Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Mary Shewan

Star Wars is possibly the biggest franchise in the world. There are shirts with Rebel Alliance symbols being sold everywhere, full DVD sets at most Targets, and the words “I love you, I know” are being printed on engagement rings. “A New Hope” was released on May 25, 1977, yet the obsession with Star Wars still hasn’t died down. Why though? Why is there still an obsession with the science fiction trilogy?  Well in short, Star Wars takes society’s obsession with all things space and mixes it with themes that tie back to issues we face today. It’s also something we connect over. Whether it’s sitting down in front of the TV  to watch Star Wars as a family, or getting together to trade limited edition 1982 Han Solo minifigures, we bond over our love for the eight movies. “Rogue One,” the newest addition to the Star Wars universe, continues the tradition of meshing marvelous visuals with characters that have the same hopes, dreams and issues that we deal with in our non-fiction world.

Every Star Wars movie before “Rogue One” was an episode, meaning that the stories were tied together and had recurring story lines, characters and plots. “Rogue One,” on the other hand, is a Star Wars story. This means that it fits into the Star Wars timeline; however, it has its own characters and plot. There will also not be an official sequel (even though “A New Hope” is the next movie in the timeline). This allows “Rogue One” to carve its own place into the Star Wars franchise. We get to know the characters over the course of two hours and 13 minutes and we never see them again.

Every single branch of Star Wars seems to have one friendship that everyone loves and causes viewers heartache in the end. Han Solo and Luke, Obi Wan and Anakin, Finn and Poe and now it’s the entire team. This group, made of Jyn, Cassian, k-2, Chirrut, Baze and Bodhi was a dysfunctional team that became functional in the end. Jyn Foster, played by Felicity Jones was naive and annoying, and didn’t deserve the title of main character or leader. Riz Ahmed was a stand out as the lovable Rogue pilot, Bodhi. Diego Luna, however, really carried the film, with his portrayal as the gruff pilot, Cassian. The casting choices were superior and each actor fully developed their characters, which made the movie more enjoyable to the audience (even if you didn’t like the characters).

Rogue One released a trailer on Aug. 11 and used the last few seconds of the trailer to generate curiosity and hype for the movie. After the title page flashed we were given a shot of a helmet backlit by red lights. This shot was accompanied by the iconic mechanical breathing Star Wars fans associate with Darth Vader. The world lit up after this, and suddenly “Rogue One” became one of the most anticipated movies of 2016. Many critics were worried that this scene wouldn’t be the Darth Vader that is at the front of almost every Star Wars movie. The few scenes with Darth Vader were quite different from the Darth Vader we know; however, they provided a lot more context for the things seen in Episode 4 and beyond (you can check out an interesting video on what “Rogue One” means for Darth Vader here).  Despite the intensity of the trailer scene, the main scene with him was slightly underwhelming and disappointing. Anyone who has seen Darth Vader on screen associates him with the fear he instills in the galaxy. Darth Vader would never say a pun (especially not one as bad as “careful not to choke on your aspirations”). It was poorly done and wasn’t needed. The final “Rogue One” scene made up for that scene, though. The obvious fear that Darth Vader strikes in the Rebellion played on the screen wonderfully.  It also allowed the audience to understand the power that Darth Vader has, especially since he is still a relatively new threat in “Rogue One”.

None of the characters could save the movie from the plot. There were too many small stories and unnecessary details making the audience unclear on what story or characters would matter in the end. There were too many Easter eggs and cameos shown, that someone would have to watch it three times to fully comprehend them

“Rogue One” was definitely not the best Star Wars movie (that honor goes to “Empire Strikes Back”), and it certainly wasn’t the worst (that honor goes to “A Phantom Menace”). It’ll fit into your Star Wars DVD set nicely and is worth watching.


Photo courtesy of Disney