'Rogue One': The Verdict on the New Trailer

The third and final Rogue One: A Star Wars Story trailer is out, and Heat Vision is something of a house divided on this one. Editor Aaron Couch thought it was the best of the bunch, while writer Graeme McMillan did not. Let's dive in further:

Aaron Couch: Graeme, we have to start with you — because I think you're in the minority of people who weren't really excited about it. (Our unscientific Twitter poll found about 70 percent thought it was the best of the three trailers.) 

Graeme McMillan: I've got to admit, I'm really surprised by the excitement provoked by the new Rogue One trailer. I'm on record as thinking that it doesn't do Jyn Erso any favors, but beyond that, it … didn't really do it for me at all … ? It feels like it sacrificed the weird, dissonant parts of the earlier trailers (The sirens! The sense of panic! Jyn being someone recruited because she's the best person for the job, not because she's the daughter of the guy they're after!) in favor of doing off-brand versions of what we're already getting in the "central" Star Wars movies. All of that makes sense from Disney's point of view — The Force Awakens did boffo box office, as the kids say, so why not want more of the same — but I don't understand why it's prompting such excitement in fans. Is it really just that people want any new Star Wars?

Couch: There really is something to be said about following a formula that works. Marvel Studios gets grief for the similar feel of its movies — but I can't get enough of the MCU. I really think Marvel makes the best trailers in the business, and this Rogue One trailer was right up there — it got me excited in a new way for the supporting cast of characters, in particular Ben Mendelsohn's villainous Director Orson Krennic. He doesn't even say much, but the way he's able to dominate Jyn's father Galen (Mads Mikkelsen) without words let's you know this is a guy not to mess with. And that scene where he's telling Vader about the power of the Death Star. Chills. Seriously, who talks to Darth Vader that way? The one issue I take with the way Jyn is portrayed in the trailer is the idea that she needs any extra motivation to want to stop The Death Star. She's a rebel with no love for the Empire, so I'm not sure she'd need her dad as motivation. 

McMillan: One of my biggest problems with the new trailer is that it felt like it muddied the focus. Earlier trailers didn't have Jyn's motivation for working with the Rebels — it kind of made it look like a Suicide Squad-esque deal — but they felt like the movie was unmistakably her story. This new trailer lets Jyn get lost, somehow, but noone else really steps in to take her place. It's as if the editors thought, "Let's let the other guys take the spotlight," forgetting that there are, like, seven of them and giving them one line of dialogue each in the trailer doesn't really help. Am I wrong? I can't tell if I'm just being picky at this point. Am I just being a hater, Aaron? You can level with me.

Couch: I sort of think you are just being a hater.

McMillan: The truth hurts, Aaron. I can't lie.

Couch: I felt even more connected to Jyn with this trailer. You feel for her as a kid alone, and then an adult under arrest. Getting to see her  forming a friendship (or if they go that route, romance?) with Cassian (Diego Luna), and dressing up to go undercover as a member of the Empire — it's all just really good stuff. And I dug that it gave the other characters time to shine (Forest Whitaker has a robot leg! Riz Ahmed gets to give the Rogue One call sign!). It was all very cool. And the music. The music was so good. I don't care if it's the same old Star Wars tricks, because we've only had one movie (Force Awakens) in this new era of Star Wars. Once we are on movie 14, maybe I'll say we need something more different. 

McMillan: I am going to withhold my snark about someone having a robot leg being your definition of time to shine for a second to ask you about something else about the promotion of the movie for a second. (Although, may I introduce you to this exciting new character, Darth Vader? He has robot legs and hands and lots of stuff! He got caught in lava and hates sand!) In amongst all the excitement, something else I saw people talking about online about the new trailer that stuck in my head was the idea that there's been nothing in the Rogue One trailers to say "This isn't the sequel to Force Awakens, it takes place before the first one." You and I know that because it's our jobs, but do you think that's a real problem? Not just in the sense of, "people don't know when the movie takes place," but also that people will care … ?

Couch: That's been a concern I've been hearing, but I don't think it matters. When I go home for Christmas, I have relatives that I'll go see Rogue One with. Will all of them know ahead of time what era this movie is set in? No, but it won't matter. They already want to go, and we can talk about the timeline in the car on the way to theater, and they will still enjoy it. 

What's your take on the new trailer? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page and we'll update this story over the weekend by adding the best comments to the page. 

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