Diving Into the 'Rogue One' Teaser Trailer

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Meet your new Star Wars heroine, Jyn Erso

Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso
Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso in 'Rogue One'. Lucasfilm Ltd.

At last, Lucasfilm has released our first-ever look at footage from Gareth Edwards' Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The teaser trailer shows many of the major characters in action, introduces Felicity Jones' headlining character as "Jyn Erso," and gives a strong sense of what this "war film" will be like.

Overall, you'll get a strong A New Hope vibe, combined with a lot of grit and dirt. Jyn Erso looks like another fascinating female Star Wars heroine, but someone distinct and new. Conspicuously absent: Darth Vader, Mads Mikkelsen's character, and aliens. There are very few, if any, aliens visible in the trailer.

Let's take a closer look.

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Jyn is taken in

Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso
Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso in 'Rogue One'. Lucasfilm Ltd.

Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) apparently has quite the criminal record before she joins the Rebellion.

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Rebel HQ

Rebel Headquarters on Yavin
Rebel Headquarters on Yavin in 'Rogue One'. Lucasfilm Ltd.

Our first clear look at the Rebel Alliance's headquarters on Yavin, much as we saw it in A New Hope. The details are sharper, but most of the props and costumes should look familiar.

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Rebel Headquarters on Yavin
Rebel Headquarters on Yavin in 'Rogue One'. Lucasfilm Ltd.

An X-Wing looms in the background of the Rebel HQ.

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In the war room

Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso
Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso in 'Rogue One'. Lucasfilm Ltd.

Someone is rattling off Jyn's criminal history, but who's doing the talking?

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A familiar face

Genevieve O'Reilly as Mon Mothma
Genevieve O'Reilly as Mon Mothma, speaking to Jyn Erso in 'Rogue One'. Lucasfilm Ltd.

Surprise: it's Senator and Rebel leader Mon Mothma! We hadn't heard she was in Rogue One, so it's nice to see such an important character in Star Wars history getting more face time.

Casual fans may not know that ten years ago, actress Genevieve O'Reilly portrayed Mon Mothma in a scene from Revenge of the Sith that was deleted from the finished film. (The scene is available to view as a home video extra.) Kudos to Rogue One for the nifty continuity callback of having O'Reilly reprise the role in this new film.

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Jyn considers the offer

Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso
Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso in 'Rogue One'. Lucasfilm Ltd.

Jyn doesn't seem to put up much of in the way of arguments against joining the Rebels. Maybe she's been looking for them.

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Cassein Willix

Diego Luna as Cassein Willix
Diego Luna as Cassein Willix in 'Rogue One'. Lucasfilm Ltd.

Our first glimpse at Diego Luna finds him in the Rebel HQ war room, observing Jyn's introduction. Rumors strongly suggest that Luna's character is named Cassein Willix.

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Jyn is wary

Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso
Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso in 'Rogue One'. Lucasfilm Ltd.

Jyn Erso looks pretty cautious as she enters some kind of structure. I wonder if the movie has her traveling around, gathering a specialized team for her mission.

Take note of the blurry droid behind her. We'll get back to him later.

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You say you want a revolution?

Jyn fights Stormtroopers
Jyn Erso fights Stormtroopers. Lucasfilm Ltd.

Despite Rebel intel that says Jyn is undisciplined and untrained, she looks awfully capable to me. Here she takes down a group of Stormtroopers without breaking a sweat.

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Jyn vs. Stormtroopers

Jyn fights Stormtroopers
Jyn smacks down a group of Stormtroopers. Lucasfilm Ltd.

Not only is she skilled in hand-to-hand combat...

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Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso
Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso in 'Rogue One'. Lucasfilm Ltd.

...She's a great shot, too.

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An explosion
An explosion is triggered by a figure in the foreground. Lucasfilm Ltd.

A shadowy figure in the foreground appears to trigger this explosion.

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Sucks to be these guys

Stormtroopers caught in the blast
Stormtroopers are caught in the explosion. Lucasfilm Ltd.

Look at all those sparks.

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More fire and explosions

Jyn and Willix run from an explosion
Jyn and Willix run from an explosion. Lucasfilm Ltd.

Jyn and Willix run from a big explosion.

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"This is a Rebellion, isn't it?"

Jyn Erso explains herself to Mon Mothma. Lucasfilm Ltd.

"I rebel."

