LOS ANGELES - The dust has barely settled from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but audiences already have a new installment to get excited for.
The world got a glimpse of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in a teaser trailer that debuted Thursday on Good Morning America and quickly became a top trending topic on Twitter. The movie looks back to the events before 1977's A New Hope, introducing the ragtag rebels who unite to steal plans for the Death Star.
One of them is Felicity Jones from The Theory of Everything, whose blaster-wielding character Jyn Erso is featured prominently in the spot as she's tasked with the dangerous mission. The film is directed by Gareth Edwards, best known for the 2014 reboot of Godzilla.
Rogue One, which hits theaters Dec. 16, also stars Diego Luna, Forest Whitaker, Ben Mendelsohn and martial arts star Donnie Yen.
In the world of Rogue One, Edwards said at a fan event last year, the “absence of Jedi is omnipresent.''
The characters in the film realize that the “gods are not coming to save us,'' he said. “It comes down to a group of people who don't have magical powers who band together to bring hope to the galaxy.''
Cinderella scribe Chis Weitz wrote the screenplay based on an idea from visual effects supervisor John Knoll.
It's the first in a series of spinoff films set in the Star Wars universe, disconnected from the more chronological main trilogy that kicked off with The Force Awakens and will continue with Rian Johnson's Episode VIII, which arrives in December 2017.
One of the anthology films will focus on a young Han Solo. Empire Strikes Back and The Force Awakens co-writer Lawrence Kasdan and his son Jon Kasdan are writing the script for the film, which will be directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller of The Lego Movie and 21 Jump Street. Casting is still in the works for the space smuggler originated and made iconic by Harrison Ford.
Kiri Hart, vice president of development for Lucasfilm, said last year that the anthology films will vary in scale and genre.
“We wanted freedom to do some films that would be able to stand on their own and tell unique stories,'' she said.
“They can still feel like Star Wars and be Star Wars.''