“It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire. During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet.”
These were the first words audiences saw in 1977 when they first saw Star Wars and they are the basis for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which is now imminently upon us. And even though the movie isn’t out yet, there is still a wealth of information available for those who want to know. Here’s our current intel.
We know our heroes are being led into the battle by Jyn Erso. She’s the daughter of the famous scientist Galen Erso and a rabble-rouser in her own right. The Rebel Alliance teams her with Captain Cassian Andor, an intelligence officer, and his reprogrammed Imperial security droid, K-2SO. Through the course of the mission, they’re able to add the sightless warrior monk Chirrut Îmwe, his heavy-weapon toting friend Baze Malbus, and the Imperial pilot turned Rebel, Bodhi Rook.
Other heroes featured include old favorites from previous installments of the Star Wars story, including the Imperial Senators turned leader of the Rebellion Mon Mothma and Bail Organa, and the Rebel freedom fighter from Onderon, Saw Gerrera. By the time of Rogue One, Saw is holed up on Jedha, leading a resistance to the Imperial occupation.
Our heroes will face off against the will of the ambitious, caped Orson Krennic, Director of Advanced Weapon Research for the Empire. He’s been working to make the Death Star a reality since before the end of the Clone Wars and is obsessed with making this dreaded super-weapon a reality. He’ll stop at nothing to ensure its completion, and that includes smashing our Rebels.
But he’s not the only one they need to worry about. The Dark Lord, Darth Vader, is there as well…
With new villains, also come new Imperial troops. Krennic commands a cadre of personal contingent of death troopers. They’re the elite soldiers used by Imperial Intelligence and serve as his personal bodyguard.
Our heroes will also have to deal with shoretroopers. These specialized Imperial commandoes patrol the shores and bunkers of the top-secret Imperial facility on Scarif.
Scarif itself is the center of the Imperial War machine, completely enveloped inside of a protective shield. If the Rebels were to penetrate it and infiltrate it any meaningful way, it would set back the Imperial effort significantly.
Jedha is another world we’ll see, a small desert moon covered in the frost of a permanent winter. As the site of a civilization that was one of the first to explore the nature of the Force, it’s a holy site for denizens across the galaxy seeking spirituality. As a place important to the Jedi, the former protectors of the galaxy, the Empire occupies it with its fist of oppression. There’s an entrenched rebellion there, led by Saw Gerrera.
With new worlds, we’ll also be getting new aliens like Moroff, the Gigoran mercenary, Bistan, an alien freedom fighter, Edrio Two Tubes and his eggmate Benthic, mercenaries working for Saw Gerrera, and Pao (above), who eventually joins the Rogue One team to steal the Death Star plans.
And what would a new Star Wars film be without an array of vehicles? Aside from the Death Star, which has not yet been completed by this point in the timeline, we’re getting all kinds of new vehicles.
The Empire will be boasting everything from new AT-ACT walkers (All Terrain-Armored Cargo Transport), which carry building materials and munitions, to the new TIE striker, a streamlined TIE variant designed for in-atmosphere patrol.
Director Krennic also has his own Imperial shuttle, an imposing sight as it cuts across a skyline.
“The Rebels are too well-equipped. They’re more dangerous than you realize.” – General Tagge
The Rebels aren’t left without their own new ships either, we’ll be seeing the new U-wing, a heavily armored fighter designed to blast through enemy lines and deposit troops into heavy fire zones.
There’s a lot more to learn about the new film from Catalyst: A Rogue One Story, written by James Luceno. The book gives a deep look at the relationship between Jyn’s father, Galen Erso, and the Director Orson Krennic. Set shortly after the onset of the Clone Wars and carrying on through to well beyond the events of Revenge of the Sith, it shows the struggles in developing the Death Star and its super-weapon. It delves into the nature of Kyber crystals, and how the Jedi crystals might play a significant part in the development of the green laser that ultimately destroys Alderaan.
If nothing else, the book adds new shades of meaning and heartbreak to the moment in the trailer where Galen Erso is discovered by Orson Krennic on the distant planet he ran to. Watching the trailer (and soon the film) right after reading the book adds so much context that you won’t want to miss it.
We know how the story ends. We know the Rebels get the plans and Luke Skywalker is able to overcome the odds to destroy the super-structure. But now we’ll know the story of bravery and sacrifice of those who gave everything to make sure the Rebels had the best shot possible to end the tyranny of the reign of Emperor Palpatine.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story arrives December 16, 2016. Visit the official Rogue One: A Star Wars Story movie site for tickets, trailers, and more Rebel intel.