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Let’s Talk About That ROGUE ONE Trailer

So as I’m sure we all know by now the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story teaser trailer dropped just before the weekend. If you’ve been too busy catching up on Daredevil, finally getting your butt to the theatre for Zootopia or tweeting the weekly uprising hashtag during The 100‘s time slot, then let me catch you up.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wji-BZ0oCwg&w=560&h=315]

Okay. I gotta start by saying wow this actually exceeded my expectations. Before seeing this trailer I’d had little interest in the “Star Wars spin-off movies” as usually anything that can be described as a “spin-off” sends me running in the opposite direction. But this film looks like it will fit well within the universe and also stand on its own two feet.

Rogue One is set on the timeline between Star Wars episodes III and IV. Judging by the trailer, it’s going to follow a classic fantasy plot outline: our young hero, considered by older authorities to be an expendable criminal, will be more useful risking their life for valuable information than wasting space rotting in prison. Our hero is therefore sent on a dangerous mission from which they might not return alive. But of course our hero, being the daring thrill-seeker they are, is more than willing to take on the adventure, and we can almost guarantee they’ll come back with something more than what they were sent out for. Only twist is, instead of a scruffy-looking nerf-herder we have Felicity Jones, portraying the cool, calm and low-key sass-master Jyn Erso.

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film analyst’s note: Introducing this character with a green backround says so much – Jyn is calm, collected, and totally prepared.

As happy as I am for another female lead in the Star Wars universe, I’m still wary of the significant gender imbalance that continues to plague the series, and Rogue One doesn’t look set to break the mold. Just as The Force Awakens gave us our hero Daisy Ridley and the nostalgic support of Carrie Fisher as the wise and steadfast Leia Organa, Rogue One gives us Felicity Jones and Genevieve O’Reilly in the role of political powerhouse Mon Mothma. As for the potential appearance of other significant female characters, the outlook is not so good — aside from Jones and O’Reilly, not one other woman has been credited in the cast on IMDB (so far). I mean, the trailer at least passes the Bechdel test … but is that really much of an achievement anymore? The Force Awakens also gave us Maz Kanata and Captain Phasma so I’m hoping for at least some equivalent support in Rogue One, but really I expect more. Standard males heroes tend to get a male and female sidekick in their trios — Luke gets Han and Leia, Harry gets Ron and Hermione, Ferris gets Sloane and Cameron. Where is Jyn Erso’s female sidekick to butt heads and become best friends with? GIVE IT TO ME.

Having said that, even if Rogue One doesn’t come through in this regard, with the additions of Laura Dern, Billie Lourd and Kelly Marie Tran to the Episode VIII cast, there is hope for us yet.

Okay, enough feminism. Let’s move on.

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film analyst’s note: I lost my shit in this moment.

BEN. FUCKING. MENDELSOHN.

I don’t know if y’all in America think Ben Mendelsohn is a big deal, but to an Australian like me he is THE SHIT. Ben Mendelsohn is one of the greatest Australian actors alive, from The Year My Voice Broke to Animal Kingdom to Bloodline. I was thrilled to hear he would be appearing in the Star Wars universe and seeing him in this trailer … YOU GUYS I AM LIVING. If you aren’t familiar with his filmography I urge you to take a look. In fact I’m going to detour and shamelessly plug Bloodline which is a Netflix original series that you should definitely watch, and Season Two launches in May so now is the perfect time to get on board. Ben Mendelsohn was born to play villanous roles and if Animal Kingdom and Bloodline are anything to go by he can be unnerving as heck, so I can pretty much guarantee his casting is spot on.

I will now put the patriotism and plugs aside and move on to discuss the Big Rumour that’s been circulating since before this trailer was even born: Is Jyn Erso Rey’s mom???????

I’m gonna put myself out there and say no, I don’t think she is. My reasoning for that is based on the fact that Rogue One is a spinoff film. The Skywalker/Solo/Kenobi clan (and Rey is surely one of them) get the feature storyline. Positioning Rey’s relative outside of the episodic series seems like an odd and unlikely move to me, considering that Luke’s origin story is literally what the entire series is about. So giving a part of Rey’s (and possibly Luke’s, if indeed Luke and Rey are related) story a backseat like this seems a bit of a misstep to me. I’m more in favour of the alternative rumour, which is that Jyn Erso and Diego Luna’s as-yet-unnamed character are Poe Dameron’s parents. I think there’s a lot more solid ground here. Giving Poe Dameron’s backstory some screen time in a spinoff is a fun way to tie the story lore into the main series without stealing the limelight. Luna’s character looks likely to be a starfighter pilot like Dameron, and between Rey and Poe Jyn Erso’s personality seems a lot more like the latter.

The only inkling of doubt I have about favoring the Poe Dameron rumour is that Jyn Erso has a British accent just like Daisy Ridley’s Rey. Then again, so does Obi-Wan Kenobi….

Only time will tell if there’s any truth to either of these rumours. What’s clear is that we’re all pretty excited to see how Rogue One fits in with and makes references to the episodic series, particularly Episode VII.

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film analyst’s note: That brown jacket looks a little familiar, no?

The rest of the supporting cast looks excellent. Forest Whitaker appears to be playing a mentor figure of some description and Donnie Yen looks set to give us some of the best fight sequences is in the movie.

Back to where we began. The plot sets up nice and clear in the trailer at least for our lead character, which is a good sign. I’m a little worried that Rogue One will fall victim to Better Trailer syndrome, in which the trailer is so good it sets expectations too high and the actual movie falls flat. Rogue One is directed by Gareth Edwards, whose 2014 film Godzilla is one of the biggest Better Trailer offenders out there. That teaser gave me chills but the actually movie was … well, kind of a mess. There’s a lot more pressure for Rogue One to succeed than a Godzilla remake, so one can hope that that pressure has been enough to make sure this movie is the absolute best it can be. Based on what we’ve seen so far, I have high hopes.

OTHER THOUGHTS

  • Those shots on the ground beneath the AT-ATs look exactly like how it feels to play the Star Wars Battlefront video game tbh
  • Who is Mads Mikkelsen playing?
  • Jyn is charged for forgery of imperial documents, possession of stolen property, aggravated assault, resisting arrest. Shall we make bets now that said aggravated assault and subsequent arrest is going to be the opening scene of the movie?
  • Mon Mothma was Leia’s political mentor. I have to wonder if we’ll get to land on or at least get more insight into Alderaan.
  • Is the “A Star Wars Story” subheading really necessary?
  • Are we going to get a Darth Vader cameo?

So what did you guys think? If there’s something I didn’t address leave a comment and let’s expand the discussion!


Images courtesy of Lucasfilm.

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    Erin Latimer is writer whose specialties include film analysis, television and gaming reviews, and re-examining movies from her childhood through a lens of feminist fan practices and queer theory.

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