Image Credit: Lucasfilm
When Disney bought up the rights to Lucasfilm’s precious library of intergalactic characters back in 2012, one had to wonder how they would capitalize on their investment. Clearly, last year’s “The Force Awakens” instilled hope into the hearts of fans across the globe, with their refreshing continuation in the galaxy far far away. Yet, going forward with the trilogy only goes so far in terms of box office. So, in an effort to squeeze life out of their beloved franchise, the folks over at Disney are putting their efforts into original stories, with new characters. “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is the best fan-film you could ask for. It has all the nods, references, and Easter eggs that can make us all squirm, plus a certain dark sith lord makes his return to the big screen.
Since this is a new stand alone story, the filmmakers opted to omit the opening crawl we have come to appreciate from before, which helps differentiate this is not in the normal “Star Wars” timeline. “Rogue One” is a gigantic puzzle piece that helps connect the events which happened between “Revenge Of The Sith” and “A New Hope” when Leia received the transmission that helped the Rebel Alliance destroy the Death Star.
The story follows Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) the poster child for the Rebels, and the daughter of Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen) a known scientist with ties to the Empire’s new secret weapon. She does what she wants without anyone telling her what to do and how to do it. Jyn serves as another strong female character for young girls (and boys) to look up too, and it makes me giddy that the “Star Wars” universe continues to pave way for diverse casts.
Like all the best heros, Jyn is one searching for answers and at the start of the film the Death Star is a rumor, a project that is being conducted by the villainous Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsaohn). In addition to Jyn there is Forest Whitaker playing Saw Gerrera a rebel insurgent who helped raised her after her father was taken to build the weapon of mass destruction. There is also Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) a spy who helps her steal the Death Star plans. Then you have the comic relief in Alan Tudyk’s CGI performance playing a droid named K-2S0, Bodhi (Riz Ahmed),a pilot tasked with classified information, a blind warrior monk Chirrut Inwe (Donnie Yen) and his machine gun companion Baze Malbus (Wen Jiang).
Gareth Edwards (“Godzilla”) is like the kid who has been given the keys to the candy shop. Being able to answer questions that the most die-hard fans have been asking for a long time. The biggest strength of “Rogue One” however, is that it’s mostly a heist movie, but with "Star Wars" characters. Think “Ocean's 11” in space. But the downside to that results in this adventure being far more darker in tone than any previous entry, nor does it have as much fun. Edwards and his screenwriters try very hard to incorporate as many characters as they can to the point where they almost forget to let the audience in on the action, with many references likely to go over the heads of many non “Star Wars” nerds.
Still, the movie is action packed and the cameo by Darth Vader is one that was met with weeping applause. Even if his scenes are fairly brief, with James Earl Jones behind the voice once again, it’s worth the price of admission alone. “Rogue One” has solid ambition, and I don’t think anybody will be disappointed with how the film ties into the universe. If anything, it makes me excited on how many stories are waiting for us in the wings. B