Rogue One: A Story of Courage

     One would think maybe another Star Wars film should wait a few more years, but it looks like the Star Wars hype train (or hype starspeeder) is just getting started and is ready to jump into hyperspace. As the Star Wars franchise will continue to make new movies yearly, starting with last year’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens and continuing in December 16, 2016, with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

     Rogue One will usher in a new perspective on the Star Wars story, as a group of rebels led by Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) are forced to come together to steal the plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the Death Star. The film will take place before Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope and after Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and will introduce audiences and fans to brand new characters. Such as Jyn Erso, a rebellious freedom fighter with a checkered past, Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), a Rebel intelligence officer who joins Erso, and K-2SO (Alan Tudyk), an imperial droid who joins the Rebel alliance after having his memory wiped, bringing his tall stature and twisted humor to the alliance.

     But this won’t be like any other Star Wars movie, as this film will focus on characters that are neither Jedi or Skywalker and instead use their blasters and wit to defeat the Empire, rather than the force or lightsabers. This will also be different because this isn’t a sequel to The Force Awakens, but a spinoff as Rogue One will be the first of a planned trilogy of anthology films that will shine a new light on specific characters and will not crossover with the main saga, but will be in the same continuity.

     Yet, the significance of this film, is really that it will not only carry the amount of pressure to satisfy fans but are audiences ready for Star Wars without Skywalkers? Because the film must create likeable and relatable characters, to make up for not having any Skywalkers and if successful, we could see more anthology movies based on other non-Skywalker characters. But it’s not just Skywalkers, not many pre-existing characters are in the film with a few Rebel Alliance figures from past films, but has one classic character everyone is dying to see, Darth Vader. Rogue One is a first step into this larger world, of expanding on past events or characters, which will continue in 2018, when the Han Solo origin story is released and in 2020, when the unknown third anthology film will be released.

     The Director of the film is Gareth Edwards, who looks to have a tone that is different from the other films, with a gritty, wartime tone and deal with the struggles that war causes, yet carry the optimistic theme of ordinary people can be capable of accomplishing the extraordinary things. On what the audience should expect with the film’s tone and setting , he has said “It’s the reality of war. Good guys are bad. Bad guys are good. It’s complicated, layered; a very rich scenario in which to set a movie.” On board with him on the film is Kathleen Kennedy, the producer of Jurassic Park, E.T the Extraterrestrial, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens to help him guide the film in the direction that will make it fit into the cohesive Star Wars storyline.

      One thing that makes every Star Wars movie memorable is the cast and Rogue One is no exception. Alongside Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, and Alan Tudyk are a diverse cast consisting of Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen, Riz Ahmed, Forest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen, and Ben Mendelsohn playing the antagonist, Director Orson Krennick. With the amount of talent in this film, Rogue One will no doubt contain strong performances that will win audiences and critics everywhere.

     With a franchise as large as Star Wars, Rogue One has sure captured the attention of everyone, including sea kings here at PVHS. Although people may find the new Star Wars movie so soon to be great, some may think of it as a cash grab opportunity for the Walt Disney Company, as Junior Steven Jenkinson said: “Well to me it’s a lot more commercial, to be honest.” But Junior Brandon Williams has a more positive opinion as he said: “It’s awesome, I’m excited about it, but I don’t think it’s going to be as good as the original or The Force Awakens.” We shall see in December if it’s awesome as Brandon mentions it or if Steven was right about it being just a film that is really just a cash grab film.

     Overall with a great talent behind and in front of the camera, Rogue One is looking to be  a giant hit for Disney, that will pave the way for more spinoffs and keep interest high in the franchise especially with one coming every year.