Fans at Star Wars Celebration at Anaheim in California got another new surprise to follow the amazing Force Awakens Teaser Trailer No:2…and that was a glimpse of Gareth Edwards’ Rogue One and the first description of the plot. Star Wars: Rogue One follows a rogue band of resistance fighters who must unite to steal the Death Star plans. Concept art was then revealed to show a Band of Rebel Brothers heading into a rain drenched battle, backed up by a new X-Wing style troop drop ship
The uniqueness of this film is that the Jedis are all but extinct, the Old Republic is in turmoil and the threat of the Death Star is looming in Rogue One. Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy and Kiri Hart also announced the formal name for the new stand-alone films: they will be called “anthology films.”
Edwards was asked if he’d brought anything to show the fans “There might be something.” he replied, then the lights then went down, and the Rogue One Teaser Trailer was unleashed.
“For more than 1,000 generations, the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic. Before the dark times. Before the Empire,”
This was the brilliant and almost foreboding voice over by Obi Wan Kenobi (Sir Alec Guinness) taken from Star Wars A New Hope introduces the scene camera moves slowly over an almost Avatar style forest, which then tracks a Tie Fighter heading to a mountain ridge very reminiscent to the Kalalea Mountain, near Anahola on Kaua’i which are in the opening title sequence to Raider of the Lost Ark and could be nod to Kathleen Kennedy who worked on it. The camera then pans past the trees to reveal the ghostly Death Star hovering in the clouds right up close to the planet. Frantic mens’ voices crack over a radio as the title card reveals Star Wars: Rogue One with the word “Anthology” in small letters beneath.
Edwards then talked about the characters, especially Felicity Jones, who recently garnered an Oscar nomination for her role in The Theory of Everything, saying she will not be just be a stoic soldier, but a complex, fully rounded human. “We wanted to see fear, warmth, all of those aspects that everybody has,” he said, saying he was excited that Jones embodies “the complete package”.
In the world of Rogue One, Edwards said the “absence of Jedi is omnipresent”. The characters in the film realise that the “gods are not coming to save us”, he said. “It comes down to a group of people who don’t have magical powers who band together to bring hope to the galaxy.”
Transcript from the Star Wars Celebration
Conversation with Gareth Edwards
And we’re off — host Pablo Hidalgo is on stage! Unfortunately, Josh Trank is under the weather, and won’t be joining. But Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and the Story Group’s Kiri Hart are here!
There has been a lot of speculation on the stand-alone films, Pablo points out. Now, we can clarify some things.
Kennedy says that Lucas “Was really interested in exploring all the stories that existed inside the universe.”
Hart: “We’re extremely excited about these…we’re going to be calling them Anthology films.”
“I think this as opportunity for us to tap into emergent directing talent out there and do some things that are unexpected.”
“There are very few filmmakers that we bring into the room that don’t tell us [how Star Wars influenced them].”
And now Gareth Edwards joins the panel!
He says that when the Force Awakens teaser started, he could “feel the tears…I was like, don’t cry…as soon as Han turned up, this tear just went down.”
Does Gareth have any footage to wow us…?
“It’s not like the more you scream, the more footage gets generated,” he jokes. They have not actually started filming yet — still in preproduction.
“You came here with nothing?” Pablo asks. “There might be something.” The lights go down.
Footage rolls…. A TIE fighter soars over a forest/jungle planet. An ominous space station-like image is seen in the clouds…
Huge ovation — let’s roll it one more time.
And your official description: A band of resistance fighters unite for a daring mission to steal the Death Star plans in the Star Wars Anthology film, Rogue One.
Edwards: It’s set after Episode III, before IV — and a little more towards IV.
What is the role of Jedi?
“It comes down to a group of individuals who don’t have magical powers that have to somehow bring hope to the galaxy.”
Hidalgo notes that the Anthology series lets them tell stories that may not involve Jedi.
What are they going for? Edwards: “Real…This is a real place that we’re really in…The thing that interests me about it, is Star Wars was basically very black and white. Our movie is gray.”
An image shows on screen of concept art — Rebel soldiers charging on the ground! Felicity Jones will play a Rebel soldier.
Edwards is discussing his crew — lots of notable names, including John Knoll of ILM, who came up with the story idea.
Knoll joins the panel!
“I started thinking about which story would I like to see told? I informally pitched it around…One of the people I pitched it to was Pablo, and he was pretty enthusiastic about it as well…I made an appointment with Kathy and Kiri, pitched the 20-minute version of this, and got a pretty good response.” A round of applause!
Kennedy says she was at the job for about 20 minutes when it was pitched. “There was no way I was going to say no. This was a really cool idea.”
Edwards says Knoll is “a genius.” When John was young, he and his brother wrote a piece of software — “called Photoshop.”
Edwards says he still bugs Knoll to add features.
Hart: “I love movies where people try to do something really difficult. I was just immediately excited about it.”
“I feel strongly that we should involve directors early in the process.” Many people, including Jason McGatlin, recommended Edwards. Kiri and the team watch Monsters “and were really impressed.”
She says that when they met, Gareth was humble and had lots of reverence for Star Wars. “I said I’m going to send you something.”
It was a note that Edwards was almost scared to read — a description of the movie. “I couldn’t sit in a cinema and know that someone else made this film.” He had to take it.
Edwards says it was painful to not be able to tell anyone he got the job — even at Christmas when he was getting Star Wars presents.
He FaceTimed with his mother when he was finally able to tell her — and took a photo.
How big a fan is he? For his 30th birthday, he visited the original Star Wars set in Tunisia, took blue dye so he could have blue milk in the Lars homestead. Big applause.
AND he took his own watching-the-Tatooine-sunset photo.
For Rogue One, they’ll be shooting in the UK and around the world.
And the video will play one more time! Big applause for the panel.
And here’s a look at the concept art as seen in the panel! Thanks for following along!