When Disney made the announcement that the first Star Wars spinoff film would be titled Rogue One, most anyone familiar with the franchise’s Expanded Universe of novels and comics immediately assumed that the film would focus on the ragtag group of Rebel pilots collectively known as Rogue Squadron. However, based on eyewitness accounts at the exclusive event where the announcement was made, concept art displayed apparently told a different story; depicting something that more resembles the Halo video game series!
According to a report from Slash Film, Disney CEO Bob Iger made yesterday’s big Star Wars announcements at a no-electronics-allowed shareholder meeting, which apparently included the unveiling of the top secret Rogue One concept art. Coupled with the secrecy of the event, the eyewitness sources were not knowledgeable enough about the deeper Expanded Universe mythos to identify what was being shown. However, based on the accounts collected by the Web, the film seems more grounded and gritty than a film about the Rogue Squadron would suggest. According to blogger StitchKingdom, who was in attendance,
My personal take on it was it evoked concept art of a video game. It personally screamed Halo to me. It was very dark and done in greens, so it evoked the idea that it was being done under the cloak of night. Dozens of figures in fatigues appeared to be storming something with a strange helicopterish vehicle (open on the sides) in the background, releasing more troops.
While this is simply an anecdotal account of early concept art that could easily be taken out of context, it may be possible that this film’s characters are spending less time in the cockpit and more time on the battlefield. The idea of a Star Wars film centering on intense massive ground battles sounds intriguing. But at the same time, it feels unlikely, seeing as it may be a bit grim for Disney’s Star Wars universe. Besides, George Lucas may have already exhausted the less brutal loophole of depicting mass casualties in the battles we saw in the Prequel Trilogy; mitigated somewhat by one side being made up the Trade Federation’s armies of weird-looking bipedal droids. Yet, the described Halo-esque ground battle could simply depict a battle scene that happens to be part of the Rogue Squadron-themed film.
In fact, other accounts of the concept art does, indeed, point out some ships. One of Slash Film’s sources goes into some measure of detail over ships seen in some of the art that may have required some squinting, in addition to deep EU knowledge.
He would elaborate that the ships looked bigger than X-Wings and were possibly transport ships. Yet, none of the eyewitnesses -- who you would think possess some measure of basic Star Wars knowledge -- were able to identify ANY familiar Star Wars elements, such as a proper-looking X-Wing fighter or any discernable Imperial vehicles. One would think that if Disney wanted to unveil the earliest of concept art that they would want to show us familiar elements BEFORE getting to the unknown. That’s what’s so currently vexing about these descriptions. It leaves one to wonder if there will be many familiar elements in this film, at all.
Regardless, we shall see for ourselves when the first Star Wars spinoff, Rogue One, directed by Gareth Edwards and starring Felicity Jones, hits theaters "under the cloak" of a Christmas season night on December 16, 2016.