Well, well, well, lookie what we’ve got here. After going a decade without a Star Wars flick, we are getting ones in consecutive years. The Force Awakens captured everyone’s imaginations in the spirit of the originals. However, Rogue One is not continuing that storyline. Instead, this will be a story about how the rebels stole some plans for the Death Star.
Before I get into some of the stuff I liked about the trailer and the idea, I do have one concern: backtracking. After the incredible forward momentum of The Force Awakens, this movie is a prequel to the original trilogy and we all know how those other prequels went. For me, the prequels failed, because they had an impossible task: tell the story of how Darth Vader, one of the most iconic villains of all-time, went to the dark side. That sort of mystery and intrigue into why he turned bad was an instrumental part of the character. Wasn’t Vader bad enough? Did we really have to see why? As we saw with those movies, no, no we did not.
And that could be an issue in this film as well. A New Hope begins with Vader boarding a ship in search of Princess Leia and some stolen plans. Plans that later proved extremely useful in destroying the Death Star. So, with Rogue One, we are going to learn exactly how this feat was accomplished. Although it is certainly an area ripe with possibilities, but perhaps it is a story better left untold? I’m 26 years old and have seen that first Star Wars movies more times than I can count, which inevitably has led to many thoughts about how Leia came in possession of those stolen plans. There is a lot riding on them delivering that plot line, as it is essentially the action that triggered the events of the entire original trilogy. So, no pressure, guys. The unlimited possibilities that my head imagines will be whittled down to a single event. Don’t get me wrong, I think Gareth Edwards and this team assembled will do a great job, but the last endeavor into pre-A New Hope storyline did not end up going well, so excuse me if I have mild reservations.
Whew, with that said, there is plenty of meat on this bone to chew on. First, I am going to start with the obvious: the aesthetic. This was something JJ nailed in The Force Awakens and it looks like that continuity in look and feel is continued. Especially love the palm tree exotic location. We are going to be brought to a new part of this vast Star Wars universe, which is always a plus.
We are also introduced to the star of the film, Jyn Erso, played by Felicity Jones. She looks to be one tough cookie. “On your own since the age of 15,” a voiceover starts describing, “reckless, aggressive, undisciplined.” To which our heroine replies in badass fashion, “this is a rebellion, isn’t it? I rebel.” Then we see her kicking the butt of multiple stormtroopers. So yeah, I am in on Erso fella.
Sidenote: A friend told me that people were upset that Star Wars is making another film with a female lead. Like, seriously, men actually took issue with this. People need to start complaining about more important things, not women starring in action movies. I’ll be honest, up until this was brought to my attention I did not even realize that Felicity Jones was the lead. I mean, obviously I knew, but I never watched the trailer and went, “Oh, back to back movies with a female lead.” That thought never crossed my mind. I watched this trailer and went, “damn, looks cool.”
I mentioned stormtroopers before. This trailer is loaded with troopers. There are ones we recognize and ones who are being introduced. Again, all for this sort of new world-building. There are so many plausible ways to introduce new anything in this universe, which was something the prequels did not really capitalize on, or I guess tried and failed miserably with the Gungans and freaking Jar-Jar Binks. But this new group of films seems to be making a better effort.
That, and casting a diverse group of actors is also a prerogative of this new wave of movies, which only makes sense. Our earth is a vast place, so shouldn’t THE UNIVERSE be as well? Donnie Yen, Forest Whitaker, and Diego Luna are all reasons to be excited with Yen standing out in particular. His martial arts ability will bring a fresh look at fighting. You can see some of his moves in the trailer. Somewhat reminiscent of Darth Maul, and everybody loved Maul, which the prequels did him a great disservice in cutting him in half in the first movie.
And just one interesting thing to note, this is the first Star Wars movie where John Williams will not be scoring. Alexandre Desplat was handed those duties, so it will be interesting to hear what he comes up with and how similar or different it is from the previous films. Williams’ score was one of the few highlights from the prequels and his work overall for this franchise is iconic, to say the least.
So yeah, this movie has the look of Star Wars, so hopefully the writing is up to par as well. Keep up the good will.
Rogue One hits theaters on my birthday! December 16th, 2016. Happy b-day to me 🙂