Now that Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them is out, there’s no big release to get in the way of hype for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Like Beasts, which is set seventy years before the Harry Potter films and is kicking off a series of five, Rogue One‘s got a lot of weight on its shoulders: it’s following up the intergalactic success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but also marks to start of the series’ standalone enterprise, telling new stories from across the Star Wars timeline.
While it’s a gamble, the marketing for the film has been strong. Lucasfilm couldn’t promote it for a long time due to a brand clash in the use of Rogue with Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, but came out of the gate swinging with some excellent trailers and frankly gorgeous posters. With less than four weeks to go, the hype machine’s really going all out. The level of chatter may not quite match the excitement around The Force Awakens, but for a tangential prequel (the film dramatises the original film’s opening crawl, showing how the Rebels got the Death Star plans), it’s doing quite well.
We’re firmly in the TV spot stage of the marketing now, with short clips offering a little new footage and bringing the film to the masses. They’re now coming out at the rate of one a day, and just hot on the tail of yesterday’s chilling look, a new one, titled “Protect”, has just hit.
There’s actually a lot here for a thirty second TV promo: we get a snazzy jump to hyperspace, then after a brief plot set up there’s an extension of Baze (Jiang Wen) trying to rocket-launcher down at AT-ACT (it’s not as successful as you thought, requiring some arial support to finish the walker off), followed up by a taste of Baze and Chirrut’s (Donnie Yen) relationship, with the latter vehemently believing in the Force while the former’s much more down-to-Earth. As Wen revealed at Star Wars Celebration, that’s a key part of both characters’ arcs we’ll see unfold over the film.
It’s easy to forget in all the Death Star hype that what Rogue One is ultimately shaping up to be is an ensemble heist movie, with the crew of the titular ship our real focus. This spot isn’t light on action, but it does really bring things back round to those characters, acquainting us specifically with Baze and Chirrut.
Tickets for Rogue One are now available to pre-book in the UK and the Netherlands, with sales expected to start in the U.S. soon. Stay tuned for more.