Star Wars: Rogue One – new reasons to be excited
rogue one- a star wars story visual guide book cover

Ever since the first trailer dropped for Rogue One, the upcoming first spin-off movie from the Star Wars saga, we’ve been drooling over this potential Force Awakens killer.

That trailer was amazing, but now new details have emerged that have us pacing about excitedly as we count down the days to December 16.

Early glimpses at some draft pages from the upcoming Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – The Official Visual Story Guide – which isn’t due out until January of next year – reveal some tantalising tidbits of information on new ships, characters… and a returning villain.

Of course, mild spoilers ahead if you’re not familiar with the Star Wars timeline, or want to go into the movie completely cold.

New ships!

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Perhaps the most exciting things gleaned from these teases of the new book are the brand new space ships. If there was one area where The Force Awakens lost out, it was its distinct lack of new vehicles for us Star Wars nerds to fawn over.

Sure, we had Kylo Ren’s shuttle (really just a sleeked up Imperial Transport), but aside from that it was just a few X-Wings with a paint job and some generic looking troop transports.

But Rogue One looks to introduce us to at least two new fighters.

For the Rebellion, it’s the U-Wing, continuing to plunder the alphabet of letter shaped fighters for ours heroes and striking the familiar patchwork aesthetic of cobbled-together scrap we’ve already seen from the strapped for cash band of rebels.

The Empire adds the TIE Striker to its ranks, which looks to carry the same indefensible speed as the similar looking TIE Interceptor. With the darker tone of Rogue One, the Striker’s name and it’s piercing wing design, could we be looking at kamikaze pilots from a desperate Empire, who are presumably still reaping the disposable benefits of the recently turned Clone Army?

New characters!

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As well as new ships, we get our first glimpses of a couple of new characters exempt from the title, confirmation of the names of a few who were included, and quite a few more details on all.

First up, those who we already knew a bit about, now fleshed out with a few more details:

– Felicity Jones plays Jyn Erso, a highly skilled soldier and warrior.
– Diego Luna plays Captain Cassian Andor, an officer in the Rebel Alliance.
– Jiang Wen plays Baze, a freelance assassin
– Riz Ahmed plays Bodhi, a rebel soldier.
– Donnie Yen plays Chirrut, who is described as “a spiritual warrior.”

And those who are still draped in mystery:

– ???? plays Bistan, another CG-looking alien who is also described as “fierce warrior”.
– ??? plays Pao, an alien who is described as a “fierce warrior” and looks like another computer generated character.

We also get confirmation on Ben Mendelsohn’s role as white-suited Imperial Director Krennic, tasked with preventing the Rebels from stealing the Death Star plans.

A returning villain!

Shut your eyes here if you want to avoid some mild spoilers, but really, how could you not assume this guy would crop up?

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It looks like Darth Vader is set to return to the Star Wars franchise with Rogue One, with his looming presence in the above image all but confirming the legendary villain’s inclusion.

That’s enough to get any Star Wars fan foaming at the mouth with anticipation, and though it’s not that much of a surprise (of course Vader’s going to get a look-in in a film based on the mission to steal the plans of the very space station he oversaw), it’ll be interesting to see just how much of an impact that iconic breathing pattern will be making come December.

No word yet on who could be playing Vader, but early rumours suggest that Hayden Christensen might be making the logical step-up into Vader’s dark cloak. Good for series continuity, not so good for acting quality. Still, let’s see how this plays out.

‘Death Troopers’!

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And finally, we have confirmation that the black-clad Stormtroopers seen in the trailer are known as ‘Death Troopers’. A little morbid perhaps, but cool as hell and a totally terrifying.

Not to be confused with the 2009 Expanded Universe novel of the same name that saw regular Stormtroopers infected with a viral agent known as the Sickness in a Star Wars take on horror.

Rogue One is shaping up to be far more exciting than The Force Awakens ever was (and of course that film was already pretty damn exciting); a fresh, gritty take on the Star Wars universe introducing us to new characters and locales for fans to really get excited over.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is due for release on December 16

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