start. We are introduced to so many characters so quickly; I always wanted to know more about them. I hope General Madine and General Rieekan are in Rogue One. I hope Jan Dodonna is in this movie! I hope Wedge is in this movie! I hope Captain Antilles is in this movie and brags about how he has a strong neck. This is all very exciting.
5. How cool is it to see an honest to goodness Stormtrooper again? I never liked the clone uniform from the prequels, plus they are all terrible looking CGI. The Stormtroopers in The Force Awakens look pretty good, but there’s almost something a little too snazzy about them. Like those are the Stormtroopers who would appear in an X-TREME Mountain Dew commercial, or something. I cannot overstate just how neat it is to see actual Stormtroopers running around and getting shot again.
6. It takes a long time to build a Death Star! I guess that makes sense, but remember in Revenge of the Sith, it already looked like this:
Rogue One takes place approximately 18 or 19 years after Revenge of the Sith. That seems like a long time. Oh well, Rogue One will be the fourth Star Wars movie to center around a Death Star or Death Star-type entity, and it’s the first one since the original film where that all seems okay.
7. And finally: Jedi are boring. This movie will most likely, hopefully not have any Jedi in it, other than Vader. (Hey, Darth Vader is back!) This is a good thing! None of that “searching within you,” malarkey – it’s just, “Hey, we need these Death Star plans so we can blow it up. Go get them!” Which, judging from this photo, it appears Felicity Jones’ Jyn Erso is wearing maybe a TIE Fighter pilot uniform, minus the helmet and breathing apparatus … so I’m guessing that’s how she gets into the Death Star.
I honestly hope no one in this movie is related to anyone we already know. Or anyone, for all I care. They can all be people without a past or a future. Let them be their own thing. (Anyway, I’m excited. I can’t help it.)
Mike Ryan lives in New York City and has written for The Huffington Post, Wired, Vanity Fair and New York magazine. He is senior entertainment writer at Uproxx. You can contact him directly on Twitter.