It’s been about six months since the last time we reviewed a Rogue One trailer. Since then the hype has only grown, and December 16th can’t come fast enough. What we have in the meantime is this second full-length trailer.
This one reveals a bit more, but what it reveals has left me with mixed feelings.
In this trailer we learn that Jyn’s father,
Hannibal Lecter Galen Erso, abandoned her as a child, and in the meantime has become instrumental to the Empire. He is at the heart of their plans for the Death Star. It’s unclear what his motivations are: does he know Jyn is still out there? Is he loyal to the Empire or just an outside contractor? What will happen when the two confront each other? (I say when, not if, because we know they will—this is a Star Wars movie after all. Parent-child confrontation is the franchise’s bread and butter.)
The new concern I have about this, though, is that it takes away some of Jyn’s importance. From the previous trailer, we assumed that the Rebellion picked up Jyn because her criminal record spoke to a skill set that would be crucial in the raid for the Death Star plans, while also making her disposable in the case of being caught. In short, she was recruited because of who she was. In this trailer, it appears that wasn’t the case after all. Rather, she is crucial to the Rebellion because her father is designing the Death Star. So instead, she’s recruited not because of who she is, but because of a dude she’s related to. While I’m excited to see Mads Mikkelsen on the big screen, I am bummed that it’s in a way that takes away some of our female lead’s agency.
One of the major concerns about the previous trailer was that it fell into the same 101-level diversity issue as The Force Awakens and other media: it followed the white women plus men of color equals diversity equation which completely leaves out the existence of women of color. It does seem that someone out there is aware of this frustration. While the sequel to The Force Awakens has cast Asian actress Kelly Marie Tran in an apparently big role, this trailer took the time to spotlight a Black woman among the Rebellion leaders. However, it’s not clear if this woman actually is going to play a major or even supporting role in the movie.
Rather, it’s possible that this is her only line or scene in the film, and the trailer was cut to include it just to assuage the critics of this WoC-less diversity. Eunice Olumide, the actress in question, has been interviewed previously about her role, which she said is bigger than originally intended but is not that significant. The part is not even credited with a fill-in name on iMDB. While this could mean that they’re hiding the name for a big and exciting reveal, it’s more likely that she’s just not that important of a character.
Maybe we are in the best of all possible worlds and both of these issues will play out in a positive way. I don’t have high hopes, but miracles have been known to happen. Either way, I’m still excited for this movie and you can bet I’ll be in line to see it on the day it premieres.
Hear more from Lady Saika on Character Reveal, the podcast she cohosts with BrothaDom!