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Rogue One Trailer is Huge, Nostalgic and Has the Best Droid Ever

Well, that's one way to take on a TIE fighter. The new trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is here, and it's basically a 2-minute celebration of the series' past and present, paying deep homage to the classic trilogy while setting the stage for for a dark and exciting new story about the group of Rebels that stole the plans to the original Death Star.

Whereas the film's first teaser mostly existed to introduce us to scrappy protagonist Jyn Erso and her tense alliance with the Rebels, this first full-on trailer shows us just how huge Rogue One is going to be. One of the first images we see is a Star Destroyer looming above a sandy planet (sound familiar?), reminding us just how tight a grip the Empire had on the galaxy during this era, which is set just prior to A New Hope. Just to drive the point home, the just-built Death Star is seen fully eclipsing the sun just a few shots later.

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That's just the start -- we also see massive beach-side blaster battles, treacherous X-Wing runs and a badass shot of the scruffy Baze Malbus taking on a towering Imperial walker with nothing but a rocket launcher. Speaking of badass, there's a moment where Jyn seems to walk straight towards a TIE fighter with her blaster pistol in hand. This group of Rebels is up against something far more powerful than they are, and they don't seem the least bit afraid.

And then there's K-2SO, who might be my new favorite Star Wars character after about 10 seconds of screen time. The grim (but equally charming) antithesis of C-3PO, K-2SO has already created some soon-to-be-iconic Star Wars quotes by stoically saying things like "The captain says you are a friend. I will not kill you" to an amused Jyn, or declaring that the Rebels have a "97.6 percent chance of failure" on their desperate mission.

Rogue One might be the "gritty" Star Wars film, but the series' trademark sense of humor seems to be fully operational.

But the moment that surely everyone is talking about is the trailer's final two seconds, in which we see the back of Darth Vader's helmet while hearing the unmistakable sound of his troubled breathing. We still don't know how big a role Lord Vader will play in Rogue One, and while I'd argue that the film would be just fine without him, it sure is cool to see that big black mask again.

It's this mix of nostalgia and promise that makes the Rogue One trailer such an emotional ride for fanboys such as myself. From seeing key new members of the Rebel Alliance and Galactic Empire to a hearing a sweeping soundtrack that blends and remixes the Imperial March and Force themes, I was both reminded why I love Star Wars and tantalized by this film's bolder, darker direction.

Let's hope this mix of old and new delivers a great film come December 16. Now if you'll excuse me, there's something in my eye.