‘Star Wars: Rogue One’ Plot to Focus on Death Star

'Star Wars: Rogue One' Plot Details:

The upcoming “Star Wars” standalone film, “Rogue One,” will follow a group trying to steal the Death Star plans, it was revealed at Sunday’s Star Wars Celebration, which also showed a special teaser for the upcoming spinoff.

“A band of resistance fighters unite for a daring mission to steal the Death Star plans in ‘Star Wars’ anthology film, Rogue One,” the official Star Wars account tweeted on Sunday.

Felicity Jones, who was previously confirmed to star in “Rogue One,” will play a rebel soldier. The film will take place between Episode III and Episode IV, but closer to “A New Hope.”

The news was revealed at a panel with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, Lucasfilm SVP of development Kiri Hart and “Rogue One” director Gareth Edwards. Josh Trank was scheduled to appear at the panel to discuss his own standalone film, but wasn’t on hand, with moderator Pablo Hidalgo saying he was “under the weather.”

The “Rogue One” teaser opened with a somewhat idyllic bird’s-eye view of a lush forest planet, showing a TIE fighter soaring above the trees before the camera pulled back to reveal the Death Star in close orbit. The teaser utilized one of Alec Guinness’ lines from “A New Hope” in voiceover, as Obi-Wan Kenobi explained, “For over a thousand generations the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic. Before the dark times. Before the Empire.”

The final moments of the teaser ended on a chilling note, as garbled distress messages from what sounded like soldiers or pilots crackled over a radio frequency, before the sound and title card fizzled out as if the signal had been abruptly cut off.

Since the film doesn’t begin shooting until this summer — where it will lense in the U.K. and other undisclosed locations around the world — the footage was wholly comprised of CGI wizardry from Industrial Light & Magic. Edwards also revealed a concept art image that showed a squad of soldiers on the muddy ground and in low-hovering crafts at night, faces covered and guns up as they ran towards an unseen threat in the rain.

(Image courtesy of StarWars.com)

Edwards emphasized that the film is first and foremost a war movie, “It’s called ‘Star Wars,'” he pointed out wryly. Below-the-line talent and production heads have previously worked on a number of combat films, with Edwards name-dropping “Zero Dark Thirty,” “Black Hawk Down” and “Saving Private Ryan” to give fans an idea of “Rogue One’s” inspirations.

Since “Rogue One” takes place in the aftermath of the destruction of the Jedi order, Edwards said, “The absence of the Jedi is omnipresent.” Instead of characters relying on the power of an unpredictable Force to save them, the film will center around “real,” grounded human issues. “It’s about the fact that God’s not coming to save us… we have to do this ourselves,” Edwards said. “It comes down to a group of individuals that don’t have magic powers… that have to bring hope to the galaxy.”

Edwards noted that what he loved about the original “Star Wars” trilogy was that it was a very “black and white” universe — with the lines between good guys and bad guys very clearly delineated. “Rogue One,” however, will focus on the shades of grey in the galaxy far, far away — the bad guys can be good and the good guys can be bad.

The film was described as an ensemble piece, despite Felicity Jones being the only announced cast member at this point. Edwards said he wasn’t interested in showing superhuman soldiers who are constantly strong and unfaltering throughout. “We wanted to see fear, humor, warmth,” he said, noting that Jones has embodied those qualities throughout her career.

Hart said the standalone movies are being called “anthology films” rather than spinoffs, and will delve into previously untapped corners of the established universe. “‘Star Wars,’ as much as it is a set of characters… is a a place that we can explore in terms of character, in terms of time frame… We really wanted freedom to do some films that would stand on their own — they can vary in scale, they can vary in genre, they can introduce new characters and new places, and they can still be ‘Star Wars.'”

Kennedy credited George Lucas with encouraging the idea for the anthology films. “It was really George’s idea, not only picking up the saga again — which he never envisioned he would do… he was really interested in exploring all the stories that might exist within the universe.”

