Guess who shows up in the new “Rogue One” trailer?

Oh, yes. That guy.

Darth Vader makes a split-second cameo at the tail end of the two-minute “Rogue One” clip, which premiered during Thursday night’s Olympic Games.

The trailer, the second in what is sure to be a series prior to the film’s December opening date, gives us all sorts of new glimpses into the Star Wars flick. (We discussed the first one here.)

Directed by Gareth Edwards (“Godzilla”) and written by Chris Weitz with story credits going to John Knoll and Gary Whitta (and a probable assist by Tony Gilroy), “Rogue One” is reportedly the story of how the Rebels got the plans for the Death Star.

A few notes on what is new in this thing. Nerd level of the following? Red/Severe:

— We hear a bit more from Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker, who will one day again play a role where he doesn’t look like he was run over by a bus), and we see a Star Destroyer hovering (well, it’s more of a loom, really) over some sort of temple-looking structure. Have we ever seen a Star Destroyer in atmosphere? I can’t think of a time, which is another example of giving viewers something they have not seen before in the Star Wars universe (at least not in the movies), which seems to be both a goal of this film and the opposite of “The Force Awakens,” which very consciously repeated beats from the Original Trilogy.

— A brief shot of the U-Wing ship. I am pulling for these movies to go on so long that they use every letter of the alphabet.

— We hear more from Captain Cassian Andor  (Diego Luna). Gee, he’s dreamy.

— And then there’s our first look at Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen), shooting at Imperial troops, and another scene of Chirrut Imwe (the almighty Donnie Yen), the latter yakking about the Force and dispatching Imperial troops — not with a lightsaber but with a staff. Is he a Jedi or are there Force-users who are not Jedi but a different strain of warrior-priest/monk?

– And then there’s K-2SO, a droid played by Alan Tudyk (via motion-capture). He (It?) has Rebel markings but an Imperial demeanor — he notes that he will not kill Jyn (Felicity Jones) as the Captain has approved of her. The movies have always shown us friendly, if somewhat neurotic, Rebel droids (C-3PO) or mindless soldiers. (I have been reminded that IG-88 and 4-LOM were droids; my nerd card has also been suspended.)

This is the first time we’ve seen a droid that would kill you soon as look at you. If you want more of this sort of thing, I cannot recommend the Marvel series “Darth Vader” highly enough. The Imperial protocol droid called Triple-Zero is essentially Evil Threepio. Sample quote: “I’m 0-0-0 or Triple-Zero, if you prefer. I’m a protocol droid, specialized in etiquette, customs, translation and torture, ma’am.”

— There’s another shot of the Imperial executive known as Director Orson Krennic. He’s played by Ben Mendelsohn but is a dead ringer for Hugh Laurie. Can Laurie maybe play an Imperial dude in another movie? Grand Moff Hugh Laurie or something. Just think about it, Disney.

— The final shot of the Rebel crew serves as a sharp reminder than this is by far the most diverse cast a Star Wars movie has ever produced.

— And finally, there’s the back of Vader’s helmet and that familiar wheeze. He’s looking at a “New Hope”-era display, presumable of the Death Star, presumably of it clearing a planet and maybe blowing it up. We’ll see.

What did you think?


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