The latest trailer for “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” confirms that the new cast will include at least one familiar face.
Well, make that one familiar mask. The signature heavy breathing of Darth Vader is one of the first sounds we hear in the new 30-second spot, though it’s not until the final moments that we see the distinctively flared black helmet of the villain himself.
Vader’s appearance shouldn’t come as a surprise. “Rogue One,” which marks the first stand-alone film in the relaunched “Star Wars” franchise, takes place in the era of the first film (released long, long ago, in 1977). It’s the story of Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), who is recruited by the Rebel Alliance to steal the plans for the Empire’s planet-sized superweapon, the Death Star. With that plot, how could Vader not have at least a cameo?
The trailer otherwise tells us what we already know: Forest Whitaker appears briefly as the mystical-looking Saw Gerrera, and we get a glimpse of Diego Luna as Rebel Capt. Cassian Andor. (Will he be a love interest? The trailers haven’t been saying.) And what about Grand Moff Tarkin, the Empire bigwig originally played by the late Peter Cushing? We see him only in shadow, offering little hint as to which actor (or special effects team) will re-create the role. There are also a couple of brief action-scene snippets that look a little less high-tech sci-fi and a little more old-fashioned war movie.
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” arrives in theaters Dec. 16. Advance tickets went on sale Monday and have already reportedly caused major wait-times at online ticketing sites. The film is predicted to become the second-biggest December opening — with roughly $140 million — just behind “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which last year set a record with $247.9 million.