Right before I sat down to watch Rogue One: A Star Wars Story it dawned on me what a risk this film is for Disney; even though this is quite possibly the biggest franchise in the history of movies, can audiences accept an installment that has no Jedi and principal characters that we have never even met before?
The short of it is that, yes. Yes they sure can.
To help clear up any confusion for the casual fan, this story takes place 19 years after the fall of the Republic, and the rise of the Empire. The Rebellion is in full swing, and they’re on the verge of collapsing. With word being reached that the Empire has a weapon that can destroy entire planets, they recruit the daughter of the architect in charge, Jyn (Felicity Jones) to gather information on this station.
Jyn is partnered up with a whole squad including Cassian (Diego Luna), K2 (Alan Tudyk), Chirrut (Donnie Yen), Baze (Wen Jiang), and Bodhi (Riz Ahmed) to eventually steal the plans for the Death Star and bring hope to the rebellion.
What struck me the most about the movie was just how emotionally invested I was in the characters. Please bear in mind that almost every character is a creation for Rogue One never having appeared in any other sort of media. I had heard some gripes that first two acts slug along, but it was those two acts that made me care. I get that everyone wants to get to the good shit, i.e. the theft of the plans, but understand that the third act only works because we came to care about this team.
I apologize for being so vague on the details that made the story so emotionally engrossing, but I can’t in good conscious ruin the loving craftsmanship that went into the production. Yes there’s a whole lot of fan service, but the core story is about Jyn and her crew.
Its been a few days since I saw the movie, and I can’t shake it. Not even The Force Awakens left me thinking about its stories and characters this much. I was so terrified that Rogue One was going to be an insulting cash grab; instead what we got was an engrossing, heartfelt tale that left me wiping away tears, and an inspirational feeling that I haven’t felt in years.
This, this movie is why I love Star Wars.