Unless you were living in an imperial penal colony, everyone and their dog knows that Rogue One is being released in theatres this week. Rogue One is the first Star Wars standalone / spin off film. Supposedly, these spinoff films will be origin stories that will be released in-between sagas or Episodes. For those very few who haven’t seen any of the trailers, Rogue One is the story about a band of rebels who must steal the plans of the Empire’s new super weapon, the planet killer called The Death Star.
Although The Force Awakens re-established the Star Wars franchise by successfully restoring the feel of the original trilogy, many fans were disappointed in the film’s story line because they claimed it was simply a retelling of Episode 4: A New Hope. Now, although The Force Awakens was a blockbuster, Disney knew there was still a lot of work to do to appease the Star Wars (SW) fan base. Rogue One had a lot to live up to because, this adventure was setting up the original trilogy.
Well, it looks like Disney learned a thing or two from Marvel, when it came to expanding its universe. Rogue One (RO) is a solid film that has heart, hope, action, and adventure. In my opinion, RO may be The film that the fans from the original trilogy have been waiting for.
Director Gareth Edwards and screenwriters Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy wisely kept the look and feel of the original trilogy intact however, because the film takes place before Episode 4: A New Hope, it didn’t have to rely too heavily on the SW mythos. This in turn allowed us, the audience, a new and exciting perspective of the SW universe. RO is an original story that frees itself from the baggage that goes along with the other Episodes. Edwards, Wentz, and Gilroy had freedom to develop the characters and their motivations thus making it a lot easier for the audience to invest in these characters. I believe that the sense of urgency felt within the mission of RO and the film’s required success, eerily mirror each other.
While the sense of hope remains the underlying theme of the film, the team of Edwards, Gilroy and Weitz realised that the SW fan base has grown up; the simple Good vs. Evil storyline has been replaced by one with shades of grey. We see how the multiple factions within the Rebel army each had their own agenda at first but in the end, they come together to become one step closer to how we know and love them in the movies we grew up with.
As for the highlights, there are simply too many to mention, and I don’t want to spoil the film for you. However, if I had to choose, it would be these. First, Mads Mikkelsen as Galen Erso, the creator of the Death Star, leaves a huge impact on the film and the SW universe. His holographic message to his daughter will make parents reach out to their children during the film besides giving fans insight into the creation of the Death Star. Second, Alan Tudyk (Firefly) offers great comic relief; voicing a reprogrammed empirical Droid K-2SO. Watch out R2-D2 there’s a new Droid in town. Mark my words; K-2SO will become a fan favourite.
Rogue One is a great addition to the Star Wars Universe, the story and characters are incredibly engaging but parents be warned, the film is very dark and although we don’t see any blood, there is a lot of killing.
To sum it all up, I think the trailer said it best, rebellions are based on hope and so are franchises. Rogue One is A New Hope that the Star Wars Franchise is heading in a bold, new, and exciting direction.