Probably one of the most captivating untold tales from the "Star Wars" universe is the sub-plot that involves the Rebel Alliance's acquisition of the plans for the evil Empire's superweapon, the Death Star. And, as revealed in the teaser trailer for the Star Wars spin-off movie "Rogue One" on Thursday, we'll finally get the gritty story behind the daring mission.
The trailer has everything: a strong female lead (Felicity Jones), snappy dialog, atmospheric sets and costumes with powerful echos from "A New Hope" and a promise that we'll finally get the details behind how the Rebels smuggled the Death Star's plans from behind enemy lines, eventually allowing Luke Skywalker to sink his X-Wing-launched torpedoes into the battle station's exhaust vents.
For me, I'm almost more excited for "Rogue One" than I was for "The Force Awakens" that was released in December. Though I enjoyed "The Force Awakens," I felt that, to live up to the ground-trembling hype, there was too much of a focus on CGI and a lack of original storytelling, instead depending on tried-and-tested tropes (a super-duper-planet-sized Death Star? Really?). That said, the new generation of characters, led by Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Finn (John Boyega), are providing a strong direction for the franchise, which will be exciting to see flourish in upcoming movies. And, of course, it was a thrill to see Solo, Leia and (albeit briefly) Luke 30 years after the destruction of the Empire's second Death Star in "Return of the Jedi."
But "Rogue One," which is the first of the "Star Wars Anthology" series, appears to be a standalone tale (directed by Gareth Edwards) following Jyn Erso (Jones) on her epic adventure to lead a group of Rebel misfits on a mission to grab the plans for the Galactic Empire's first Death Star.
In the opening crawl for "A New Hope" that was released in 1977, we were given a primer for the premise of "Rogue One:"
"It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire.
"During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire's ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet.
"Pursued by the Empire's sinister agents, Princess Leia races home aboard her starship, custodian of the stolen plans that can save her people and restore freedom to the galaxy…."
Apart from mentions in fan fiction and spin-off "Star Wars" novels, little more information is known about these "Rebel spies." Considering that the plans for the Death Star are pivotal to "A New Hope"'s story line, it's about time a movie is devoted to their story. And their story looks thrilling. And there's not a Jedi in sight.
At least from what we can tell from this trailer, the movie is independent of the Skywalker canon and "mythical" Force, instead focusing on Jyn, a rebellious fighter who may have a problem with authority ("This is a rebellion, isn't it?" she says when her rap sheet is read out to her). There's hints of her compatriots and a powerful scene (that feels as if it was inspired by the "Star Wars: Battlefront" video game) showing Jyn and co. running at an AT-AT, blasters blazing. There's also some pretty cool hand-to-hand combat scenes. But there's little time for levity or needless lighthearted one-liners, this is war and we're going to live the grit of this war through the eyes of a brave band of Rebels who will stop at nothing to find the Achilles Heel of the Empire’s superweapon before it goes online.
Of course, we know the Death Star plans do get stolen and smuggled to the Rebels (via Princess Leia and R2D2), who then realize there's a small exhaust vent leading to the core of the Death Star that could be exploited. But what happened to to the brave team who captured the plans in the first place? We'll have to wait until December to find out.
For updates on the movie and its release, keep an eye on the official Star Wars website.
Originally published on Discovery News.