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A subtle smile

Mon Mothma is amused
Mon Mothma is amused by Jyn's response. Lucasfilm Ltd.

She tries to hide it, but Mon Mothma is obviously amused by Jyn's remarks.

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Felicity Jones is Jyn Erso
Felicity Jones is Jyn Erso. Lucasfilm Ltd.

Where is Jyn going, I wonder?

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Such a cool shot

Star Destroyer
Star Destroyer. Lucasfilm Ltd.

This awesome shot could be easily mistaken as a star field behind a Star Destroyer. But that's no star field...

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The shadow shifts

A shadow moves, revealing...
A shadow moves behind the Star Destroyer, revealing... Lucasfilm Ltd.

It's a space station! A shadow moves across its surface, revealing the massive weapon.

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Definitely not a moon

The Death Star looms behind a Star Destroyer
The Death Star looms behind a Star Destroyer. Lucasfilm Ltd.

Check out the details on the Death Star's underlying machinery.

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The Death Star

The firing dish is placed on the Death Star
The firing dish is placed on the Death Star. Lucasfilm Ltd.

The big firing dish is lowered into place in what looks like the last bit of construction on the Death Star. Such a cool shot.

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Someone's skeptical...

Alistair Petrie as a Rebel officer
Alistair Petrie as a Rebel officer. Lucasfilm Ltd.

This is actor Alistair Petrie as a Rebel officer of some kind. The character's name has not yet been revealed.

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"Yes, sir."

Jyn Erso is all in
Jyn Erso agrees to the Rebel mission. Lucasfilm Ltd.

Jyn is all in, seeming only too eager to sign on for the Rebels' suicide mission.

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It's coming

"This December...". Lucasfilm Ltd.

December 16, 2016, to be exact.

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To arms

Jyn and Willix on Yavin
Jyn and Willix at the Rebel base on Yavin. Lucasfilm Ltd.

Looks like the Rebels are mustering for a fight.

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A gronk droid is visible among the Rebels. Lucasfilm Ltd.

Your eyes are not deceiving you. That's a gronk droid on the right side of the image.

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The big bad

Ben Mendelsohn in 'Rogue One'
Ben Mendelsohn as an Imperial Admiral in 'Rogue One'. Lucasfilm Ltd.

We've known for a while that Ben Mendelsohn was cast as the villian, and here's your first look at him. He's clearly a high-ranking Imperial officer, probably an Admiral or higher. And you gotta love those A New Hope-era computer visuals behind him.

What jumps out at you is that his uniform is white. Imperial officers have always been dressed in black or gray in the past. And this guy has a big, flowing cape that makes him look especially important. What's different about Mendelsohn's officer that allows him to sport such a unique look?

Look closely and you can see a blaster in his hand. Is someone about to be executed?

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Troopers move in

Stormtroopers aboard a hovering tank
Stormtroopers aboard a hovering tank in 'Rogue One'. Lucasfilm Ltd.

That tank the Stormtroopers are escorting is not rolling. It's hovering.

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Who is this?

Forrest Whitaker in 'Rogue One'
Forrest Whitaker in 'Rogue One'. Lucasfilm Ltd.

Forrest Whitaker's character is introduced here, where he offers a dire warning about going up against the Empire. Who is this guy? A Rebel soldier? Bounty Hunter? Ex-Imperial in hiding?

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Introducing the Death Squad

Death Squad troopers
Death Squad troopers in 'Rogue One'. Lucasfilm Ltd.

These guys clad all in black, according to prevailing rumors, are called Death Squad Stormtroopers. They look like elite commando types.

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Rebel Pilots are captured
Rebel Pilots captured by the Empire in 'Rogue One'. Lucasfilm Ltd.

A group of Rebel pilots are captured, probably after their X-Wings have been shot down, as seen in a later shot.

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Run for it

Jyn, Willix, and the Enforcer Droid run for it
Jyn, Willix, and the Enforcer Droid run for it. Lucasfilm Ltd.

Here's a better (but still blurry) look at that droid character. This is reportedly a motion-capture performance by Alan Tudyk, as an Imperial Enforcer Droid that's been repurposed to work with the Rebels. The droid's name is unknown, but he's expected to be a breakout character.

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More running

Stormtroopers mobilize
Stormtroopers mobilize into action. Lucasfilm Ltd.

Is this inside the Death Star? Sure looks like it.

