Rogue One – An Authentic Addition to the Star Wars Franchise written by: Ussie7 For the past 40 years, the Star Wars franchise has captured the imagination and spellbound millions of fans worldwide. It has treated us with the ruthless sadism of Darth Vader, the alpha charm of Han Solo and the development of Luke Skywalker from orphaned youth to hero of the galaxy all during the cinema-changing original trilogy. The less successful second trilogy focused on giving us an in-depth look into the transition of Anakin Skywalker from a child with untapped potential for good into the menacing dark lord of the Empire. After Disney took control of the franchise, they launched it’s continuation with the highly acclaimed Episode VII, The Force Awakens, introducing fans to new defenders of the galaxy such as Finn, Rey and Poe Dameron. However, Disney also decided that for the first time in 40 years, the Star Wars franchise will have spin-offs to complement the main story continuity. Hence, they selected Gareth Edwards to direct it’s first spin-off: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. It is an understatement to say that it very much held it’s own in terms of adding to the legacy of the franchise.
Set in between Episode III (Revenge of the Sith) and Episode IV (A New Hope), Rogue One is the story of how the Rebels managed to snare the Death Star plans. It picks up with a white-caped Director Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn), an unusually smugly spoken Empire villain, forcefully taking Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen), a talented architect, with him to complete the design and architecture of the Death Star. Most significantly though, Galen’s daughter Jynn Erso (Felicity Jones) is able to evade the clutches of the Empire. She grows into a strong and maverick young woman who eventually finds herself into the lap of the Rebel Alliance, who have now discovered about this lethal weapon and it’s catastrophic potential. As a result, the Rebels are able to recruit a group of mercenaries. With the addition of Jynn, this team includes Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), a tough and opinionated intelligence officer; K-2SO (Alan Tudyk), a wisecracking former Imperial droid. They are later joined by two bad-ass warriors from the planet Jedha in the forms of Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen) and Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen). The team is also added to by Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmad), a brilliant Imperial cargo pilot who decided to defect through Galen’s influence. The purpose of their deployment by the Rebellion is to fully understand the Death Star, the destruction it can potentially wreak, and through stealing the original blueprints, deduce how to put an end to this doomsday machine.
Rogue One very much demonstrated right from the beginning that it was a first hand war film. More than any other Star Wars film, it quickly establishes how the protagonist, in this case Jynn, has grown up with tremendous loss at the hands of a ruthless Empire, seeing her mother mortally shot right in front of her eyes followed by the abduction of her father all at such a young age. This very much becomes the precursor to how much Jynn is determined to sacrifice in order to achieve victory over the tyranny of those who have caused her and many others across the galaxy. At one point, she even defies the wishes of the Rebel commanders as she truly believes in the cause she is fighting for and she believes fully that her way of action has the Rebellion’s best interests at heart. However, the mostly serious tone of the film is also well balanced by the intermittent gags provided by K-2SO. The Jedha warriors came out as great fan favorites of the film, especially Imwe with his continuous and catchy saying “I am one with the Force, the Force is with me” during fight scenes, with were choreographed impeccably. Fans were amazed at how the creators of the film were spectacularly able to digitally superimpose Grand Moff Tarkin onto actor Peter Cushing to make him an important component of the film. The icing on the cake was very much the highly intimidating cameo appearance of Darth Vader during the middle and end of the films, especially during his almost fatal force choking of Director Krennic.