To Go Rogue, or Rebel, that is the question…from #SWCE

Pretty vague title, right? Allow me to explain:  instead of doing a standard review for the Rogue One reel and the season three trailer for Rebels, I’ve decided to pit them against each other in a virtual, to-the-death, cage match! Okay, not really, but I’m going to do a sort of point, counter point, back-and-forth between the two and then decide which one “won” this year’s Star Wars Celebration Europe…sounds like a good time, right? Right, I thought so too, so, now that we’re all on the same page, LET THE BLOODSHED BEGIN!

Round 1:  Characters
The Celebration reel introduces us to perhaps two of the most intriguing characters in Rogue One:  the little, fuzzy, laughing gunner we later found out is a Lakaru named Bistan, and his possible over-sized companion (if you read into this concept art) the yet-to-be-named white Wookiee/Wampa hybrid. I, for one, was super stoked to see the inclusion of these, as well as other aliens you glimpse throughout the reel (including “Admiral Fatbar,” as I so rudely refer to him, the chubby-looking Mon Cal we see near the beginning). That said, though, I think it’s almost equally interesting to consider the character that’s essentially missing from the Celebration reel:  Saw Guerra. It was a pretty big deal when they announced that Forrest Whitaker would be playing the role of this previously-animated rebel leader, and you’d think Lucasfilm, et al. would want to highlight that “big deal” in their footage, but, aside from a tiny behind the scenes peek, he was completely absent. This makes me wonder if the hubbub over reshoots doesn’t have something to do with a last-minute decision to transform whomever Mr. Whitaker was playing into Mr. Guerra…that’s a rabbit hole I don’t really want to go down, though, so let’s move on to the characters from the Rebels season three trailer…

Uh, let’s see, some blue guy…what’s his name again…oh, right, THRAWN! Okay, I’ll admit it, right here before my one (maybe) reader:  I was wrong to speculate that Thrawn wouldn’t be included in Rebels. Alright, with that out of the way, let me just say that this basically single-handedly wins the battle for the Rebels trailer. This was my favorite reveal from the entirety of Celebration because it not only makes Thrawn a canonical character, thus opening him up to further avenues of storytelling (like the novel we’re already getting…and by his creator no less), but it also means that the Chiss species is alive and well (okay, okay, it doesn’t necessarily mean that, he could be the sole survivor of the Empire’s near-genocide of his species, but…just shh) in the current Star Wars universe. That is terrific news. Now Pantorans won’t have to be the go-to species for blue-skinned near-humans…anyway, yes, Thrawn was the pièce de résistance, but I think the Force-knowledgeable gentle giant, the Bendu, isn’t far behind…I mean, what even is he? Is he one of a species that just happens to be a mediator between the dark and the light, is he a singular entity taxed with being a balance point not unlike the “family” on Mortis, is “Bendu” not his species but the group he belongs to that represents the middle ground between Sith and Jedi? That’s a lot of questions, and I really can’t wait to get some answers because I am, frankly, at a loss (though I’ve got ideas, believe you me)…

Round 1 clearly goes to Rebels, so let’s give them a tally and move on to Round 2…

Round 2:  Troops
Troops?!?! Aren’t troops just characters? Well, kinda…by troops I mean the unnamed masses that fight for the bad guys, er, I mean, the Empire (because, let’s face it, Rebellion troops are dullsville). And, as far as troops go, none are cooler than the black-clad Death Troopers that appear to be the personal SpecOps for Director Krennic. I’ve written about them before, so I won’t overdo it here, but suffice to say I’m a big fan, and getting to see more of them, especially the one near the end that turns toward the camera, made the Celebration reel for me. I just love the crazy juxtaposition between Krennic, a high-ranking officer in a white uniform when they usually wear that drab grey/olive color, and his jet black troopers that are usually very much white. It’s like the Empire has to maintain some form of apparel yin and yang. It’s quite interesting…anyway, the Celebration reel also gives us a better look at the Shoretroopers, which I like a lot more now that I’ve seen more of them, not to mention hordes of good, ol’ fashioned Stormtroopers; I know what you’re thinking, “but who cares about Stormtroopers?” Well, I do. We haven’t seen proper Stormtroopers on the big screen for a long time, so it’s nice to get things back to square one, for nostalgia if nothing else. So, with Death Troopers in tow, the Celebration reel looks tough to beat on this subject, but let’s see what the Rebels trailer has to offer…

