It seems that Disney was saving the best for last in terms of promotional footage for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, as finally, we have a trailer that means business. The first of the planned ‘anthology’ films was always going to have an uphill struggle, after the phenomenal success of J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which was released a year ago. The trailers for that series reboot had fans weeping and cheering in equal measure – something that the teasers for Rogue One had largely been unable to capture. It’s all about tapping into the nostalgia, you see, which is hard to do without so many familiar faces.
At last, however, the Disney marketing behemoth has hit us in the feels like an Imperial blaster using beloved, rousing musical tones, and a clear and concise view of a very simple story: the Empire is building a Death Star, and some heroes are going to steal the plans. Previous trailers have spent time delivering sweeping vistas, some impressive explosions, and the back story to new characters. That is all well and good, but this final snippet is much more impressive as a trailer.
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The heart of Star Wars has always been about good versus evil – the darkness and the light – and that is what draws people to both the franchise, and the movie theatres. When Rogue One was announced, we were promised a film that would put the ‘war’ in ‘Star Wars’, and this trailer is the one that truly reflects that. But, it’s not just the music that generates the goosebumps here – it’s the sight of Darth Vader in sinister profile; it’s the comforting camaraderie between the Rebels; it’s the familiar sight of the stars blurring as a Rebel ship hits light-speed; and it’s the shot of the female lead, heading into battle, saying those immortal words: “May the force be with us.”
It’s not without its problems. While it is a deeply welcome sight to see a trailer that is not exclusively filled with white people, it is conspicuous that – with the exception of the character of Mon Mothma – the female lead is the only woman. A quick glance at the cast list for the film seems to confirm the unfortunate fact that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story does indeed suffer the same extreme case of female tokenism as has always plagued the franchise. That’s white women, by the way, because there appear to be no women of colour in anything other than ‘bit parts’ in this movie – and there are certainly no women of colour to be seen in this final trailer.
So, with a matter of weeks until Rogue One: A Star Wars Story introduces us to a whole new realm of Star Wars anthology tales, it transpires that this is much closer to being the trailer we were looking for – casting problems notwithstanding. At a time when, in reality, the world feels like it is spinning out of control, this band of determined Rebels look set to bring us the hope we need – and they are due to arrive in theatres on December 16th, 2016.