In Brief

Star Wars: Rogue One – Felicity Jones 'to return for sequel', Screen Rant says

Entertainment website reports the Rebellion is continuing - but fans should be a little sceptical

Star Wars Rogue One: Why a death trooper is holding a stormtrooper doll

19 August

Anticipation for the first Star Wars spin-off film is steadily building ahead of Rogue One's release in December and, this week, a new trailer dropped with a number of intriguing shots for fans to pick over.

But nothing in the teaser has proved more perplexing than a behind-the-scenes image released to EW a few months back showing a death trooper holding what is unmistakably a stormtrooper doll.

Has Star Wars merchandise become so ubiquitous it has now leaked its way into the fictional universe itself?

Having been granted access to more behind-the-scenes images, fan site Star Wars News Net has come up with a different explanation.

The image, it says, is most likely part of a flashback scene.

Fans speculate that Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen), the father of heroine Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), may have played a key role in designing the Death Star. EW's images appear to show a squad of black-clad stormtroopers, known as death troopers, sent to kill him.

Further footage seen by Star Wars News Net offers "a brief glimpse of a young girl running… Next the death troopers capture Galen and among everything they find in his homeplace is his daughter's favourite toy – a stormtrooper doll."

EW has confirmed it is a "Stormtrooper doll, a galactic version of a toy soldier" and says it will have a "special significance in the story". It also points out that, decades later, Rey fashions a doll for herself, although this one is of an X-wing pilot. However, it doesn't explain how the two toys might be related.

"At least it doesn't appear that it will be some sort of strange, self-referential bit of product placement," says Movie Web. "It makes sense that given the Empire's reach in the galaxy, there might be some sort of propaganda merchandise available for kids in that universe. But that is about as much as we can discern, given what we know at this point."

Others question whether it is indeed a toy and not a creepy voodoo doll used by the Deathtroopers to control the Stormtroopers. Michelle Lulic at Bustle suggests it could be "some kind of sick, twisted war tactic" such as voodoo, although she also admits this might be "thinking a little too far outside of the box".

All will become clear about the toy's significance when Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is released in UK cinemas on 16 December.

Star Wars Rogue One: Why Galen Erso is key to everything

17 August

The release of the international trailer for Star Wars: Rogue One has added to the buzz after last week's "spine-tingling" trailer.

Although the two shorts are largely the same, a juicy titbit concerning Mads Mikkelsen's character Galen Erso has set the internet alight.

It appears that the Rebel Alliance find out about the Death Star through Galen, who is the father of Jyn Erso, a soldier played by Felicity Jones who is later recruited by the rebels. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"content_original","fid":"98973","attributes":{"class":"media-image"}}]]

"We’ve intercepted a coded Imperial transmission. It indicates that a major weapons test is imminent,” says Rebel leader Mon Mothma, a line heard in the first teaser trailer in April.

But now we also see Rebel Alliance officer Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) tell Jyn: "The message was sent by your father."

It's already been published that Galen is Jyn's estranged father and that he has a deep knowledge of the universe.

"It's still not clear how willing a participant Galen is in the Rebellion though: Mon Mothma specifies that the message was intercepted, rather than sent directly to the insurgency," says The Verge. "Was this a deliberate ploy by a disillusioned official? The actions of a Rebel double agent? Or just bad cyber-security practices by a senior Imperial officer?"

Mikkelsen hinted in June that his character isn't a stone-cold villain, suggesting he may be a scientist appalled by the scale of destruction the Death Star is capable of, adds the website.

Pop culture site Inverse believes this new reveal shows that "when Galen Erso found out what Ben Mendelsohn’s evil Orson Krennic character was going to do with his technology, he leaked some vital information to the Rebels that will ultimately dictate his daughter’s mission to capture the plans to the planet-destroying battle station for the anti-Imperial forces".

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is released in UK cinemas on 16 December.

Rogue One: Watch spine-tingling trailer for new Star Wars film

12 August

Darth Vader is back on our screens. As opposed to his front, that is – a rear view of the Sith Lord is one of the highlights of the new trailer for the stand-alone Star Wars movie Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

His "scary breathing and shiny beetle-like carapace still send shivers down the spine", says The Guardian, chilled by the short promo shown on US TV during the Olympics yesterday.

The movie, to be released in the UK on 16 December, has suffered from problems that required re-shoots and a new editor. It is directed by Briton Gareth Edwards, who was responsible for the 2014 Godzilla reboot.

The action takes place just before the events of the first Star Wars movie, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, and the film is the first stand-alone movie in the series.

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The trailer shows the movie looking "immense", says the Daily Mirror. Fans may join Edwards, who admitted having a "nerdgasm" when he recorded the voice over with James Earl Jones, who lends his distinctive baritone to Vader, says the newspaper.

According to Entertainment Weekly, the trailer "subconsciously suggests a very old tale: David vs Goliath", setting up contrasts of scale between opposing forces – and between the sidekick droid K-2SO and heroine Jyn Erso, played by Felicity Jones.

Most of the film takes place on the planet Jedha, says The Guardian. The planet has been taken over by the Empire and the film plays with ideas of resistance and terrorism.

The trailer is "spine-tingling good", says Wired. It may be a stand-alone story but it is "littered with nostalgic throwbacks to the original trilogy". It even comes "complete with AT-ATs".

Continuing the "positive trend set by The Force Awakens", Rogue One has a "far more diverse cast than any previous Star Wars movie".

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