“That’s no moon. It’s a space station.” With that, Obi-Wan Kenobi illustrated the danger facing the fledgling Rebels in A New Hope. Nearly 40 years later, Rogue One’s director Gareth Edwards is trading the words of Obi-Wan for the visual punch only movie making technology in 2016 can provide.

The second Rogue One trailer dropped during the Olympics last night, and it was even more amazing than I could imagine. Let’s watch it again (this will be my 6th time).

The entire trailer is badass! But I want to focus on the Death Star. There are several new shots here and each one is a stunning depiction of the space station we met almost 40 years ago.

Death Star shadow

The first shot is a different angle of a shot we’ve seen before. A Star Destroyer (huge in its own right) emerges from the Death Star’s shadow. It’s a fantastic shot of an Imperial-class Star Destroyer with a crew of more than 37,000 (thanks Star Wars Wikia) dwarfed by the enormous Death Star.

Death Star and Star Destroyers

The next shot shows just a piece of the Death Star encompassing the entire frame. Seven Star Destroyers float in space around the space station. You’re talking 200,000+ crew aboard those seven ships. A crew of around 2 million kept the Death Star operational at its peak.

Death Star above Jedha

Here’s our first new shot of the Death Star and it’s incredible. We see it sweeping much closer than we know it needs to be. The desert moon below is Jedha. It’s home to one of the first civilizations to explore the Force. In Rogue One’s timeline (between episodes 3 and 4), it’s a holy site for pilgrims seeking spiritual guidance.

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The Empire occupies Jedha and uses resources found on the moon to build its ultimate weapon.

Death Star solar eclipse

Another great shot of the Death Star above Jedha eclipsing its sun. Gareth is nailing the scale of the Death Star in Rogue One. At least, in the two trailers we’ve seen so far. It feels much more menacing than Starkiller Base despite being much smaller.

You would think scale would be easy to do. But it’s not. Just look at Independence Day: Resurgence. The alien mothership was absurdly huge and never felt like a menacing threat like the spaceships from the first Independence Day or the Death Star in Rogue One.

Gareth already showed us he knows how to nail scale in Godzilla. And he’s doing it again with the Death Star.

Death Star possible firing

Ok, this isn’t a direct image of the Death Star – but something is wrecking Jedha. Could this be a test firing of the Death Star? Maybe Alderaan wasn’t the space station’s first victim? This is the ‘holy shit’ moment Rogue One needs. Edwards is telling a story we already know the ending to. A Death Star test firing would be the perfect surprise for die-hard Star Wars fans.

Darth Vader Rogue One

Darth fucking Vader! Check out the display behind him. It looks like a visual of the secondary lasers firing before the main laser. Does Vader order the first firing of the weapon? Man, December 16th can’t get here fast enough.

There are so many great moments in the trailer. From X-Wings hammering an Imperial Outpost to Baze taking out an AT-ACT (a bigger and meaner AT-AT variant) and Chirrut (Donnie Yen) taking out a squad of Stormtroopers. The entire trailer is amazing.

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I don’t know if it’ll be better than The Force Awakens. I’m just glad we are getting more Star Wars. And that Disney is letting directors use their unique visual styles to tell familiar stories.

What was your favorite moment from the trailer? Do you think we’ll see the Death Star fire in Rogue One?

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