A fresh new look at the in-depth plans for the Death Star was revealed by Empire Magazine today. The appropriately-named publication debuted their January 2017 cover date subscriber cover, featuring blueprints of the Death Star and its devastating weapon. The cover and issue will arrive to subscribers' homes in the next week.
The Death Star plans are the MacGuffin of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, as the scrappy band of rebels led by Jyn Erso (played by Felicity Jones) are tasked with acquiring the plans, leading directly into the story of the original Star Wars movie, Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. While fans know that yes, obviously, they will in fact steal the plans successfully, they don't know just how that all unfolds, and therein lies the story of the film.
Don't bother translating the Aurebesh, the written language of Star Wars, on the cover, though. A quick sample shows nothing but gibberesh: "Het Evrdi" for example. Now, that doesn't mean necessarily that it's all just a random selection of Aurebesh, or that it's not in some kind of code, it's probably more trouble than it's worth.
The Death Star plans have been a centerpiece of the marketing campaign for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. We've seen the plans overlayed on faces of characters in character posters and plastered across the IMAX standee (which did have some hidden messages amongst the gibberish). It is a simple and easily recognizable image, with the sphere marked by the massive laser instantly noticed as the Empire's most powerful weapon to any fan since 1977.
What may be of slightly more interest is the inset that appears to focus specifically on the laser-firing apparatus. That, of course, is what Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen) is brought into the project to design and perfect. His research into Kyber crystals, as detailed in the new novel Star Wars: Catalyst, led to his recruitment by the Empire, and eventually leads to his daughter's recruitment by the Rebel Alliance.
As the cover story of this month's Empire, Rogue One will be the focus, with interviews with director Gareth Edwards, as well as Felicity Jones, Forest Whitaker (Saw Gerrera), and Riz Ahmed (Bodhi Rook). See the full size cover below.
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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits US theaters December 16, 2016. Directed by Gareth Edwards, it's the first of the new standalone features from Lucasfilm and Disney, which take place outside the core "Skywalker Saga" of films noted by an Episode number. Rogue One tells the story of the small band of rebels that were tasked with stealing the plans to the first Death Star. The story spins directly off the opening crawl from the original Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. In that crawl, it read: "Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire. During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire's ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet."