Category Archives: Star Wars stuff

Rogue One Trailer: The Frame-by-Frame Lowdown

There was a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of geeks cried out in awe, and were suddenly silenced.

The Rogue One trailer must have happened.

This is it. After months of endless speculation, the salivating masses of Star Wars fans finally got their first fill of Rogue One. And it’s beyond everything we ever hoped, and more.

Let’s take a look.

The opening shot shows Felicity Jones’ character Jyn Erson being led down a familiar ancient temple / hangar.

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As her list of crimes are read out, everything from forging Imperial documents to aggravated assault and resisting arrest, we see the group grilling her:

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Yes, that’s THE 1977 Mon Mothma, in the operations rooms of  Yavin IV!

Mon Mothma says Jyn is aggressive, reckless, and undisciplined, to which she replies, “This is a rebellion isn’t it? I rebel.” And the next shots show exactly that.

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After a montage of rebelling and kicking hapless stormtrooper ass, the sirens blare. We get our first look at Ben Mendelsohn’s villain.

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Is he a Grand Admiral? An ISB bigwig? The white opposite of Lando Calrissian? Who cares, that immaculate cape, chilling stare and mindblowing background  all combine to say “I have manners, impeccable taste, and a penchant for blowing up entire planets.”

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Next we see the height of the Empire, with stormtroopers strutting, citizens cowering and a new Hasbro toy lumbering down the streets.

But not everyone bows down. Here we see Jyn and a fellow saboteur running from something, along with the stripped down droid from earlier in the trailer:

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Why are they running? Because stormtroopers. And tan troopers.

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And don’t forget the famous Shadow Trooper, finally seen in action. (Side note: maybe black armor isn’t the best when fighting in jungle terrain).

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Our heroes fight back, blowing up a landing barge that looks closer to Kylo Ren’s shuttle than a Sentinel-class craft:

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In the aftermath, we see Mr. Immaculate Cloak striding down the body-strewn battlefield. While Tarkin and his ilk lead from the polished floors of the Death Star, this is one admiral who isn’t afraid to go down in the trenches and get dirty.

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But the carnage wasn’t limited to stormtroopers. As Jyn and her misfits rush through the tropics, they come face to face with the Empire’s towering monstrosities. We finally get to see the famous walking artillery in a landscape other than Hoth! (And with a shitty tan camouflage at that. Did the Empire really think they will blend in with those trees?)

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As Forest Whitaker asks, “If you continue to fight, what will you become?”, we see a final shot of Jyn disguised as either a TIE pilot, Death Star gunner, technician, or random guy who cleaned the detention-level toilets.

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A lot is riding on Rogue One. A billion dollars worth, to be exact. As the first Star Wars film to venture outside the main story arcs and John Williams, it will be the benchmark to see if further Star Wars stories can be spun independent of the trilogies.

But judging by this trailer alone, it looks like the dark lords of Disney already have a winner on their hands. This film is even more Star Wars than the The Force Awakens. Take a look at the many homages and incredible attention to detail packed in that one and a half-minute trailer.

For instance, that famous shadowtrooper mug has its roots in the EU’s dark trooper and Ralph McQuarrie’s original concepts:

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They even got the Star Destroyer right. The Imperator Mk 1-class in the opening scene of A New Hope was slightly different from its later sister ships in ESB and Return of the Jedi:

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And finally, take a look at the Yavin scene. Not even 20 seconds into the trailer, we’re already treated to several cameos: the bushy bearded General Dodonna, complete with the iconic Rebel roulette table that doubles as a countdown timer! Seeing this scene alone, approximately 500 geeks fainted.

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Despite being billed as a different, grittier version of Star Wars outside of the main stories, Rogue One may end up as being the most Star War-sy film outside of A New Hope. 

And that’s a good thing.

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The Saddest Thing about The Force Awakens

Back in the olden days of Return of the Jedi, we were treated to a happy ending.

The second Death Star was destroyed, along with Vader and old man Palpatine. All over the galaxy, repressed citizens crowded the streets in jubilation. The last shot of the original trilogy had the heroes of the Rebellion celebrating while the force ghosts of Ben, Yoda and Hayden Christensen looked on.

Against all odds, the ragtag alliance won the war and ushered in the fall of the Galactic Empire.

returnofthejedix05The last time they will ever be happy together

After all they’ve been through, our heroes earned a well-deserved break, right? The old Expanded Universe thought so.

Luke started a new Jedi Academy, while Han and Leia settled down and pumped out Jedi babies. They had 3 kids, and Luke and his wife Mara Jade had one. Leia later became the New Republic head of state, and Han settled down to a comfortable life while occasionally going on adventures with Chewie and Lando.

With the release of The Force Awakens, the overlords of Disney wiped away all of that.

Instead, thirty years after the fall of the Empire, our heroes were actually worse off than before. Let’s take a look:

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Luke – Tried to start a new Jedi school, but ended up with a wholesale slaughter of his entire student body.

He failed so massively that he fled from the rest of the galaxy. He abandoned even his own sister, best friend, and his loyal droid. And as the opening crawl says, it was in Luke’s absence that the First Order grew stronger and spread tyranny across more worlds.

