It’s that magical time of the year again. Forget about christmas, presents came early this year with Star Wars: Rogue One.
Star Wars: Rogue One
A major weapons test is imminent. The Death Star is almost complete and the Rebellion is about to be crushed by the power of the Empire. But there is hope. An imperial pilot delivers a message and the Rebell Alliance puts together a small team to follow its instructions. Part of it is Jyn Erso, an imperial prisoner rescued by the Alliance because they believe her to be the key to the message as it came from her father. As a new member of the Alliance, she and the others in her team have to infiltrate an imperial archive to secure the plans of the most powerful weapon in history.
Last year’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens hit theaters to overall critical success, not to speak of its commercial impact, but the main point of criticism was that it was more or less just A New Hope again, the first ever Star Wars movie. And even though I enjoyed Force Awakens quite a lot, that is something I have to agree with. The main Star Wars movies have a formula that more or less dictates where the plot of its „sub-trilogy“ goes, something that was well executed in the original trilogy and became a total mess in the prequels. And it’s a formula that last year’s film followed to a certain extend as well. But here’s the good news: Star Wars: Rogue One isn’t part of any trilogy. It is its own story (A Star Wars Story as the title is quick to tell us) and in many ways very distanced from any other story in the franchise. But, and this might sound strange, it’s closer and more connected to one story in this universe and only this one. Episode IV: A New Hope, the original, the start of this universe.
Rogue One is set somewhere between a week and a few days before the opening of the original and especially the film’s end appears to be set only hours before people all around the world saw the opening crawl for the first time in 1977. And with this timeframe in mind, it’s no surprise that Rogue One banks more on nostalgia than Force Awakens dared. Important characters from A New Hope have to make an appearance in this one, well known places in this universe are seen again and these factors, paired with the timeframe of the story, tie Rogue One into the Star Wars universe perfectly. It’s a dark chapter of this universe, but that’s what makes it more interesting than connecting the dots once again in yet another predictable sequel.
Rogue One is a movie that appears to have difficulties finding an identity outside of its universe. Just because director Gareth Edwards managed to make it a part of this universe so well. An integral part no less. The film ends rather abruptly after its big climactic battle, something that just proves it more, that this is a movie that struggles to stand on it’s own feet yet excels as part of something greater. And even though I had thoughts about where to slot this in as part of my movie collection, that’s been decided as it goes right before Episode IV. Because here it comes: Star Wars: Rogue One is the first part of Star Wars: A New Hope! It’s the first part to a story that we didn’t think needed two. But it does. And to make the original Star Wars even better than it already is, almost 40 years later, that’s an achievement!
So if you’re about to watch it, don’t bother with Episode IV, go to the theater and watch it when you come home.
And with this, merry christmas, happy holidays and we’ll see each other next year.
Beitragsbild: Kevin Wendlandt
Bilder: Industrial Light and Magic Ltd./Lucasfilm Ltd.