The wait is almost over. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will hit the cinemas on December 16th. I don’t know about you, but I am really excited to see what this new exploration of the Star Wars universe brings. A fresh perspective on the attack on the Death Star from Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope. And, let’s not forget it is the first of the Star Wars Anthology Series. A series of four (until now) announced stand alone Star Wars movies The extended Star Wars Universe is brought to the big screen. It’s a great time for to be a fan.
A Star Wars release is not ‘just’ about the movie itself. It’s about months (years) of anticipation, new set photo’s, trailers, merchandise, toys… just, endless fun. For some, all this is annoying. They want to hear and see as little as possible before the movie hits theaters.
Not me, I love to indulge in al the pleasures of anticipation. For me, thats half the fun.
So, lets take a look what we know of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
There are three official trailers. We have a tease trailer, trailer #1, trailer #2 and the Jyn and Cassian Extended TV Spot. There are more, also released by StarWars.com, but I believe these are the main ones.
Quite an introduction, right? We meet Jynn Erso, Mon Mothma, Cassian Andor, Saw Gerrera, and whole lot of Storm Trooper/AT-AT/Star Destroyer eye-candy. And, off course, the villain. Orson Krennic. But, what’s up with Jynn Erso in the suit of some sort of TIE Fighter pilot? And the pay attention to what Saw Gerrera says: “What will you do when they catch you? What will you do if they break you? When you continue to fight. What will you do?” Gets my juices flowing. Every time.
A lot of new pretty pictures (and some we saw in the teaser). But the one take away is at the end. He’s back!
More information. The trailer leads with a bit of backstory and introduces Galen Erso, Jynn’s father and apparently someone very important to both the Rebellion and the empire. Also, more beautiful shots and new questions.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story follows a band of rebel fighters who steal the plans for the first Death Star to aid in it’s destruction (Spoiler: the succeed, the First Death Star is destroyed, see the Star Wars: A New Hope). The movie thus focuses on the resistance to the Galactic Empire, which is building momentum and is about ready for their first big hit. Told from a ground-war perspective, Rogue One is essentially a SciFi heist-movie that focuses on the mere mortals in the rebel army. And while the Jedi mythos has been at the center of every movie in the Star Wars Universe we have seen up until now, in Rogue One their part is small(er).
Also, the tone of the movie is rumored to be a bit different from what we are used to. The original trilogy (Episodes IV to VI) and the prequel trilogy (Episodes I to III) painted a pretty black and white picture of right and wrong. Light side versus dark side, Rebel Alliance versus the Galactic Empire. Pretty moralistic. And although the first movie from the sequel trilogy – Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens – shows characters in moral doubt (Finn leaving the First Order Storm Troopers, Kylo Ren confessing that he feels drawn to the light side), Rogue One is rumored to take it to a whole new level. One big shade of grey.
Off course, there is still much unknown about who will be featured in Rogue One. But there are a few on who we have some information. Mind you, this is all speculation.
As in Episode VII, Rogue One will feature a female character fulfilling one if not the key role. Jyn Erso (played by Felicity Jones) is – as we have seen in the trailer – a born and bred fighter with little appreciation for authority. A perfect fit for the Rebel Alliance. Jyn is instrumental in acquiring the plans to the Death Star and she will confront Darth Vader himself.
Galen Erso (played by Mad Mikkelsen) is the engineer behind the construction of the Death Star. He is a renowned polymath and the preeminent authority on crystals and their use in supplying enhanced power. Apparently useful in both light sabers and planet sized super weapons. Recruited by the Empire to work on their planet killer, he will probably be confronted with his estranged daughter: Jynn Erso. Check for interesting family ties beyond the barrier of good and evil (Luke & Leia/Darth Vader, Han Solo/Kylo Ren)
Saw Gerrera (played by Forest Wihtaker) is a resistance fighter and the leader of the Onderon rebels. Besides from the deeper Star Wars lore he is known from his role in The Clone Wars. An animated television series set between the events of Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. In the series he fought alongside Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Battle of Onderon. His role in Rogue One is still unclear. It will be interesting to find out what his part in the story is. But he looks awesome.
We don’t know how, but the most characteristic super villain of pop culture is featured in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Although we have only seen Darth Vader’s reflection and heard his characteristic breathing, we know he is in there (see trailer #?). Furthermore, we will see rebel leader Mon Mothma as portrayed by Genevieve O’Reilly in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Finally, it is worth mentioning that Senator Bail Organa (played by Jimmy Smith) from the Prequel movies will return tot Rogue One. Off course, he is best known for being priness Leia’s adopted father.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will be the first installment of the franchise that will have to make due without the genius of John Williams’ movies scores. His influence on the movies cannot be underestimated. Just check the video below. A scene from the original trilogy without the music of John Williams.
Before the trailers, when only the title was released, many thought that the movie would be about the legendary elite pilots in the X-wing squadron featured in previous Star Wars movies (as well as in numerous books and video games). We haven’t seen anything indicating a large role for the Rogue Squadron, but surely we will see the beloved X-wing. See trailer #2 for confirmation.
As with any big movies release, especially a franchise as loved and cherished as Star Wars, the merchandise manufacturers are doing their best to relieve you of you hard earned dollars. Personally, I have a love/hate relationship with this. I hate the capitalization of the stories I love. But I also understand that’s how the world works. And I understand that the fact that a lot of money can be made making these kinds of movies, is the reason that these movies are made in the first place. So, the flesh is weak, and I indulge. Here are my favorites:
Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel is the essential back story to the movie. Mind you, it is not the official ‘novelization’ of the movie itself. That one is released just after the movie. This book introduces the Erso family during the early days of the Empire and the event leading up to the events in the movie. A great read if you want to go into the movie a bit more prepared.
As with any Star Wars-installment, you can indulge in a boatload of great toys. Here are my favorites (and yes, I love the vehicle models):
X-Wings and TIE fighter models:
The release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is just around the corner. If you can’t wait, my recommendation is to read the book. Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel will keep you busy and you’ll learn some back story. Watching trailers over and over again will drive you crazy. Believe me, I know. I think I’m an airplane. Cookoo!