I’ll be the first to admit when Rogue One was announced I was a bit skeptical. Even after seeing the trailer I wasn’t quite sure I wanted to see a slew of new movies telling Star Wars stories. As big a Star Wars fan as I’ve been since Episode 4 I never cared for the expanded universe. The furthest I explored the expanded universe growing up was the Ewok movies! Over the last few years I’ve enjoyed the Clone Wars and Rebels cartoons and since The Force Awakens I have read a few of the new Marvel comics but that’s pretty much it. When they announced the expanded universe was no more, I really didn’t care. So when I headed out to see Rogue One last night I still wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I was ready to find out.
The trick with any film is that you must have interesting characters. The original Star Wars trilogy introduced us to Luke, Leia, Han and a whole cast of others that we fell in love with. The prequels had a good amount of characters both good and bad that we either loved or really hated and The Force Awakens gave us new characters that we look forward to seeing more of. If Rogue One has any problems at all it’s with its cast of characters. Of all the characters in Rogue One my favorite character was K-2SO and that character was a robot.
The movie runs about 2 hours and 15 minutes so there’s not a lot of time to introduce new characters and give them great backstory. Of course by the end of the movie there’s not much reason to look forward to seeing these characters again either. We get just enough backstory to move things forward and just enough development to see the characters go from point A to point B. Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso keeps the movie anchored and carries us through as someone we care about but overall the supporting cast is just there. Aside from Jyn Erso my favorite characters was Alan Tudyk as K-2SO who quite literally steals the movie.
Rogue One is like Episode -4.25
Alas though it’s not these new characters that anchor this movie to the greater universe it’s those that we’ve seen before. Most people knew Darth Vader was in the movie and although he’s not in it very much when he is boy does he steal the screen. We see a Darth Vader here we’ve never seen before and it is glorious! As characters who always get little screen time it was great to see Jimmy Smits as Bail Organa and Genevieve O’Reilly as Mon Mothma in action in this film. I was surprised and pleased with the C-3PO and R2-D2 cameo and the fact that Grand Moff Tarkin is in this movie is amazing and only upstaged by one other character which I’ll keep as an amazing surprise.
Rogue One is kind of Star War’s Titanic, you know the end result but you’re not sure how it’s going to happen. It’s also the first Star Wars movie that’s not part of a trilogy. Those two things are both its strength and weakness. We know our heroes are not going to fail, but ultimately we know our heroes have to fail as well. We know the plans get to the Rebellion but at what cost. Despite this movie being pitched as a complete separate movie, Rogue One ties in very well to the other movies and can literally be Episode -4.25. The best part of Rogue One however is that it does in fact answer one of the biggest Star Wars questions ever, why was it so easy to destroy a massive space station with one well-placed shot.
Overall I give Rogue One a positive rating and I do look forward to watching it again when it’s released for home viewing. Going to see Star Wars movies is always fun because it brings friends together and it’s the only movie series where people clap for the title screen. Disney is going to keep giving us Star Wars movies and if we get a new Star Wars movie every year then that’s not such a bad thing. Ultimately the stories are what will count and characters will come and go. If Rogue One shows us anything it’s that we do in fact enjoy seeing new and old characters tied together so here’s hoping for more of that.
Rogue One at its core its Star Wars, it’s meant to be fun and ultimately it is a welcome addition to the franchise. The Force is truly strong with this one. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.