*Spoiler warning* for anyone who hasn’t seen “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” in their local theater.
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is the first Star Wars standalone film, and it was a complete game changer from what we thought to be the “norm” for a Star Wars film. It took tremendous risks by breaking ranks. This Star Wars film is unlike any other Star Wars film we have ever seen to date, and it will forever change how we view the original Star Wars film that became a cultural phenomenon back in 1977. And quite possibly, alter our perception on the entire original trilogy.
A Star Wars Story
The notion of “safe and sound” is quite possibly, a thing of the past in the Star Wars universe. Rogue One was a choice. It involved a great risk with a chance to make a real difference. It is the first story that doesn’t end on a high note, yes, even The Empire Strikes Back, as dark as it was in tones and themes, ended with our main cast alive and full of Hope. In fact, this is the first time we’ve experienced this big of a sacrifice in the galaxy far, far away. Granted, we saw the purge of the Jedi in Revenge of the Sith with the initiation of Order 66 by Emperor Palpatine, but what took place on Scarif was an altogether different experience. It gave others a reason to stand up and continue to fight and to save the dream, save the Rebellion and keep Hope alive.
So yes, Gareth Edwards took risks with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and with those risks came something wonderful, a real, relatable, believable story situation that is sure to capture the hearts of many adoring Star Wars fans. This cast was a band of real everyday people fighting for the same cause, the same purpose, the same common goal, to stop the reign of terror and bring back diplomacy to the people. But to achieve that goal takes a lot of small steps, and Rogue One was willing to take as many as they could or until the last step (chance) was spent, starting with getting the plans to the planet killer, the Death Star.
Rogue One Crew
This band of Rebels known as Rogue One was some of the best characters the Star Wars universe has ever given us. They’re complicated yet they have a pureness about them that leaves you wanting to know more. Through each situation, you can’t help but cheer them on each step of the way.
Jyn Erso is every bit the heroine I wanted to see and more. She’s brave, bold, and has an immeasurable amount of compassion for others. Even for K2, the reprogrammed Imperial droid gone Rebel, even he has found a place in her ever growing heart. Which says a lot about her character considering she’s the least likely to be trusted by anyone, Imperial and Rebel alike. Everyone she comes in contact with, seem to misjudge her intentions, except for Chirrut Îmwe , the guardian of the Whills. This moment spoke volumes to me. Their connection, in my opinion, was a joining through the Force. It only enhanced the Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel that much more for me, and affirmed Jyn’s inherited connection to the Force through her mother, Lyra.
Jyn aside, the entire Rogue crew is dynamically magnificent! They all play an important role, no matter the size, in the story. Chirrut and Baze are the new “odd couple,” filling the void for the famed droids, R2-D2 and C3PO. Their interactions with not only each other but towards the rest of the crew are refreshingly new and yet, pay a nostalgic tribute to their predecessors.
Captain Cassian Andor and K-2SO are contagiously captivating with their sarcastic humor. Honestly, it’s an evolved Han Solo and Chewbacca duo because you can now understand both sides of the conversation. And then there’s Bodhi, the defected Imperial pilot, sent with a message in tow by Galen Erso (Jyn’s father) to reach and instruct Saw Gerrera how to defeat the superweapon he helped create. As nervous and jittery as he is, he sticks to his guns and stands firm when it comes to doing what is right, and that is no easy feat. He is nothing, if not, determined.
Continuity in Star Wars is just as important as the saying, “May the Force be with you.” So, seeing familiar faces within this standalone film was every bit the necessity as it was to make sure that the timelines cross and connect without any hiccups or in other words, skips between parsecs. Familiar characters such as: Mon Mothma, Bail Organa, Saw Gerrera, Tarkin, and even Princess Leia. Even callbacks or shoutouts to General Syndulla, Red Leader, Gold Leader, and of course, spotting the Ghost ship above Scarif. Oh, I’m sure I missed a few, but the Easter eggs and continuity connections were enough to make any fan Squee with Star Wars joy!
Speaking of squeeing, did I mention Darth Vader? DARTH VADER! Yes, the original, man in black is back. And he was sithly glorious in all his dark sided awesomeness. Seeing him wreak havoc on the big screen was something none of us have ever seen before. Oh, we’ve read about it in Paul S. Kemp’s “Lords of the Sith,” but to see it, well, the visual impact is immeasurable.
Director Krennic’s Aspirations
“Be careful not to choke on your aspirations, Director.” – Lord Vader
One of the best-delivered lines in the movie was by none other than Darth Vader in regards to Director Krennic’s self-indulged arrogance. This was probably Krennic’s best moments too. There, on Mustafar, at Vader’s castle, Krennic was starting to see just how far his delusions of the Imperial promotional ladder had blinded him from the truth. The truth, of his own atrocities, would be the very thing that would kill him. That so-called, immeasurable power, would be seen and felt by Krennic as he took his last breath. Ah, the irony, at its finest.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, is a story within a story, and the beginning of something new. It’s a unique spin on what we thought we already knew as Star Wars, and it will and has, forever changed the way we view A New Hope and beyond. The ambiguity that makes Star Wars so generational today is because of its ability to evolve and change as we do and Rogue One is proof of that. It made me laugh and cheer out loud. I gasped in suspense and in surprise. I also cried when the characters that I met, in this single film, lost their lives before they even had a chance to live. So, with a heavy heart, I echo Admiral Raddus … Rogue One, may the Force be with you.
“I am one with the Force and the Force is with me.” – Chirrut Îmwe
Are you one, one with Rogue One?
- Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is now playing in theaters.
The Cantina Cast
The wretched hive your Jedi Master warned you about!
Becca Benjamin is a Medical Receptionist for a Retina Specialist, and the Editor-in-chief for The Cantina Cast, an innovative and thought-provoking Star Wars podcast and website, with a down-to-earth approach. She is also a host (with co-host Mark Sutter) on Tarkin’s Top Shelf, a literary Star Wars podcast and the personal author for Lucasfilm artist Steve Anderson. Becca is a monthly blog contributor to Coffee with Kenobi.