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Leia – Once a distinguished Senator, respected warrior, and royalty, she faded into political obscurity. In fact, she was considered a liability by the new government. According to the novelization,

Leia bit down on her lower lip. “So much time has passed. There was a time when they were at least willing to listen. And of course, the Senate’s makeup has changed. Some of those who were always willing to pay attention to me have retired. Some of those who have replaced them have their own agendas.” She smiled ruefully.

There’s even a scene where Leia straight up tells her envoy that if she went personally, something bad might happen to her:

“But why don’t you go yourself, General? An appeal of this nature is always more effective when delivered firsthand.” Leia’s smile thinned. “I might make it to the Senate, yes. I might even be able to deliver my speech. But I would never, never get out of the Hosnian system alive. I would have a terrible ‘accident,’ or become the victim of some ‘deranged’ radical. Or I would eat something that didn’t agree with me. Or encounter someone who didn’t agree with me.”

In short, Leia was coldbloodedly telling someone else to take the risks for her, and being frank about it. Now we know where Kylo Ren got his evil from.

In the end, we have Leia carrying on her lonely fight for freedom, after being abandoned by her husband, son, brother and the galaxy at large.

And what about poor Han Solo? He won the princess, saved the galaxy, and got his precious ship back from a suicide mission.

Thirty years later, he was estranged from his wife, disavowed by his son, lost the Falcon, and went back to his old conman-smuggler routine.

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And after managing to survive a hand-to-mouth existence, he gets stabbed in the heart with a ragged lightsaber by his own offspring.

Then there’s our beloved droids: C3PO and R2-D2. As usual, nobody listens to Threepio, and nobody even gives a fuck to paint his replacement arm. Meanwhile, Artoo becomes a hermit just like his master — shoved under a dusty tarp in a forgotten corner, he is absent for most of the movie in favor of BB-8.

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And in case you’re wondering about Lando, there’s no mention of him at all. It’s like the Hero of Tanaab and the Guy who Blew Up Death Star II didn’t exist. Maybe he died during a stimspice-and-hooker collision with a star cruiser. Or he got shanked in a dingy casino in Nar Shadaa. That would be the best outcome, so he wouldn’t see how low his friends have sunk.

And you know what? This may actually be better. It means that there is no fairy tale ending, and not everything has to end happily ever after. That is the cold, hard reality not just in the Star Wars universe, but our own. 

Quite a lesson for kids, right?

You might argue that even the old EU had its tragic moments. One of the Solo brats goes dark, the galaxy gets invaded, and Chewie dies. And yet, at the very least our heroes never got sidelined. Luke was still Jedi Master, Leia stayed in the political limelight, and Han was a respected General. And most importantly, they never abandoned each other.

With The Force Awakens, we have a virtual Shakespeare tragedy: an emo recluse who gave up on the galaxy, a faded princess abandoned by her whole family, and an aging con-man back to his old tricks. Each one of them going on their own separate path.

I really hope Lando wasn’t around to see any of that.

starwarsep6_ending“Look at them clueless fools. They have no idea what’s going to happen them.”


Hungry for more Star Wars stuff? Check out the story of stormtrooper FU-1287, and his experience in the raid on Jakku!

What Most Sites Missed About Rogue One

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story isn’t due in theaters for 9 months, and yet the interwebs are more full of speculations than a Star Destroyer packed with bored stormtroopers.

In fact, the most thoroughly examined piece of Rogue One is this publicity photo released last month:

Slobbering SW fans have been speculating on anything they can get their grubby hands on, from the giant podracer-style engine in the back to R2-D2’s supposed dome head captured somewhere in the background.

But while most sites have gone over the photo with a microscopic lens, a lot of them seem to have missed something right under their collective noses: the clothes.

Specifically, these ones:

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Do you see it yet? Here, let me jog your memory:

  • That first guy is wearing cold-weather gear. The heavy fabric, thick sleeves, gloves and more importantly the fur-lined parka should look veeerrry familiar if you’ve seen The Empire Strikes Back:

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  • And what about those two (expendable) rebels on either side? Take a look at their hats and goggles:

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Mmmmm, toasty, wouldn’t you say? Maybe not for the frozen hellscape of Hoth, but just about right for a frigid planet.

All of these fits in with the spoiler unintentionally leaked by a cast member’s wife. Cissy Wang, wife of actor Donnie Yen (that guy with the Tusken stick on the right) posted this on Instagram:

Cold weather clothing, plus the iconic T-47 snowspeeders? Remember, the flying door wedges were regular airspeeders modified by the Alliance for cold climates like Hoth.

Finally, there’s the leak from the clip preview to Disney shareholders:

an image showed two AT-ATs that had a slightly different look with the door panel on the side of the body painted a lighter beige color.

Tie it all together and you have the classic showdown of Rebel troops and snowspeeders versus the Empire’s lumbering behemoths. Definitely not on Hoth, but another chilly planet.

Does this seem like a rehash of ESB, in the same way that Force Awakens liberally borrowed from A New Hope? Let’s hope not. If it is, at least they might throw in Darth Vader wreaking havoc on the field, ala Battlefront.