The newest TV spot for the upcoming Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has a heavy focus on the terrifying might of the Galactic Empire. Taking place between Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith and the original Star Wars movie, Episode IV - A New Hope, this relatively unexplored era known to fans as "the Dark Times" bears that moniker for a reason: life wasn't great for the people of the galaxy who weren't directly rising in the ranks of the Empire.
"Imperial flags reign across the galaxy," says Saw Gerrera, played by Forest Whitaker. Gerrera knows the Empire and the fight against them more closely than any other character in the film, most likely, as he's been a freedom fighter for several decades at this point. He once fought, during the Clone Wars, against the Separatists (though he wasn't too fond of the Republic either), and has been using his by-any-means tactics against the Empire for years at this point.
The TV spot then shows the might of the Empire, with a huge squadron of TIE fighters (a shot that just debuted in a foreign trailer last week), the burning planet, the huge military on Scarif, and more. But it contrasts all this with a message for the Rebellion: "The greatest weapon is hope." It's been the central message of the Rebel Alliance throughout the recent marketing push, and it really helps to tie it to that original film, of which this movie spins out.
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."
READ MORE: New Rogue One Featurette Highlights Links to A New Hope | Does Jyn Erso Have a Major Star Wars Artifact in Rogue One? | Alan Tudyk Warns New Star Wars Droid K-2SO Could Be A Danger | Before K-2SO: A History of Star Wars' Most Killer Droids| Review: Incredible Star Wars Fan Film Hoshino Explores Nature of the Force with Innovation | It Was Donnie Yen's Idea for his Rogue One Character to Be Blind | Star Wars Rebels: Thrawn Returns in Iron Squadron Preview