The hybrid fan ritual/corporate marketing seminar known as Celebration continues to dribble out tidbits of juicy Star Wars information, including a panel on Sunday focused on Godzilla director Gareth Edwards and his upcoming standalone movie, now with the official title Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One. (Chronicle director Josh Trank, who’s been set to direct a second standalone Star Wars film, was also scheduled, but didn’t appear.) The panel, which included producer Kathleen Kennedy and Industrial Light And Magic’s John Knoll, revealed both the movie’s basic plot, and, more importantly for Star Wars fans fatally addicted to continuity and crossovers, how it might interact with other entries in the franchise.
Rogue One’s story will center on the era between Episode III and Episode IV, after the purge of the Jedi by Emperor Palpatine and his henchman, Sad Black Plastic Frankenstein. The absence of the Jedi leaves a crew of non-powered rebellious individuals, including The Theory Of Everything star Felicity Jones, to take up the cause and steal the plans for the Empire’s soon-to-be-deployed super weapon, the Death Star. Of course, as fans of the series will know, many Bothans died to bring the Rebel Alliance said information, so Rogue One may be primed to seize the coveted Guinness World Record for “Onscreen Bothan Deaths,” currently held jointly at zero by all existing films.
The movie’s time period, in between the prequel trilogy and the original one, is also the setting of the Disney Channel animated series Rebels, which had its own big push at Celebration with the reveal of the trailer for its upcoming second season. According to coverage of the panel, the two series will be “able to nod to each other,” although it’s not clear if that means viewers will see animated versions of the Rogue One characters on the show, or if the creators will restrain themselves to only showing the two cast’s spaceships flying past each other.
The panel also included teaser footage for Rogue One, which has yet to get an official release. But obviously, because it’s a trailer, and it’s 2015, and nothing is sacred, here’s a grainy phone recording of the footage:
Since even now black, spherical copyright droids are swarming toward the uploader to get that footage yanked, here’s a brief description of the video: First, the film’s release date, September 2016, is revealed. Then, the viewer sees a slow pan over a forested planet, as Alec Guiness’ monologue about the role of the Jedi Knights as “guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic” plays. As Guinness reaches the part about how that was all, “Before the dark times. Before the Empire,” the camera pans up to show the planet’s sky, revealing the massive bulk of the Death Star looming over it, looking for all the world like a giant, deadly moon. (For those of you who have not seen the original Star Wars: It is not a moon! It is a Death Star.)