When Rogue One was first announced, I wasn’t sure what to think. Early marketing had me thinking we were going to get this gritty, military-heavy story about a group of rebels stealing the Death Star plans. And no Jedi. No Jedi?? And haven’t we already been over the whole Death Star plans story in the books and comics? I was excited for a new Star Wars movie, but wasn’t sure this one was going to tick all the boxes for me.
Once trailers and clips started to be released, I began to come around on the idea. This looked like a solid movie with a great cast. Maybe Star Wars could be more than Skywalkers and lightsabers. By the time I sat in my seat at the press screening, I was all in. I was ready for something new. Something different.
I was not disappointed. I do not say that lightly. Nothing about Rogue One disappointed me. It’s hard for me to not just say something elementary like, “It was so good you guys!” Characters like Jyn, Cassian, and Bodhi, who I thought I had figured out, completely surprised me. Other characters I knew I’d enjoy, like K-2SO and Krennic, were even better than I expected.
Rogue One succeeded in giving us Star Wars, but also giving us something completely different. We have seen plenty of droids before, but we have never seen anything like K-2SO. His personality and humor were standout elements of the movie. So much so, I almost felt bad for the other characters, because he got all the good lines. And if you think you have already heard all his best lines in the trailers and clips, just wait. Krennic was a new kind of Imperial officer. He was cocky, smarmy, insecure, driven, ruthless, and so fun to watch. There really wasn’t one character in the movie that was a type we had seen in Star Wars before.
If you are worried about this being purely a military movie, it really wasn’t. Well at least not any more than any other Star Wars movie. There are ground battles and space battles, but they are not the bulk of the film. Those portions of the movie are done really well though. The space battles specifically rival any we have seen in previous Star Wars films. But the movie is so much more. It is filled with exotic locations, interesting creatures, emotional moments, and even the Force. All the elements you expect from a Star Wars film.
Fans of the Original Trilogy should enjoy all the connections and references found in the film. Some were subtle and some were right in your face. More than once I found myself surprised and impressed by the inventive ways they were able to include things from the Original Trilogy. There was one moment where I almost fell out of my seat. There were subtle nods to other things like Star Wars Rebels and Legends as well. I’m sure I missed some things, and I hope to catch more in future viewings.
This is a movie, I think, Star Wars fans and the general audience will love. I have a feeling it will surprise people just like it surprised me. I’m not ready to say it is my favorite Star Wars film, but in this moment of post-viewing high, it feels like it’s in the running. If this is what we can expect from the future of Star Wars standalone films, I can’t wait to see what else Lucasfilm has in the works.