The concept for “Rogue One” originated with John Knoll — visual effects supervisor and chief creative officer at Industrial Light & Magic — who pitched the idea to a number of colleagues at the company before taking it to Kennedy.

Kennedy admitted that she was worried about “opening the floodgates [for pitches] if I said yes,” but said that after hearing Knoll’s idea for “Rogue One,” she realized, “there is no way I’m going to say no, this is a really, really cool idea… ‘Star Wars’ stories are not a dime a dozen — this is really hard to do and really hard to get right.”

While fans know very little about the specifics of the mission to steal the Death Star plans from the Empire, Knoll noted that some parameters have been set by the previous movies. “You can’t just do anything — it has to logically fit into that framework,” which allowed him to “craft a good, solid, logical” story to explore this previously untold part of the “Star Wars” mythos.

Because the film is also taking place in the same timeframe as Disney XD’s “Star Wars Rebels” series, Hart hinted that there was possibility for crossover between the two properties. “We can look for ways for them to talk to each other, but we don’t mandate that… [executive producers] Dave Filoni and Simon Kinberg did an amazing job on ‘Rebels,’ and we are facilitating the development of ‘Rogue One’ as well, so we’ll be seeing what happens there. We’re very much aware that things are happening on the same part of the timeline,” she said.

Perhaps because Trank wasn’t present, no information was released about the upcoming standalone film that he was previously announced to direct.

“Star Wars: Rogue One” is scheduled to be released in December 2016, while the J.J. Abrams-directed “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” will hit theaters on December 18, 2015.

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  1. Shawn says:

    I distinctly remember Mon Mothma saying something about a lot of Bothan’s dying to bring them the Death Star plans, so there had better be Bothans in this.

    • creek0512 says:

      Many Bothans died to bring them the information on the second Death Star in Return of the Jedi. Since it is set before A New Hope, this movie is likely about how the Rebels obtained the plans for the original Death Star.

  2. Barry Carry says:

    MORE atheist BULLCRAP! batman superman is ATHEIST AGENDA PROPAGANDA BULLSH** and now they are gonna do that BULLCRAP to starwars….”THE FORSE IS NOT GOD. so saying “GODS NOT COMING TO SAVE YOU is stupid, and some “SIDE POINT that youre trying to shove your PERSONAL view down the throat of people

  3. duke says:

    The producers of all the new Star Wars movies have said they are going to ignore stuff in the books and the “expanded universe”, so I suggest everybody do the same. Ignore all that stuff and enjoy the new movies without complaining that they don’t feature characters from the books, video games, etc. Basically, if didn’t happen in one of the movies, assume it’s not canon.

  4. RALPH DANIEL says:

    Why do they keep on calling them “films”? They’re MOVIES, since physical film is hardly used at all. “Filmmakers” are Kodak, Fuji, and Agfa, and even they won’t be doing it much longer.

    • creek0512 says:

      Buy a dictionary, most words have multiple uses. Film is also a synonym for movie.

    • duke says:

      Relax Ralph.
      I suspect they will always be called films. The art form is called filmmaking, not movie making. It’s the term that will always be used, don’t be so literal. Gas we put in our cars is actually a liquid and not a gas, yet everyone calls it gas. It’s just a word. Calm down. Lol.

  5. Duder NME says:

    “While fans know very little about the specifics of the mission to steal the Death Star plans from the Empire…”

    I wouldn’t call Dark Forces “very little”, but now that Disney has memory wiped all that out of existence, then mmmkuy.

    • s0krat3s says:

      that’s the inherinet problem here, Disney doesn’t even know what they are talking about any more. They specifically said all post-Jedi expanded universe was no longer canon. It seemed intentional that they made that distinction. Now, they’re clearly saying we’re just gonna do whatever they want.

      There is almost no way they will create a story more compelling that that of Dark Forces/Kyle Katarn.

