There’s always been an assumption that the planet of Alderaan, destroyed by the Death Star in A New Hope, was the first victim of the Empire’s super-weapon, a kind of demonstration of its capabilities (there’s even a scene in the movie where General Tarkin tells Princess Leia that the planet’s destruction will be a “ceremony that makes the battle station operational”).
But what if Leia’s home world wasn’t the only thing the Death Star was tested out on?
Enter the new trailer for Rogue One, in which we see this image on a viewing screen aboard the Death Star. Something big and round certainly seems to be in its sights…
Compare that to this, when the Death Star was targeting a rebel base on the moon of Yavin in A New Hope. Pretty similar right? (Give or take 40 years of special effects advances).
Need more convincing? In the first Rogue One trailer you can see Jyn in the middle of a massive explosion, an explosion that’s only escaped by jumping to hyperspace (check at the 1:40 mark). So a pretty big explosion (like the kind that could destroy a planet?)
And then there’s the principle of Chekhov’s gun/Death Star, which basically states that if a story revolves around a massive destructive gun, that gun will have to be fired for a satisfying narrative payoff.
So the next question is: if the Death Star does blow up another planet, which one will it be? Well, Rogue One has handily introduced us to a new world, Jedha, the spiritual home of the largely defunct Jedi.
And if you really wanted to make a statement by striking at the heart of those who oppose the Empire, and the Dark Side, where else would you choose but there?
We’ll find out for sure when Rogue One hits UK cinemas on 17th December.