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?

Star Wars marathon sure to be a force at the Long Center

Star-Wars-Long-Center-NEW-640x420The Star Wars – The Original Trilogy marathon Aug. 13 at Dell Hall, presented by Alamo Drafthouse and the Long Center, is pretty cool: the 1997 special edition versions of “Star Wars: A New Hope,” “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi,” back to back. It will take about nine hours. Many people will be dressed up. A $15 box lunch is also available (that you can eat in the theater).

Real talk: It would be amazing if these movies were the “original unaltered trilogy,” as they have come to be known. (You know, the movies that will set you back $170 on DVD, if you can find them at all.) People would storm the gates of the Long Center. A holiday would be declared.

But, no, it’s the Greedo Shot First versions.

Which, at this point, probably only rankles those of us who remember, say, the Reagan administration firsthand. In fairness, it has been nearly 20 years since even the modified versions were shown in theaters. And there is at least a whole new generation of fans who were not yet born when Han shot first, so this event will probably dazzle them, if also put their rear ends to sleep.

I have spent a lot of time thinking about Star Wars on bahalf of the Statesman. There’s this story from 2002 — around the time all of us were figuring out just how grim the prequels were continuing to be — about the evolution of Star Wars fan culture and the extent to which fans kept Star Wars alive. Do I think fans can get a bit possessive about such things? Absolutely. But I can also understand why.

Here is my review of “The Force Awakens,” which I have seen a few times since. My thoughts on it are pretty much the same — it is exactly the movie the majority of Star Wars fans wanted to see.

Rogue_One,_A_Star_Wars_Story_posterTo be completely honest, the hunk of Star Wars media that made me pump my fist unabashedly was the trailer for “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”

From the jackets (Star Wars jackets are just the best sci-fi jackets) to Felicity Jones heading up a genuinely diverse cast to the awesomeness of the emergency klaxon, the trailer for this thing is note-perfect.

(And yes, this will be updated after  the new “Rogue One” trailer drops Thurday during the Olympics.)