The Rogue One trailer is loaded with hints. Watch it closely and you’ll get a good idea of what will happen in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Here are the most important moment from the trailer, and what they mean.
0:00: We open with the Imperial March, it’s dark tone foreboding of something ill to come.
0:07 “The world is coming undone.” Why the world? It’s Star Wars. Why not the “galaxy?” So is this going to be mostly set on one planet? Why would one world matter in a series of films that have always been about the galaxy? The look of shock on Jyn Erso’s face suggests she’s disturbed. Likely explanation: she is deeply connected to the world she’s in and the world itself will form her motivation.
0:18 “Can you be trusted without your shackles?” Shackles? And did he just undo e handcuffs? I know she’s going to steal the Deathstar plans so she must be a thief. And now she’s needed. So that’s makes her.
0:21: Jyn Erso clearly looks surprised when Mon Mothma says, “We’ve a mission for you.” So clearly she wasn’t expecting this opportunity. And, as the typical anti-hero story goes, she will use this mission to redeem herself from the wrongs she’s done, because usually that’s what anti-herd poes do.
0:27: “A major weapons test is imminent” so obviously that’s when Grand Moff Tarkin blows up Alderan. So by stealing the plans, Jyn Erso would prevent Alderan from being destroyed. That doesn’t happen, and the Death Star plans end up being retrieved by R2D2. So maybe Jyn Erso meets R2D2 and helps them get aboard Tantive IV.
But, we know that Jyn Erso is not aboard Tantive IV when it’s captured at the start of A New Hope. So, she possibly dies, which would completely follow the typical antihero formula, in which a character who is marred at the start accepts a mission, completes that mission and, in completing the mission, sacrifices themselves, completing their story from anti-hero to hero.
1:00: “The captain says you are a friend. I will not kill you.” This line says everything. For starters, major droids in Star Wars haven’t made threats before. Rogue One’s droid, from this line, sounds far more dangerous than any of the other major droids. But that’s not the main point to note. What’s more important is that this droid clearly doesn’t know Jyn Erso. She’s a stranger, which implies a world she doesn’t know, perhaps one she doesn’t belong in, which would perfectly fit into the traditional Young Adult / New Adult genres.
1:35: “This is our chance to make a real difference”. This line confirms that Rogue One will follow the traditional anti-hero narrative. Anti-heroes are always looking for some way to redeem themselves. This line spells that out loud and clear.
1:42: “Are you with me”. There’s a traditional moment in anti-hero stories where the protagonist has redeemed themselves and becomes a leader. This generally happens at the end of act II, before the final battle. This moment shows Jyn Erso becoming a leader. And if you look at her facial expression, she actually looks like she’s feeling vindicated.
1:55: Darth Vader looms ominously. And we have to imagine he kills Jyn Erso.
Trailer dissected, we now have a damn good idea what happens in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story:
Jyn Erso starts as a criminal. She is distrusted and possibly even in jail. But the Rebels need to steal the plans to The Death Star. They need their best thief. So they hire Jyn Erso to steal the Death Star plans. Jyn Erso sees this as a chance to redeem herself. She accept the mission and joins forces with the rebels. As they journey towards the Death Star, Jyn Erso gradually gains the respect of her team. They soon come to respect her as a leader. The team succeed. They steal the Death Star plans. Darth Vader attacks the team. Jyn Erso sacrifices herself, becoming a true hero, and by sacrificing herself she enables the team to get the Death Star plans into R2D2, bringing the film up to the moment when Tantive IV flees with the Death Star plans.