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The second Star Wars Anthology film ran into trouble recently when director Josh Trank stepped down from the project. Some reports say Trank was fired from the film after disagreements with the other key production crew members. In either case Lucasfilm are on the lookout for a replacement, and the latest rumors from Latino Review indicate that they may be looking to Avengers: Age of Ultron director Joss Whedon to fill that spot.
He has already expressed a desire to move on from the Marvel universe, after helming both Avengers movies and writing for Marvel's Agents of SHIELD television series, and perhaps Disney aren't ready to let him go just yet. Another possibility is the fabled Star Wars live-action television series which has been in development limbo for a decade but occasionally pops up in a rumor, and he is no stranger to science-fiction or fantasy on TV, having created cult classics Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, and Dollhouse.
No official source has yet commented on these rumors as usual, so little may come of them, but even the possibility of Joss Whedon joining Star Wars is sure to excite fans.
The official trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is here at last. Rogue One is the first of Disney and Lucasfilm's spin-off anthology films, and is directed by Gareth Edwards (Godzilla). The movie is set shortly before the events of the original 1977 movie, now titled Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. and features the rebel mission to retrieve the plans for the Empire's first Death Star.
Rogue One will be released on 16 December 2016.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the first of the Star Wars anthology films coming this December, but true to the form we saw with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, secrecy is rife and much is still unknown about the film. Here's a breakdown of the Rogue One teaser trailer that was released earlier this week with screen-grabs and commentary, and perhaps a little wishful thinking sprinkled in for good measure.
Rogue One has a strong female lead in Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), who is introduced to us as a renegade. She first appears to us in cuffs, a captive of the Rebel Alliance, and lead through a base that very clearly resembles the Alliance base on Yavin IV, last seen in the climax of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.
Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly, who also portrayed Mon Mothma in a Revenge of the Sith deleted scene) is seemingly trying to recruit Erso as an Alliance operative to join a ragtag band of misfits - a Rogue Squadron, one might say - as they take on a special mission to uncover the details of the Empire's latest weapon.
There's no tiptoeing around here: The Death Star is nearing completion, and we are shown part of the primary superlaser being lowered into place while a fleet of tiny one-mile-long Star Destroyers stand guard.
Erso's partner on this misision (played by Diego Luna) is currently an unknown character, but it looks like he already has a history with the Alliance, and carries with him a swagger reminiscent of The Force Awakens' Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac).
Ben Mendelsohn's character appears in a crisp white Imperial uniform. Little is known about this Imperial officer, but it has been speculated that he is part of the Imperial Security Bureau. In the now-defunct Expanded Universe, a uniform similar to this was worn by Imperial Grand Admirals, but this is unlikely to have been carried over to the new canon.
Forest Whitaker is allegedly portraying a bounty hunter, and again, not much is known about his character, but his voice-over for the remainder of the trailer is clearly warning somebody of the consequences of their actions.
A new type of black-armored stormtrooper is shown in an unknown location. There is a moisture vaporator in the background, but the landscape seems rocky and green rather than the sand dunes of Tatooine. It may be worth a mention that the video game Dark Forces, which featured a now non-canon version of the mission to retrieve the Death Star plans, featured Dark Troopers, black-armored droid stormtroopers.
Jyn Erso and her partner (oh, please let him be Kyle Katarn) run through an Imperial facility, accompanied by a droid rumored to be Alan Tudyk's character. We can't see at this point whether they are running from the masses of Imperial troops that seem to be following them, or whether they are all fleeing from something else.
Unsurprisingly, Donnie Yen's character is a melee fighter, who uses martial arts to defeat a large group of stormtroopers. If you've ever seen the Ip Man films then you probably already knew Yen's character was going to be a bad-ass, and smacking stormtroopers around without a lightsaber or a blaster certainly fits the bill.
A cloaked figure walks towards some sort of large misty glowing tube, and the red-robed Imperial Guards are a sure sign that Emperor Palpatine is nearby. The cloaked figure does not seem to be Palpatine himself and wears a hood unlike Darth Vader.
AT-ATs, also known as Imperial Walkers, make a welcome return to action as they fire at our heroes as the flee what looks like an Imperial bunker; probably the same one we saw rebels and Imperials alike racing through earlier in the trailer. The terrain appears to be somewhat tropical, and could be the same planet we saw the black stormtrooper on.
The trailer finishes with Jyn Erso in a TIE fighter pilot suit. Rogue One is shaping up to be an action-packed opening for the Star Wars spin-off films, although a couple of notable absences are Mads Mikkelsen's character, and the rumored appearances of Darth Vader and Grand Moff Tarkin. But this is just the first teaser trailer, and we are sure to find out more in the coming months.
Rogue One will be released on 16 December 2016.
Many have now seen Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and critcs have been leaving their verdicts on the first of the Star Wars spin-off movies.
Rotten Tomatoes currently tracks Rogue One at 85% after 241 critic reviews, with an audience score of 89% positive after 41,000 audience ratings.
Here's a round-up of the critics' comments below. While we have tried to avoid spoilers, be aware that some of the links may be riddled with them!
Rolling Stone called Rogue One amazing in their review, perfectly capturing the magic of the original Star Wars trilogy, with a combat-heavy finale that means Rogue One gets better as it goes along.
GQ's reviewers said that Rogue One was a solid start to a new vision for the Star Wars franchise, although it lacked the emotional depth of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
The Guardian scored Rogue One 4/5 in their fan-written review, saying that the film was "made for the fans" and had enough depth to be worth an extra viewing, but questioned whether it would resonate with the average viewer.
The Telegraph also scored Rogue One 4/5. They saw it as less nostalgic than The Force Awakens, but still fits neatly in to the Star Wars universe despite the darker tone of the story.
The New York Times was less positive about Rogue One, claiming that although all of the ingredients were there, they found clumsy plots and dialogue made for a mediocre movie.
Time also derided Rogue One for being almost pedantic in its inoffensiveness, with a colour palette resembling "intergalactic dishwater".
The Verge said that although Rogue One struggles early on it does grow into its own, and is more like a modern action film - for better or worse.
Entertainment Weekly called Rogue One an epic heist flick, with a third act being a white-knuckle ride as the movie kicks into hyperdrive. They graded the film a B+.
So it looks like the new Disney streaming service (creatively named Disney+) will be adding a second live-action Star Wars show to its lineup.
Joining the in-production The Mandalorian will be a series focusing on Rogue One's Cassian Andor. (So obviously this is a prequel).
Having sort of a SW spy thriller sounds like it could have good potential. Plus there is the possibility of more K-2/Alan Tudyk. So I'M IN.