Christmas came early for Star Wars fans as the second official trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story premiered this morning, and between the initial teaser and relatively enigmatic first trailer that debuted back in August, some rabid speculation can be put to rest. We knew that this stand-alone story, directed by Godzilla's Gareth Edwards, would concentrate on a band of outlaws, ne'er-do-wells and scallywags that were recruited by the rebel alliance to steal blueprints for the not-yet-built Death Star. We knew Felicity Jones' character, Jyn Erso, was the band's de facto leader. We knew that the film had gone back for reshoots, which set off alarm bells for a number of folks, and that Jones' downplayed the production-is-in-trouble rumors in a recent Hollywood Reporter cover story. ("Would you turn in the first draft of this story," she asks the journalist.) And we knew that a certain helmet-clad, heavy-breathing villain would, at the very least, show up to bless the production with his Empire-sponsored evilness.
The good news: The far, far away galaxy is expanded beautifully in the new clip, filled with Death Star looming cloudy skies, lush, gum ball blue beachfronts, and two heart pounding seconds of Darth Vader charging into frame like a boss. For all that's revealed, including Mads Mikkelsen as Galen Erso, our heroine Jyn's father, we're still left with some head-scratchers. (What, exactly, is going on with freedom fighter Forest Whitaker’s hair?)
Once again, we've taken the liberty of singling out five key takeaways from the new trailer, complete with rallying catchphrases and the joy that our favorite Sith Lord will NOT be relegated to a single-shot cameo.
1. Darth Vader in ass-kicking mode
Let's start with the big guy first. In the final seconds of the first full trailer, all we saw of Vader was an all-to-brief shot of his shiny black helmet. Here, we are given two new moments with the iconic bad guy: The first (at the 1:16 mark) finds Imperial Weapons Director Orson Krennic, played by Ben Mendelsohn, passionately talking up the power of the Death Star to Lord Vader, whom we only see via the back of his helmet. The next we see him (2:05) advancing menacingly towards someone, on what looks like the metal planks of the Death Star. The shot, in its brevity, reveals that Vader has some business to handle, and it’s not going to end well for whomever is in his crosshairs. But at the very least, we now know he's in more than one scene, and won't be relegated to a mere blink-and-you-miss-it guest appearance.
2. Galen Orso was instrumental in building the Death Star
This is pretty shadowy, but in addition to the reveal of Galen Erso as Jyn’s father, he apparently plays a major role in the construction of the Death Star. From the standoff between Galen and Krennic in a field, with a little Jyn looking on, the former seems like he's sacrificing his life to become a tool of the Empire. It's unclear if that moment in the field was the last the father and daughter saw of each other, but her line in the trailer – "If my father built this thing, we need to find him" – leads us to believe that Jyn only knew a good man who was looking out for her.
3. We've got a rescue mission on our hands
Galen Erso appears to be playing a large role in Rogue One, and not just in the aforementioned Death Star construction. The scarring left by witnessing his hostile abduction has apparently instilled in Jyn a sense that some business has been left unfinished, and that things will get very personal for her. The young lady's brash, fend-for-herself toughness comes from that moment in the field, and Galen's voiceover narration of, "Jyn, whatever I do, I do it to protect you" pulls at the heartstrings. Flashbacks plus the rallying strings on the score equal a classic hero's journey subplot.
4. Rogue One: Call sign to the stars
This one isn’t earth shattering – but hey, we finally know what "Rogue One" means. In the clip, sassy droid K-2SO states that the Empire is requesting a call sign. In an ode to Han Solo using an older code to obtain clearance from the Imperials to land on Endor in Return of the Jedi, Riz Ahmed's Bodhi gives a winking nod to fans as he delivers the line with sustained relish. "It's Rogue … Rogue One."
5. There's a new sense of hope here
If the first trailer seemed more than a bit dour and dark, the new preview is sparked with a propulsive, marching score, calls for revolution and battle cries of hope. Forest Whitaker’s Saw Gerrerra is the physical embodiment of rebel spirit, sporting metallic legs and a grizzled, world weary visage. "Save the Rebellion! Save the Dream!" he implores. The trailer has the spirit of a ragtag platoon on a mission, and it’s no secret that director Gareth Edwards hopes to instill the film with this spirit, looking to films such as Black Hawk Down for inspiration. Jyn’s impassioned call to arms, “We have hope. Rebellions are built on hope,” feels destined to become a classic Star Wars line.