Rogue One: A Star Wars Story may be just a few weeks away from theaters, but very few people outside of the production have seen the film in its finished form despite its impending release. Earlier this week, however, a select group of journalists were treated to slightly less than a half hour of footage from the upcoming film, marking the largest preview release so far.
The screening was held on Friday at Skywalker Ranch, according to the Washington Post, and 28 minutes of footage from Rogue One were shown. Director Gareth Edwards was on hand to introduce the clips, joking that Disney and Lucasfilm had considered releasing a full half hour of the movie, but wanted to keep something in reserve.
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Though less than a quarter of Rogue One was revealed to the journalists on hand, they report that it wasn’t a consecutive 28 minutes of footage. Instead, the showing skipped around both the story and in time, revealing heroine Jyn Erso as both an adult and a child. Some of the footage showed her parents, Galen and Lyra, who are key to the Empire’s plans. As the Inquisitr recently noted, this fact was revealed in last month’s Rogue One prequel novel, Catalyst. The book laid out the pre-existing relationships between the Ersos and Imperial Director Krennic, played in the film by Ben Mendelsohn, while also establishing that Galen’s work is central to the creation of the Death Star.
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Much of what was shown to reporters depicted a galaxy familiar from 1977’s A New Hope, populated by characters, props, and costumes meant to bridge the two films. Rogue One, which tells the story of the Rebels’ attempts to steal the Death Star plans, is set in the weeks and months directly before A New Hope. Unlike previous entries in the franchise, the world in which it takes place has already been directly established by the first Star Wars film, leaving the production team with a largely unprecedented need to directly connect the two stories.
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Characters from both the prequel movies and the original Star Wars trilogy are set to appear in the film, with some more of an open secret than others. The presence of Darth Vader in Rogue One has long been rumored, before it was confirmed earlier this year by the film’s second trailer. Jimmy Smits will reprise his role as Princess Leia’s adoptive father Bail Organa, meanwhile, while Genevieve O’Reilly appears as Alliance leader Mon Mothma.
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Rogue One also introduces a number of new characters and settings, including Diego Luna’s Cassian Andor and his droid, K-2SO, portrayed by Firefly veteran Alan Tudyk. Forest Whitaker also appears in the film as Saw Gerrera, a character originally introduced in the animated Clone Wars, as USA Today notes. Donnie Yen, meanwhile, takes on the role of Chirrut Imwe, a blind devotee of the Force. Where setting is concerned, Rogue One will debut several environs that have heretofore been absent from Star Wars, including a central battle which takes place on a tropical beach, alongside action sequences that unfold in the crowded, claustrophobic streets of Jedha.
The first of a series of spin-offs, Rogue One is a departure for the franchise, taking place outside of, yet complementing, the core saga which follows the Skywalker family. That story will be continued in Episode VIII next year, while other spin-offs, including an already confirmed young Han Solo film, will follow Rogue One between now and 2020.
[Featured Image by Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images for Walt Disney Studios]