Just like that, the already-daunting task facing Jyn Erso and her ragtag Rebel crew got exponentially more difficult. Darth Vader — Sith Lord, Imperial enforcer, and all around bad dude — is on their case. In the brand new trailer (above) for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, released Thursday night during the Olympics coverage, the man in the mask made his long-anticipated appearance.
First, though, the 2-minute clip establishes the chokehold the Empire has on the galaxy: TIE fighters and Imperial shuttles buzzing cities; Star Destroyers hovering over the landscape of the desert moon Jedha; the Death Star’s superlaser mounting into place.
Against that bleak backdrop, Rebel leader Mon Mothma assembles a less-than-dream team to figure out how to keep said superlaser from inflicting damage. There’s inveterate scofflaw Jyn (Felicity Jones), who apparently can’t utter a line without oozing sarcasm; her handsome handler, Captain Cassian Andor (Diego Luna); his brusque reprogrammed Imperial droid, K-2SO (who we finally hear speak, in the voice of Alan Tudyk, pronouncing the mission to have a “97.6 percent chance of failure” — a stat C-3PO would undoubtedly love); old warrior Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker), who proclaims, “the world is coming undone”; fearless, Force-friendly, and blind martial artist Chirrut Îmwe (Donnie Yen); brash, blaster-happy warrior Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen), fighting to avenge his home world; and their jittery-looking pilot, Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed). To accomplish their task, they’ll need to face down legions of Stormtroopers, in a dazzling array of armors, and Director Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn), the becaped Imperial operative hunting them down.
And then, at the very the end, we see — and hear — him. Cue the chills.
With the notable exception of Vader (and maybe Whitaker’s sudden hair growth), there’s not much new information from what we discerned in April’s teaser trailer. But we do get our first good look at K-2SO, Jyn and Cassian’s U-wing starship, and the Death Star blotting out the sun over a doomed planet, along with snippets of battle scenes (including X-wings navigating through dark canyons and Baze targeting an AT-AT walker with the laser equivalent of a bazooka).
And we hear dialogue from key characters. Chirrut declares, “I fear nothing. All is as the Force wills it.” “The captain says you are a friend,” K-2SO tells Jyn. “I will not kill you.” “Thanks,” Jyn replies.
Unless there’s a cameo from R2-D2 and C-3PO in Rogue One, Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader will become the only character to appear in all the canonical Star Wars films. Anakin/Vader has loomed over all the prequels and the original trilogy films; his torched helmet was Kylo Ren’s prized possession, and he was briefly heard in Rey’s lightsaber vision in The Force Awakens. He has also surfaced in episodes of the TV cartoon series The Clone Wars and, most recently, Star Wars Rebels, which is set a few years before the events of Rogue One.
While most of Rogue One’s rogues gallery is new to the Star Wars universe, there are a few familiar faces. Mon Mothma appeared in Return of the Jedi and in a deleted scene in Revenge of the Sith; freedom fighter Saw Gerrera was introduced in a Clone Wars story arc, and, while not in the trailer, Jimmy Smits has said he’ll reprise his prequel role of Bail Organa, Alderaan’s benevolent leader, architect of the Rebellion, and adoptive father of Princess Leia.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the first standalone film in the franchise, arrives in theaters on Dec. 16.