Disney and Lucasfilm released an Olympic-sized "Star Wars" TV spot Thursday.
"Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" arrives in theaters on Dec. 16, and the franchise's fans are eager for something--anything!--that will tide them over until its release. Riz Ahmed, Jonathan Aris, Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Jiang Wen, Forest Whitaker and Donnie Yen make up the film's cast, while Gareth Edwards serves as its director. A 15-second teaser hit the Internet Tuesday, which followed the initial teaser trailer's release in April.
The official trailer debuted Thursday night during NBC's Olympics coverage.
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Plot details are being kept under wraps (per usual), though some managed to emerge over the summer. Now, E! News is sharing five things to know about the plot, the production and more.
1. The opening crawl may be missing. Ever since the first film in the series, "Star Wars: A New Hope," was released in 1977, its sequels have followed suit by setting the scene using the same storytelling device. "The crawl and some of those elements live so specifically within the 'saga' films that we are having a lot of discussion about what will define the [stand-alone] 'Star Wars' stories separate and apart from the saga films," Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy told Entertainment Weekly in a June cover story. "So we're right in the middle of talking about that."
2. Darth Vader will be back. Several performers will stand in as the villain on set, while James Earl Jones will reprise his voice role. "He will be in the movie sparingly," Kennedy said. "But at a key, strategic moment, he's going to loom large." Among the rebels, the character is seen as a myth, not a real man. "Within the Rebellion, it's not commonly spoken about," Edwards told Entertainment Weekly. "Within the Empire, there is the culture of knowing of the existence of Darth Vader. There's definitely an underlying feeling that there is a power--a dark power--available to the Empire and that if you overstep your mark, you will suffer the consequences."
3. Audiences will get to explore two new planets. "Scarif is based on a paradise world, so we had to go to paradise to film it," Edwards said at the "Star Wars Celebration" in London in July. Casting directors even enlisted local Maldivian soldiers to play members of the Imperial Army. "As we're filming it, we'd go up to them and ask them if they're excited they got to play stormtroopers. They're like, 'No.' So we asked them, 'Do you know about Star Wars?' They said, 'No.' So we asked them if they felt like idiots, and they said, 'Yes.'" The other planet, Jedha, is home to those who believe in the Force, like Baze Malbus (Wen) and Chirrut Imwe (Yen). "If A New Hope is the story of Jesus or something, there must be a whole religion beyond that," he told Gizmodo in July, perhaps confirming fan theories that the Jedi will indeed appear in some capacity. "It felt like, if for a thousand generations Jedis were the leaders of this spiritual belief system, there's gotta be the equivalent of Mecca or Jerusalem within the Star Wars world."
4. There will be a new droid. Don't expect to see R2-D2, C-3PO or BB-8. Tudyk voices K-2SO, an Imperial droid re-programmed by the rebellion. Standing tall at 7'1", K-2SO is black with a human-like form. Luna, who plays Cassian Andor, said the droid is his character's best friend. "Cassian reprogrammed him and he did a data wipe. When he re-programmed him, he's not quite all there. He speaks his mind and says things that can be unsettling, and just very honest," Tudyk revealed at the "Star Wars Celebration" in July. "If you know any old people, it's like that."
5. Yes, "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" required reshoots. Amid rumors that Lucasfilm and its parent company, Walt Disney Studios, were unhappy with a rough cut of the film, Edwards spoke to Entertainment Weekly about why he reassembled the cast and crew. "I mean, it was always part of the plan to do reshoots. We always knew we were coming back somewhere to do stuff," he said in July. "We just didn't know what it would be until we started sculpting the film in the edit." Kennedy echoed Edwards' sentiments, saying, "There's nothing about the story that's changing, with a few things that we're picking up in additional photography." Kennedy later added that it was "important" to "reassure fans that it's the movie we intended to make."