This past Saturday, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story premiered in Hollywood. As is evident from all the marketing, the film debuts in theaters this Friday, December 16th. There has been less buzz about this movie in comparison to Star Wars: The Force Awakens. However, based on the trailers, marketing, and what is known about the plot, Rogue One could find itself among the top of the Star Wars Pantheon. Here are five reasons why Rogue One: A Star Wars Story could be the best Star Wars yet.
An Impressive and Underrated Cast
For the first reason to believe that this film could be the best in the Franchise look no further than the cast. Forest Whittaker an academy award winner and legend of the industry, Felicity Jones, an academy award nominated actress as the lead character. Donnie Yen is a renowned director and choreographer. Mads Mikkelsen, Ben Mendelsohn, and Diego Luna, three actors who are great in everything they play in and superstars on the international scene.
Yes, there have been amazing casts lineups before. Most notably, the prequels had quite a bit of star power. Most of the cast of Rogue One aren’t household names. But besides Forest Whittaker, this cast is a who’s who of talent you don’t yet know of, but should know.
It Is Its Own Story
Rogue One has the possibility to deliver all of the classic elements from the previous original trilogy that we all remember and love. Some of the movie will have to be set inside the Death Star a la A New Hope. This movie will be loaded with action, both in the air and on the ground a la Return of the Jedi. Ultimately, even though we know the Rebellion will get the plans, the bad guys will make their presence known and win the day a la Empire Strikes Back. All of the things we love about the original trilogy, condensed into one truly stand alone movie. There’s something beautiful about that. There will not be any cliffhangers. Half of the plot will not be building up for a future franchise. We will get a purely functional, self contained story in this cinematic experience.
That also raises the stakes in the film. We knew that Rey and Finn probably weren’t in any true danger in The Force Awakens. The same is true about most of the other main characters in the Franchise. Yeah of course there was Qui-Gon, Ben Kenobi, and Han, but the mentor always bites it in the hero’s tale movies. In this film, we truly don’t know we will make it out alive. And if this movie is somewhat inspired by Seven Samurai as it’s suspected, chances are most of them will not make it to the end of the film.
Exploring the Force Without the Jedi
There will be no Jedi in this film. This is the only film in the franchise were at least one Jedi doesn’t make an appearance (technically Luke is considered a Jedi and did appear in Episode 7 albeit briefly). However, that does not mean the force will not have a strong presence in this movie. Almost all of the trailers show connections to the force. Whether it’s the blind samurai type character in Imwe played by Donnie Yen, the kyber crystal given to a young Rey, or the classic farewell of “May the force be with you” the force has a strong presence in the marketing. In fact, a major setting of the movie is Jedha, a purported Jedi Mecca of old. Oh yes, Rogue One is going to delve into the mysticism of the force and hopefully expand its lure far better than the prequels ever did.
Absence from the Skywalker Lineage
Rogue One will do something for the first time in the cinematic Star Wars Franchise; it will tell a story that does not completely revolve around a Skywalker. Yes, Luke is alive and living his teenage life on distant Tatooine none the wiser of the rebellion at this point. Darth Vader will be in this film, but in a limited role. The plot of this film will involve fresh characters from both sides of the conflict.
Rogue One will not be a story of good versus evil, a plot that has been repeated throughout the franchise. Hopefully, what Rogue One will be is a tale of the ambiguity of war. This film will have the freedom to delve into the emotional side of an intergalactic war. Rogue One has the ability to be a very gripping human story of freedom, rebellion, order, rule of law, and how sometimes those ideas clash without necessarily being routed in evil intentions.
Expanding a Galaxy Far Far Away
Rogue One will have another important significance as well. It will expand the Star Wars Universe as we currently know it. We already mentioned Jedha and the importance it will play as a setting in the film. Also of importance are the characters.
For the first time, a major character in a film will have been based off of a character from the expanded universe. Saw Gerrara, played by Forest Whittaker, is a character created for the Clone Wars animated series (which is extremely good by the way). This opens the door for future characters that are being created in the novels, books, and comics, to make a cinematic appearance.
Of course we have seen hints of this before. The Force Awakens had some tie-in characters and also included Snap Wexley, a character from the novel Aftermath, but none as important as Saw appears to be in Rogue One. The appearance of a character from the Expanded Universe is not only awesome; it will legitimatize the Expanded Universe.
Could Rogue One: A Star Wars Story be the best of the franchise? Only time will tell. We’ll all know soon enough when Rogue One premieres in theaters this Friday, December 16th.