Short answer:  more Clone Wars. Long answer:  battle droids, Mandalorians, and Dark Troopers (maybe?). Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Rebels is once again reaching back into the last animated series and bringing something back…at this point, it would be more surprising if we got through a season that didn’t have something re-purposed from Clone Wars…anyway, enough nitpicking, yes we get to see battle droids and clones (well, clone) fight once more. (The #FinishCloneWars people must have peed their collective pants.) It’ll certainly be interesting to see how that scenario comes together. Moving on, as part of Sabine’s promised more front-and-center role, the Mandalorians look to play a key part in the upcoming season. And, as I’m sure you know, Mandalorians have jetpacks; jetpacks are awesome. Thus, episodes with Mandalorians flying around on jetpacks should be awesome. It’ll also be curious to see how the Mandalorian politics comes into play as far as which houses back which faction, and so on. Now, saving the best for last, we have the maybe they are, maybe they aren’t Dark Troopers, the large, black battle droids you see with the Imperial symbol on their shoulders for a very short amount of time. Honestly, the first thing I thought of when I saw them (well, except for, “whoa! Those look like Dark Troopers!”) was the killbots, or whatever they were called, from Mom’s Friend Robot Company…but I watch way too much Futurama…anyway, these are the most interesting troops from the Rebels trailer because they’re new (to the new canon, anyway) and mysterious. But, before we get into mystery (foreshadowing…), I think I just heard the bell for Round 2…

I’m giving Round 2 to the Rogue One Celebration reel (because Death Troopers), so, if you’re playing at home, we’re all tied at one…

Round 3:  Mystery
I think we can all agree an air of mystery is really what makes an effective trailer, teaser, sizzle reel, etc. If there’s no mystery, then what’s the point of seeing the finished product? I think it’s safe to say both of our contenders kept things mysterious. For starters, what’s Jyn carrying in her hand when she’s running across the beach, avoiding projectiles and the like? Are those the Death Star plans? They’ve got to be, right? Or is it some kind of jamming device? An explosive? Nah, it’s the Death Star plans…or is it? See, mystery…anyway, another big mystery for me goes back to the Wookiee/Wampa I mentioned in the characters section…who is that? Is it going to be someone we learn about in the film, or is it another classic Star Wars background character? And what about all the faces they run through in that short section that changes with the music, are any of them important or were they simply showing off their designs? Hard to see, the future is…one last mystery that I’m quite curious about is why does that Imperial officer slam that Stormtrooper up against the wall? Is that the trooper who let the rebels escape with the plans and now that officer knows he’ll have to answer to Krennic for it? Does Krennic have a Vader-like way of dealing with disappointment? It’s all very compelling, if you ask me, and I really can’t wait until we get everything squared away in December (or as squared away as a Star Wars story can be, anyway).

Now, let’s see if I can find some mystery in the Rebels trailer…hmm…oh, I’ve got one:  how’s Sabine end up with the darksaber, and does she keep it, lose it, or is it destroyed? And I know I’ve already asked a lot of questions about the Bendu, but what about the Bendu? That is one huge (literally) mystery right there…another curious bit involves Kanan and what looks like Dathomir witch magic, what with the green mist and all…how’s that play out? Is it actually what it looks like, or are there other Force-wielding witches and that brand of magic isn’t exclusive to the assumed-to-be-wiped-out Dathomir tribe? And, whatever it is, what’s it mean that it’s coming out of his ruined eyes? Will it fix them? Can it do that? It turned the weak body of Maul’s brother into Savage Opress, I don’t see why it couldn’t repair a couple laser-burned eyeballs…what if it’s Mother Talzin’s magical Force presence and she’s taken over Kanan’s body? Lots of mystery there, folks, lots of mystery…on top of that you can add the question of who’s instructing Ezra from inside the holocron…is it the female voice we hear say “your anger gives you strength,” or is that someone else? And if it is someone else, who? Another inquisitor, some random dark side adept/adherent, or perhaps the witch that casts the green mist on Kanan…oh yeah, and Maul’s also back, so what becomes of him? Will he finally be taken care of in the way we all thought Obi-wan already had in The Phantom Menace? And speaking of life expectancy, what about Thrawn? Will his story be left open, or is his demise immanent? Mystery abounds with this trailer, and I really can’t wait until season three gets started…hopefully they’ll release the two episodes they showed at Celebration for us peons who couldn’t go sooner than later…

Ding, ding! And the bout is over! In a stunning turn of events, the Rebels season three trailer has defeated the Rogue One Celebration reel by the narrow margin of 2-1! What a finish; what a match!

Okay, enough of that campy nonsense…so, yeah, I think Rebels brought the better video to Celebration. What do you think? I have a feeling that, had I been there and been privy to the new Rogue One trailer (that still hasn’t been released yet), I might be singing a different tune, but, things being what they are, Rebels wins the day. I wouldn’t say that necessarily means I’m more excited for Rebels than I am for Rogue One, I’d call that a pretty even playing field right now, but Rebels certainly gave us more to talk about than Rogue One did, thus it takes home the win (which comes with no trophy or prize money, only bragging rights…to whom they’ll brag, though, I’ve no idea…probably nobody). Anyway, back to the couch to continue reading Life Debt (which I really, really like so far – I know a lot of people have issues with the Aftermath series, but I think they’re probably my two favorite books in the new canon so far…granted I’m not done with Life Debt yet, so that’s kinda putting the cart before the horse…this is a really long parenthetical…). You can expect a review of sorts on it soon…maybe before the end of the month…maybe…but, hey, while you wait, watch the two videos I discuss here and chime in down in the comments and we’ll keep the ball rolling; otherwise, I’ll assume your silence means you agree with everything I say…either way, though, may the Force be with you…

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