In October of 2012, Walt Disney shocked everyone when they bought Lucasfilm for a whopping $4.06 BILLION. Disney now had complete control of the Star Wars universe and everything that happened with it from there forward. They immediately satisfied the Star Wars faithful by announcing the release of a new trilogy to conclude the saga that would take place some time after the events of Return Of The Jedi. Just over three years after the buyout, we were treated to the release of Episode VII The Force Awakens and the foul taste in our mouths that remained from the prequel films, was quickly washed away. Episode VII had everything fans had wanted from the look to the characters, and it appeared this was a good move for everyone involved, including and especially the fans.
Along with the release of three new films in the classic saga, it has been made known that there would also be independent anthology films that took place in the same universe. One of the big movies is going to be a Han Solo origin story which is set to begin filming in February 2017 and has a release set for sometime late 2018. Disney has plans to unveil a new Star Wars movie every year for the foreseeable future.
That brings us up to date, and it brings us to the first independent anthology story from Disney Studios, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. We found out that Rogue One would be the story of the team that stole the plans of the Death Star for the rebel alliance that is used as the first big blow against the empire in the original 1977 masterpiece. Speculation was flying around from day one as to what characters would appear, how would they connect, etc. we will speculate no more because Rogue One has landed.
The basis of this story could not have been much better for a first time venture in this direction with the Star Wars movies. Rogue One had all the pieces to be able to draw everyone in, the timing in the universe is the most familiar to fans, it had the ability to have the style that made everyone fall in love with the original films in the first place. This movie also didn’t have to create something that wasn’t there and make a world and story around it. The very basic plot was something all fans knew about, but the details were all that were needed. This left much room for new creations while grounded in enough established characters to not lose anyone right off the bat.
The first most noticeable difference in Rogue One, as opposed to the seven films in the original saga, is that it does not adhere to the mold that has formed all the others. There is no scrolling prolog setting up the story; it jumps right in. You will also notice markers that label the planets and systems that are visited much like when different cities are identified on screen in spy films. The overall tone of Rogue One is heavier and darker than any previous Star Wars movie; this film does not cater to the children of today. This story is for all the children that have grown up Star Wars fans and are well into adulthood. That is not to say that it will not be enjoyed by all, but this is the movie for the longtime fans of the original trilogy.
Rogue One begins in the early years of the development of the Empire’s greatest weapon, the Death Star. The Empires lead scientist and designer; Galen Erso has fled the project because of his disbelief in the Empire and his love of the rebellion. Now on a remote planet living the life of a farmer, Galen, and his family are soon discovered. Erso is soon taken back to finish his work by Orson Krennic, his former friend. Galen’s wife and daughter flee until his wife returns only to be killed by Krennic. Their daughter is soon rescued by Saw Gerrera who is an extreme believer of the rebellion.
Many years pass and Galen’s daughter, Jyn is grown and is imprisoned but is soon rescued by the Alliance. Jyn is now reluctantly joined with the rebellion and soon finds out that they need her help to find her father so they can obtain the data plans of the newly finished Death Star. While Jyn is skeptical about helping them and her ability to do so, she quickly realizes she can do something significant and meaningful. After an initial rejection from the Alliance Council, Jyn and everyone she has met on her journey, decide to forge ahead with the mission to stealing the plans.
The legendary quest that was only briefly spoken about and never detailed comes to life in a way that I did not think would be as captivating. The mixture of original aspects and the new elements brought to the film is exactly what Star Wars fans have been hoping to see. Where The Force Awakens had everything the fans wanted from the prequels, Rogue One is everything we could have asked for in an entirely new story…and more.
My expectations were high going into Rogue One (as they are with all new Star Wars films) but I can honestly say I did not expect what I saw. It was the first time I did not feel they pandered to me. Rogue One is raw and gritty and doesn’t try to please every demographic. Some will love it like me; some will hate because someone always has to hate it. However, this film is ideal for the entire franchise and has me extremely excited for what more Disney has in the works for this beloved galaxy we love.