Rogue One is giving fans a peek into a part of the Star Wars universe they haven’t seen before as the story focuses in on the Galactic Empire prior to the events of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. And based on early looks, the Empire is more menacing (and awesome) than ever before.

Here are five reasons why the Empire is going to be awesome in Rogue One

The Death Star? Awesome.

So what if the Death Star is smaller than Starkiller Base? There's no denying that the OG superweapon is the best superweapon. And now we'll get to see the classic Death Star design realized with the most cutting edge special effects yet. And what a treat to be able to witness the final moments of its construction, with that awesome superlaser installation (see above). Oh, and it blows things up. If that isn't awesome (as in, literally awe-inspiring), I don't know what is.

The TIE Striker? Awesome.

rogue one star wars tie striker awesome

A new Star Wars film means new spaceships to ogle, and the Empire's latest entry is as fierce as you might expect. The TIE Striker design is reminiscent of the TIE Interceptor but with a more sleek and streamlined look. It's designed for in-atmosphere battles so you can bet we'll be seeing it decimate some Rebels on Scarif. It's a killer.

New Stormtroopers? Awesome.

rogue one star wars death trooper awesome

Rogue One will continue the Star Wars tradition of showing us how the Empire diversifies its different battalions. To that end, we're seeing some awesome new stormtroopers that are made for specific purposes and terrain. We've seen specialized troopers known as shoretroopers that guard the planet Scarif with their unique off-white armor. And then there are the black-armored death troopers, part of Director Orson Krennic's personal guard -- they're outfitted like a stormtrooper S.W.A.T. team.

Director Krennic? Awesome.

rogue one star wars krennic awesome

Star Wars is filled with memorable villains. And the franchise has always done a great job when it comes to making the bad guys look really, really cool. Director Orson Krennic is certainly following that pattern. With his all-white uniform and flowing cape, Krennic is instantly indelible. It doesn't hurt, of course, that the excellent Ben Mendelsohn is playing Krennic -- he's an amazing actor who seems to be having a ton of fun with the role. He even showed up at Star Wars Celebration in costume.

Darth Vader? Awesome!

rogue one darth vader star wars

Yes, Anakin Skywalker is returning to Star Wars. Well, not really -- this is Darth freakin' Vader.  And while his role in the film may be small, Vader is sure to be terrifying and powerful whenever he appears on screen. He's even played by a former kickboxer, so if that's any indication we'll see Vader in action like we've never seen him before.

COMING TOMORROW: "5 Reasons the Rebels Are Awesome in Rogue One."