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Enter the master

Donnie Yen in 'Rogue One'
Donniee Yen in 'Rogue One'. Lucasfilm Ltd.

Here's a first look at Hong Kong legend Donnie Yen as some kind of martial arts master, who manages to take down a squadron of armed Stormtroopers with just a staff. Rumor has it his character may be blind.

Look closely at the background. What planet is this? The structures look very Tatooine in appearance, and there's sand on the ground. But this is a much bigger city than anything we've seen on Tatooine before, leading me to wonder if this isn't a new planet altogether.

There's a crashed black X-Wing in the background, too.

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Going down

Donnie Yen's character fights Stormtroopers
Donnie Yen's character fights Stormtroopers. Lucasfilm Ltd.

Donnie Yen's character is getting it done.

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He's the man

The Stormtrooper goes down. Lucasfilm Ltd.

It's pretty darn cool to see a character going all Kung Fu in a Star Wars movie.

Despite appearances, the Stormtrooper is not dabbing.

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More of these guys

Death Squad troopers
Death Squad troopers. Lucasfilm Ltd.

Another look at the Death Squad troopers.

We've moved to a tropical setting now. You can see palm trees in the background. Is this the same planet where Donnie Yen's character is?

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Ship go boom

A massive Imperial ship
A massive Imperial ship goes up in flames. Lucasfilm Ltd.

This resembles an Imperial transport ship, but it's much bigger than any we've seen before.

Definitely getting a Vietnam-like "tropical beach warfare" vibe.

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Big explosion

A Rebel trooper
A Rebel trooper weathers an explosion. Lucasfilm Ltd.

No idea who this Rebel soldier is, but he's not in a good place.

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Hope the Empire has a dry-cleaner

Ben Mendelsohn's villain
Ben Mendelsohn's villain surveys a battlefield. Lucasfilm Ltd.

Ben Mendelsohn's baddie surveys what looks like the aftermath of the beach battle. And it is indeed a beach or at least a lake, as evidenced by the shoreline the villain walks across here.

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Wait, what??

A dark, cloaked Imperial
A dark, cloaked Imperial figure. Lucasfilm Ltd.

Now here's a money shot for you. This visual is so different, it could be from a completely different movie. Obviously we're looking at some kind of chamber within an Imperial structure.

The cloaked figure could be Mendelsohn's bad guy, but his robes are white, so I doubt it. The robe's draping doesn't match Darth Vader's, either. So who is this? And perhaps more importantly, what's that column of light he's walking towards? Is it a power source? A bacta tank? A cloning chamber?

Those red uniforms are worn only by the Emperor's Royal Guards. Might we get a cameo from Palpatine in Rogue One?

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Cool suit

Forrest Whitaker
Forrest Whitaker in 'Rogue One'. Lucasfilm Ltd.

Check out the wicked-looking suit Forrest Whitaker's character wears.

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More sparks, different guy

Jian Wen in 'Rogue One'
Jian Wen's character fights for the Rebels. Lucasfilm Ltd.

That's actor Jian Wen as an unknown Rebel fighter.

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Oh, snap

Jyn and Willix in battle
Jyn and Willix are greeted by AT-ATs in battle. Lucasfilm Ltd.

Holy crap, look at the size of those AT-ATs! The Rebels are in so much trouble...

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Get to cover!

AT-ATs fire on the Rebels
AT-ATs fire on the Rebels. Lucasfilm Ltd.

Jyn, Willix, and their team appear to be surrounded by AT-ATs on the same beach as the previous shots. Is this fight from the film's climax?

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Enormous AT-ATs fire
Enormous AT-ATs fire on the Rebels. Lucasfilm Ltd.

That AT-AT is shooting in two different directions at once. Sweet!

Wonder what that big satellite dish is?

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Jyn goes undercover

Jyn Erso in disguise
Jyn Erso in disguise. Lucasfilm Ltd.

This moment was edited in the trailer to strike an ominous tone, as if Jyn has switched sides to the Empire. But I think it's more likely from a moment where she's in disguise to infiltrate the Death Star or maybe a Star Destroyer. Very cool retro-style shot, though.

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A Star Wars Story

'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story'
'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story'. Lucasfilm Ltd.

That subtitle feels cumbersome, but the title treatment is neat-o.

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In case you forgot....

Coming December 2016. Lucasfilm Ltd.

Rogue One will be in theaters on December 16, 2016.