Don’t like spoilers? You’ve come to precisely the wrong place. Here we will reveal everything we know about “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” the first stand-alone film in the new “Star Wars” franchise and one of the most hotly-anticipated movies of the year. (The movie opens Dec. 16, with many theaters having evening screenings on Dec. 15.) To get our information, we scoured fan sites, talked our way into a 28-minute preview and even interrogated the stars. What’s the plot? What does the title mean? How does it end? All right, we don’t really know the ending — but we’re ready to spill just about everything else.
Let the spoilers begin . . .
We know that British actor Felicity Jones plays a scrappy loner, Jyn Erso, while Mexico’s Diego Luna is cast as the no-nonsense Rebel Capt. Cassian Andor. In supporting roles are Forest Whitaker as Saw Guerrera, an enigmatic warrior, and Donnie Yen as Chirrut Imwe, whose blindness only seems to improve his martial-arts skills. “It’s the most diverse cast ever seen in a ‘Star Wars’ film,” according to Luna. “The accents you’re going to listen to are going to be so different.”
The general outline is no secret: Our heroine, Jyn, is recruited by the Rebel Alliance to help steal the plans for the Death Star. We’ve also learned that Jyn’s father, Galen (Mads Mikkelsen), is a brilliant scientist kidnapped by the Empire to work on a “superweapon.” We can make the screenwriterly assumption that Jyn and her father will meet again, but we don’t know for sure. And what about a possible romance between Jyn and her new captain? You’ll have to buy a ticket to find out.
Gareth Edwards is a 41-year-old Brit (“Godzilla,” “Monsters”) who wanted to give “Rogue One” the gritty feel of a war movie. According to an interview with the website /Film, when Edwards spotted one of his Stormtroopers slumping in exhaustion during a battle, he yelled at the crew to keep filming: “Don’t grab him! Don’t say anything!” That war-weary shot didn’t make the final cut, but Edwards’ sense of realism should still be visible on-screen.
Those endless lines of slow-moving text that opened all seven “Star Wars” films will not open the spinoff “Rogue One.” Producer Kathleen Kennedy has said the text crawl felt too “indicative of what those saga films are.” Still, this film does open with the traditional stage-setter, “A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away ...”
THE GUERERRA CONNECTION
Guererra doesn’t just drop into Jyn’s life out of nowhere. When Imperial forces invade her family’s home, Jyn’s mother (Valene Kane) sends an urgent message to none other than Guererra, who responds gravely, “You know what to do.” How and where Jyn re-connects with Guerera — whose loyalties were known to flip-flop during the series “The Clone Wars” — remain to be seen.
JYN ERSO IS A UNITER, NOT A DIVIDER
The nature of Jyn’s character is still a mystery — is she reckless, cynical, softhearted or what? So we asked the actress who plays her. “She’s nonjudgmental. She doesn’t create divisions. She’s interested in unity and in seeing the best in people,” said Jones. “She’s very humane — and has a bit of fun with it along the way.”
LUNA BASED CAPT. CASSIAN ON A MEXICAN REBEL
While playing the role of the Rebel captain, Luna says he found inspiration in Subcomandante Marcos, the guerrilla leader whose Zapatistas stood up to the Mexican government during the 1990s. “They were trying to use ideas to bring change, but they were ready to fight,” Luna said in a recent interview. “I liked that parallel. I never told that to anybody but you!”
KAYTOO IS THE ANTI-THREEPIO
The gunmetal gray droid K-2SO is Capt. Cassian’s best friend (reprogrammed by Cassian himself, according to Luna). With his bulky torso and the voice of Alan Tudyk, Kaytoo is not a nervous Nellie like Luke Skywalker’s C-3PO, but a self-assured soldier with a snarky streak. “Kaytoo is a little bit like Chewbacca’s personality in a droid’s body,” Edwards told Entertainment Weekly. “He doesn’t fully check himself before he says things and does things. He just speaks the truth.”
SCUM AND VILLAINY
Remember all those gruesome creatures who haunted the Mos Eisley cantina in the original “Star Wars?” At least one, Dr. Cornelius Evazan, makes a cameo here. You’ll remember him as the nasally deformed criminal who tells Luke Skywalker, “You’ll be dead!” His nasty appearance should provide a warm flood of nostalgia and reset our internal clocks to “Episode IV.”
DARTH VADER IS BACK
In a trailer released earlier this month, the villain in the black helmet makes a brief appearance. His breathing, though, is all over the trailer’s audio track, suggesting that his role will be more than just a blip. James Earl Jones, who’s been providing Vader’s voice since 1977, is listed in the “Rogue One” credits at IMdB.com.
‘ROGUE ONE’ IS ALREADY BREAKING RECORDS
The movie has been responsible for the biggest pre-sales day of the year at online ticket-sellers Fandango and MovieTickets. It’s the biggest advance seller in history for IMAX, according to Variety. And when it opens, “Rogue One” could become the second-biggest December opening ever, with $130 million (behind “A Force Awakens”). Still believe there won’t be a sequel?