The excellent teaser trailer for Star Wars: Rogue One paints a fairly complete picture. It gives us a good look at the state of the Rebel Alliance and the strength of the Empire. We are led to believe this is a story that focuses on Jyn Erso (played by Felicity Jones), a reckless outsider who has been on her own since the age of 15. She joins the Rebels, and is tasked to learn about the Empire's new weapon: the Death Star. We are also introduced to a leading figure for the axis, an Imperial fleet admiral played by Ben Mendelsohn. We don't know for certain he's a fleet admiral, but the insignia on his uniform lines up with Star Wars' expanded universe lore.
If this trailer is anything like our first look at Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we're only getting a small taste of Rogue One's story. One shot in particular speaks to a much greater threat for the Rebels. The image above shows a cloaked figure kneeling before what appears to be a bacta tank or some kind of chamber. On both sides we see Emperor Palpatine's Royal Guards, implying that he's in this room. Palpatine created the red guard when he was elected Supreme Chancellor. They serve him, and only him, at least that's what the lore has told us up to this point.
So if Palpatine is in the room, or sent his guards to this room, he is likely in the tank or chamber. Given where Rogue One sits in the Star Wars timeline, Darth Vader is alive and well and is likely the right hand of Palpatine. It wouldn't make sense for Vader to wear a cloak, so he isn't likely the character that kneels in this scene. My best guess is we're looking at one of the Emperor's Inquisitors, a Force-trained hunter who tracks down other Force-users. The Inquisitors are currently a mainstay in Star Wars Rebels, which takes place five years before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope. If this is indeed an Inquisitor, who in the Rebel Alliance is a threat with the Force?
And on the topic of Darth Vader, I have a feeling he's going to be the big bad in this film. Odds are he's the surprise at the end of the second trailer. Lucasfilm can't set a Star Wars film this close to A New Hope and not have Vader be involved. We've also never seen him in his prime, and this is an opportunity for Lucasfilm to show us just how deadly he can be. Rebels is giving us a taste, but I want to see what he's capable of on the big screen.
What are your thoughts on the Dark Side in Rogue One? Who do you think the cloaked figure is? And if someone is indeed in that tank, is it the Emperor? Maybe Snoke? Let's discuss this speculation in the comments section below.