The New Rogue One Trailer Shows Us the New… And the Old

The new trailer for Rogue One has the distinction of explaining the film’s title (unsurprisingly it’s a callsign), and it also reveals something of the film’s plot. The character played by Felicity Jones, named Jyn Erso, is actually the daughter of the man who designed the Death Star, played here by Mads Mikkelsen. She is chosen to lead the mission to gather intelligence on the Empire’s ultimate weapon, in part, because of this link. A team is assembled, and the raid is carried out. Part of the challenge of this film is we all know how it ends: they get the plans to the rebels. What casualties are incurred in the process are really the only dramatic stakes, and those depend upon the film’s ability to get us to care about these characters in two hours. It doesn’t have the advantage that other Star Wars films might, with back-loaded characters who we know and love, as was the case with The Force Awakens. Therefore it seems the worst case scenario for Rogue One is that it tells an entertaining little side story but ultimately doesn’t amount to much. We shall see on December 16 for ourselves.

One potential issue here is that, once again, the film revolves around a strained relationship with a father, and fathers switching sides. This deliberate recycling of old ideas from the Star Wars universe is getting tiring. The Force Awakens did as well as it could, but they really have to come up with a more original story for Episode VIII. And with Rogue One, here we are again with “daddy issues”, just like in every Star Wars movie except the prequels. (There, the psychological issues were around mothers, but the themes were played so clumsily with all the pointless plots that it’s difficult to compare.) Without doubt, there will be a contingent of fans who want the Star Wars films to keep doing the same as always, and repeat themes, and they’ll be happy with whatever Lucasfilm gives them with this new post-Lucas aesthetic. The numbers are uncertain, but one suspects that there’s a vast legion of other film viewers out there who would love Star Wars to take narrative risks and go to places it hasn’t been before. That would feel bold and daring, although at the risk of alienating the fans that just want the same thing over and over. It’s a delicate balance to reach, and it appears (at least from the trailer) that people at Lucasfilm are still trying to figure it out.

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Independent scholar Ian Dawe has been writing for Sequart since November 2013. Before that, he had a mixed background, initially in science (Molecular Biology and Biochemistry), where he earned an MSc from Simon Fraser University and then an MA in Film from the University of Exeter in the UK. He spent a decade teaching at the college level, delivering courses in Genetics, Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Biological Anthropology and Film History. His academic work includes peer-reviewed papers on the work of Alan Moore, Harvey Pekar for Studies in Comics and a dissertation on Terry Gilliam for the University of Exeter. He has presented papers at several major academic conferences including Slayage 2014, Magus: Transdisciplinary Approaches to the Work of Alan Moore in 2010 (in the wizard's hometown of Northampton), Comics Rock and the International Conference of the Humanities in 2012, and at the Southwest Popular Culture Association Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2014 and 2015. He has contributed to several books, including a chapter about the TV show Archer in "James Bond and Popular Culture" and two chapters on Breaking Bad for "Breaking Bad and Masculinity", both now available from McFarland. At Sequart, he has authored a chapter for New Life and New Civiliations: Exploring Star Trek Comics, A Long Time Ago and two more upcoming books on Star Wars comics. He has also contributed to books on Alan Moore and 1970s Horror Comics. He is currently planning a full-length book on Better Call Saul. Ian currently lives in Vancouver, BC.

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Also by Ian Dawe:

The Cyberpunk Nexus: Exploring the Blade Runner Universe


A More Civilized Age: Exploring the Star Wars Expanded Universe


A Galaxy Far, Far Away: Exploring Star Wars Comics


A Long Time Ago: Exploring the Star Wars Cinematic Universe


New Life and New Civilizations: Exploring Star Trek Comics



  1. I am really excited for this movie and I want it to succeed… I don’t expect to be disappointed next December. But I really loved this trailer, and it gives me enough hope.

  2. Ian Dawe says:

    Sure, I’m excited about it, too, and I’ll be first in line to see it for sure. Of course. I’m a fan like everyone else. But this is the last time I’m going to be uncritical – we’re going to get a lot of these films in the next few years and it’s important to hold them to a high standard. Star Wars deserves it.

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