  6. Guest says:

    “…the bad guys can be good and the good guys can be bad.”

    In that case, I’d like to see standalone movies for Count Dooku and General Grievous, both of whom were apparently good before they turned bad. It would be nice to know their back stories.

    Might be hard to get Christopher Lee to reprise his role at the age of 93, though.

  7. psj says:

    That’s the wrong death star. That’s Death Star II, from Return of the Jedi. Rogue One is about the plan for the original Death Star … the plans for which R2D2 was carrying about in his busty innards.

    • duke says:

      Yes. It is a pic of death star 2, but the reason it looked like that, us cease the rebels found out about it before it was complete. It’s safe to assume the first death star looked like that while it was still under construction and may look like this in the Rogue One movie.

    • Duder NME says:

      “Rusty innards.” Guri, from Shadows of the Empire, has busty innards… and outards.

  8. Greg says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong but if I’m not mistaken Rogue Squadron wasn’t formed until Luke joined the Rebellion. If so it’s really stupid to be having a movie based in the Rogue Squadron when Luke is still shooting womp rats in his T-16.

  9. Josh says:

    All I know is some Bothans better lose their lives getting those plans, or this shit ain’t cannon.

  10. Brian Travolta says:

    This is a cool post. Too bad they used an image of the 2nd Death Star and not the original, which is the focus of this plot…

  11. Mantle Head says:

    How much money do you think we have out here? I kind stand these outer space war movies that are earth based war allegories. Why not tell a STORY- no politics, that is true key to the success to the ’77 original. Lucas could have made a Nam war allegory but told a story instead (remember what a story is or lest you forget.) We’re not half as stupid as you wish us to be.

    • Duder NME says:

      The Battle of Endor is the Vietnam allegory: a techonlogically superior force invades a forested land as the indiginous people fight to regain it. But then, that’s a tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme… Beauty and the Beast.

    • BryyMiller says:

      You do realize the SW trilogy was based on multiple sources, right, almost to the point of plagarism (Kurosawa, WW2, etc.)? I mean, that’s widely known. And find me a story, any story, that is devoid of metaphor for the real world. It’s impossible to tell a story devoid of reality because that’s what we live in.

      • Janet says:

        ” It’s impossible to tell a story devoid of reality because that’s what we live in.”

        You’re obviously not a republikkkan.

      • nerdrage says:

        Star Trek is the one that’s the political metaphor. Star Wars works best when the politics are good guys GOOD bad guys BAD. They are going to screw this up if they start in on the librul navel gazing again.

  12. snapcount75 says:

    They both come out in December? Huh?

    • blahblahblah says:

      Force Awakens comes out in December 2015 and Anthology Rogue One comes out in December 2016

    • jaaan says:

      They haven’t announced filming for the spin off yet. 20 more months and no start date. I think it might get pushed back to Summer 2017. But Disney might not budge since they didn’t let even Abrams delay Force Awakens to 2016.

      • duke says:

        I thought they did let Abrams delay and that’s why, for the first time ever, a star wars movie is coming out in December and not May. Didn’t they move episode VII from may 2015 to Dec 2015 to give Abrams more time?

      • Joshdarnit says:

        Episode VIII is set for summer 2017, so this one definitely won’t be pushed back to then.

  13. Reblogged this on stillness of heart and commented:
    So much to look forward to …

    • John says:

      It starts filming this summer. Personally I think this is a pretty awesome idea if done right. It gives them a chance to possibly bring back some old villains like Vader or Boba Fett too in a way that doesn’t involve flashbacks or cloning.

      • duke says:

        When she was first announced, i thought felicity Jones was going to play princess leia in this, but now I’m assuming she is not.

      • jedi77 says:

        Exactly. Exploring stories in the timeline that we all know and love is the way to go.

        The plans they refer to are the ones that end up in R2, right? Must be. So we got him and possibly Leia as well.

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