To close out Star Wars: Celebration 2015 director Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) took to the stage to reveal details on the upcoming Star Wars spin-off film, Rogue One. The official title of the project is Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One; this will be the first film of the Star Wars Anthology series, a series of films that explore the wider world outside of the main storyline of Star Wars. Edwards revealed that the plot revolves around a group of resistance fighters tasked with the job of stealing the plans of the first Death Star. The film will star Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything) and there will be no Jedi presence.
“It’s about the fact that God’s not coming to save us,” Edwards said.
He also showed some concept footage that chilled the blood. We managed to get a peek at a bootleg copy of it before it started disappearing from the internet. Rather than link to a video that may not exist soon, we’ll just describe what we saw:
A sweeping shot of a lush jungle planet. A TIE fighter screams into view and begins accelerating toward the upper atmosphere. Ben Kenobi’s classic line from A New Hope hangs over the scene.
“For over 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 the shot widens and pans up we see the colossal shape of the Death Star taking up the entire horizon. The TIE fighter is obviously flying toward it. The scene closes with a black title card with the words: Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One in burnished silver.
Along with the test footage , Edwards showed off a piece of concept art that captures a grittier, more militaristic Rebel Alliance.
Rogue One concept art! pic.twitter.com/CGuLjz1IOC
— Bryan Bishop (@bcbishop) April 19, 2015
A Star Wars heist movie? Yes, please!
I wish I could post the video of the test footage. Seeing a fully functional Death Star from the perspective of a planet is something we didn’t really get the full effect of in Return of the Jedi as it was locked in orbit a good ways off and only half built. The visual of a fully operational planet buster looming on the horizon made me pee myself a little. I also like that this movie will have no Jedi what-so-ever. Don’t get me wrong: I love the whole Jedi/Sith conflict. Who doesn’t love a good sword fight? The problem with the Force users is that they generally absorb spotlight like a black hole. It’ll be nice to see stories that feature vanilla humans (and aliens) for a change. Even though we know how the objective of this story plays out, we have no idea what fates befell the men and women who undertook the task.
Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One stars Felicity Jones and hits theaters December 2016.