Preparing for The Rise of Skywalker – Part V: Rogue One
Rogue One was the first of the somewhat free-standing “antology films”. Directed by Gareth Edwards, and with an amazing cast including Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen and many more, it tells the story about the mission to steal the plans for the first Death Star.
Being the Star Wars fan that I am, I have watched Star Wars regularly throughout my life. I clearly remember the first time I watched a Star Wars film.
Rogue One manages something very special. It is new and engaging, telling an exciting story about characters we really care for, and at the same being a true part of the first, original story from 1977. It is a hero’s journey, and a perfect Star Wars story, yet something completely new and different. It is gritty, dirty. It is a war movie. It is the Black Hawk Down and Saving Private Ryan of Star Wars.
Director Gareth Edwards really gets the best out of his cast in Rogue One. We’re used to the black and white of Star Wars. Good versus evil. Rebels versus Empire. But in Rogue One, that notion is challenged. We meet Cassian Andor, a spy and sometimes assassin, doing bad things for a good cause. We meet Saw Gerrera, a freedom fighter and terrorist. And though the story is seen from Jyn Erso’s point of view, it is very much an ensemble story.
And of course, that one scene with Chirrut Îmwe and Baze Malbus, my two favorite characters in the Rogue One. That scene. You know the one. I always struggle to hold back my tears in that scene.
Also, love the nod to the earlier drafts of the original Star Wars screenplay. Chirrut and Baze are former “Guardians of the Whills”, with a religious doctrine centered around “The Force of Others”. These were elements of the earlier drafts by George Lucas. Other examples of such elements have begun to find their way into other parts of the franchise, such as Star Wars Rebels (but more on that later).
If Rogue One is an example of the quality and story telling we’ll see in the upcoming Cassian Andor series on Disney+, it will be a bright future for Star Wars indeed. But I never really had any doubt about that.