More enticing information is gradually being revealed on the first standalone Star Wars film, “Rogue One”. The interested audiences almost definitely know by now that the events of this movie are taking place before Star Wars: A New Hope and concentrates on the mission to steal the plans to the Death Star. Presumably, in terms of the Star Wars timeline as we understand it, the action of Rogue One is occurring immediately before Luke and the gang embark on the mission to destroy the Death Star.

This movie is the first in the saga to focus on the Rebel Alliance, although the basic premise is familiar to the Star Wars universe, a rag-tag group of heroes from an unlikely assemblage in opposing the Imperial forces. According to the producers the movie will go into new territory by exploring the galactic struggle from a ground-war perspective. Bearing in mind we are introduced to planets occupied by innumerable Star Destroyers and Imperial Walkers, the Rebel Alliance is forced to confront the Empire in large scale warfare. This could be half a Star Wars film and half a war movie.

Felicity Jones will be portraying Jyn Erso, a defiant member of the rebellion, who is believed to be the central character. Her back story paints the picture of someone with a roguish personality, as a former forger and smuggler. In the trailer, after criticism by Mon Motha about her attitude, Jyn responds “This is a rebellion isn’t it? I rebel”. Another major character who will feature prominently is Cassian Andor, played by Diego Luna, a senior intelligence officer of the alliance. One of the coolest characters depicted in any depth is Chirrut Îmwe (Donnie Yen), a sightless yet deadly, highly skilled fighter. He has declared his faith in the Force, but is not believed to be a practitioner.

In further casting news, Ben Mendelsohn is playing Orson Krennica, who is believed to be the  villain character of the piece. There is considerable speculation that there may just be an appearance by Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin from A New Hope (played by Peter Cushing). Rogue One will also star Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Riz Ahmed, Jiang Wen, and Forest Whitaker. We know that, as Star Wars fans dared anticipate, Darth Vader will be making an appearance (voiced again by James Earl Jones). Mon Mothma and Bail Organa will reprise their roles from Revenge of the Sith (and Return of the Jedi for Mon Mothma). The extent of screen time of these three characters is unknown.

From the most recent reveals we understand that action scenes will be taking place in a number of new location to the Star Wars movie universe. The planet of Jedha has featured in the tailor and photo releases, and is a planet of immense spiritual significance to the Jedi and pilgrimage to believers in the Force. The planet is also a source of a rare element which is processed to manufacture light sabers. Expect some major battle sequences. A second planet covered extensively in the promos is the tropical, paradise planet of Scarif. This location is occupied by significant Imperial presence and is the setting for a major battle between the Rebel Alliance and the Empire.

The original release date was pushed back to accommodate reshoots which have apparently now been completed. Rogue One is now scheduled for a December 16, 2016 release.