The very successful and very geektasttic Star Wars Celebration drew to a close in Anaheim, California last night, bringing to an end a weekend of pure Star Wars nirvana that began with that incredible The Force Awakens goodness. Lucasfilm/Disney made sure that it would end just as cool, with one of the final panels being “Conversations with Gareth Edwards and Josh Trank”, a chat with the two directors that have been tapped thus far to film the first Star Wars spinoff movies.
Alas, Trank woke up yesterday morning feeling sick and could not make it, but Edwards certainly delivered enough to distract fans from that absence, as the Godzilla director unveiled the first plot details for his recently titled Star Wars: Rogue One.
Firstly, it was revealed that this and Trank’s film will now officially be known as “Anthology Films” and not spinoffs or standalones, as they have been called in the past. Despite the fact that Edwards then clearly stated that they are still very early in pre-production, the director then unveiled a brief teaser for the film. At the time of writing this, the teaser had not been made available online with StarWars.com only posting the concept art image at the top of the page, but /Film has a great little description of it:
A card with “December 2016″ fades in and out, with a sound that is somewhere between a slow Inception horn and a lightsaber. Then a familiar voice: Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi, saying “For more than a thousand generations, the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the old Republic. Before the dark times. Before the Empire.”
As he speaks, the teaser fades in on a tracking shot, high up through a forested canyon. We hear a TIE Fighter pass overhead, and see the ship move forward into frame as the camera continues to push forward. We see, dominating the sky, the outline of what could be a moon. But that’s no moon, it’s a… well, you know what it is. The Death Star. Music swells and the screen goes black. The Rogue One logo comes up, and we hear radio voices, like troops communicating during combat. The chatter gets more frantic and loud as light strobes on the logo, which finally breaks up as the sound cuts out.
UPDATE: Thanks to MovieWeb, a bootlegged version of the teaser has made its way online. Check it out before it gets pulled down.
Oh, that does sound cool. What’s more, Edwards then went on to confirm the reported rumours that this will focus on “a rogue band of fighters [who] come together to steal the Death Star plans.” That’s already a pretty cool blurb, but Edwards also went on to detail what makes this film different, starting with the timeline: The film takes place between Episode III and IV, but closer to Episode IV when there are no more Jedi left. This means that this film is more about the actual normal soldiers, taking a more realistic approach to this conflict than we’ve previously seen.
“It comes down to a group of individuals who don’t have magical powers that have to somehow bring hope to the galaxy. It’s about the fact that God’s not coming to save us. The absence of the Jedi hangs over the movie.”
“It’s called Star Wars [emphasis on Wars]…[We’re going for real]…This is a real place that we’re really in. The thing that interests me about it, is Star Wars was basically very black and white. Our movie is gray.”
Another big difference in this movie than any other other Star Wars pic, is that it boasts a female lead character. Played by recent Oscar nominee Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything), Edwards says her character is a proper Rebel Soldier, but she won’t just be a cliched warrior as “we wanted to see fear, humor, and warmth”.
Joining Edwards on the panel at one stage was Industrial Light & Magic veteran John Knoll, who it was confirmed was actually the origin for the story that would become Star Wars: Rogue One.
“I started thinking about which story would I like to see told? I informally pitched it around…One of the people I pitched it to was [Star Wars Story Group member Pablo Hidalgo], and he was pretty enthusiastic about it as well…I made an appointment with [Lucasfilm’s Kathy Kennedy and Kiri Hart], pitched the 20-minute version of this, and got a pretty good response.”
Kennedy, who made this project one of her priorities when she became Lucasfilm President, went on to say that “there was no way I was going to say no. This was a really cool idea.”
A cool idea indeed and one with some crossover potential as well, as Edwards dropped the hint with this film taking place in the same time as Star Wars Rebels, that there could be some “opportunities”, although he didn’t elaborate further. And he didn’t have to, because quite frankly I don’t need even more reasons to get excited for this movie.
You can read up more over on StarWars.com about Edwards’s Star Warsgeekery, as well as how he had to keep this gig a secret from his own family. Star Wars: Rogue One is rumoured to also star Ben Mendelsohn and written by Gary Whitta (Book of Eli) and Chris Weitz (About a Boy) and is scheduled for release some time in December 2016.
Last Updated: April 20, 2015