Annlyel returns to the galactic civil war to reveal why Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is such an amazing Star Wars standalone adventure…
When Lucasfilm announced that they were making Star Wars standalone stories I was definitely excited but also a bit wary of the idea. I was so used to the trilogies that the thought of a film focusing on a story that would consist of only one movie seemed risky. When it was announced that the first Star Wars story would focus on the rebels who stole the Death Star plans I was even more skeptical. It was a story whose conclusion we already knew. How could Lucasfilm potentially make it a movie worth caring about? Now I can only thank Kathleen Kennedy and everyone else behind the creation of this film because it has become my favorite Star Wars movie.
Solo: A Star Wars Story, however, didn’t garner the same love proving that the Star Wars story model wasn’t as foolproof as it seemed. But what was it that made Rogue One: A Star Wars Story such a hit? Well, here are 5 reasons why I think this movie was such an amazing success.
1. Its Superb Originality
While The Force Awakens earned a little over $2 billion dollars! at the box office, it was faulted at times for its derivative storyline. I still remember watching the movie for the first time and actually being able to guess what was going to happen next. I couldn’t do that with Rogue One. Even though it was set in a timeline that we’re pretty familiar with (between Episodes III and IV) it still somehow felt original. The awesome looking TIE Strikers, the menacing Death Troopers, an Imperial facility built on a tropical paradise, these were things about the film that made it stand out among every other Star Wars film.
2. The Compelling Characters
A Star Wars movie without the Skywalkers?! It seemed like a laughably bad idea. But Lucasfilm revealed through Rogue One that the Skywalkers (or even the Jedi for that matter) aren’t needed to make an incredible movie. Rogue One introduced us to six brand new characters with storylines that we had no recollection of, excluding Saw Gerrera who avid Star Wars fans will recognize from The Clone Wars series.
These characters could’ve been uninteresting or annoyances to the film but they weren’t. Jyn Erso, who was only at the time, the second heroine to be the lead in a Star Wars film was engaging, interesting, and her fierce determination to defeat the Empire was inspiring.
Captain Cassian Andor was a hero with a dark side. His role as an assassin in the Rebellion led him to do some pretty questionable things but his devotion to Jyn was special indeed. He fought alongside her to the end and it was beautiful.
Bodhi Rook, to the Empire, would be considered a coward for his traitorous actions but he just may be the unsung hero of the film. If it wasn’t for him defecting and sending Galen’s urgent message to Saw Gerrera the Rebellion wouldn’t have known about the Death Star until it was too late.
K-2SO was an incredibly original droid for the Star Wars standalone film. His stoic attitude was perfect for the serious tone of the film and the fact that he was a reprogrammed Imperial droid made him all the more interesting.
And last surviving members of the Guardians of the Whills, Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus, were simply awesome.
This film didn’t suffer from characters that fans openly despised. There wasn’t a Jar Jar Binks or a Vice Admiral Holdo to take the brunt of Star Wars fans’ frustrations and that proves once again why this is such an incredible movie.
3. The Movie’s Dark Theme
Sometimes when movies try to take the darker route it doesn’t turn out very well. Take Batman vs. Superman for example. Its serious tone was lost in an avalanche of confusing storytelling and boring subplots. Or, if we want to stay in the Star Wars franchise, The Last Jedi. The Last Jedi was trying to be a dark, complex film and while it somewhat achieved its goal scenes like the Canto Bight parts seemed more like prequel offspring than anything, which isn’t good.
Rogue One did not suffer from this.
Rogue One is easily one of the darkest entries in the franchise as it showed the war between the Empire and the Rebellion in all of its gritty glory and even was brave enough to kill off all its heroes. I was shocked when I walked out of that theater for the first time knowing that everyone had died and yet I was elated at the same time. It was the only sensible way to conclude the film considering that these heroes were never seen or talked about in the original trilogy.
Disney proved that they weren’t afraid to take Star Wars to the next level and I appreciated that.
4. Gareth Edwards
I haven’t seen any of Gareth Edwards’ other works but his vision for Rogue One was stunning. While Rogue One‘s grimy, gritty look wouldn’t seem like something worthy of praise I feel that Rogue One is in my top three list of prettiest Star Wars films. His directorial vision was superb as he created a fascinating shot after shot after shot. I mean, just to name a few; the Star Destroyer parked above Jedha City (EPIC), the Death Star rising like a moon of death in Scarif’s orbit, the up close and personal argument between Jyn and Cassian so you can really feel that emotional scene. These are moments in the film that were brought to life by Gareth Edwards’ remarkable vision and if there ever is an Obi-Wan film (or live-action series) I would love to see Gareth Edwards direct it.
5. The Absolutely, Incredibly, Undeniably Epic Ending
After everyone dies and one must recover from the weight of those roiling emotions it doesn’t seem like the movie can get any better right? Wrong. Oh, so wrong. Darth Vader, in one of the greatest Darth Vader moments of all time, turns complete Sith Lord on the Rebels, yanking blasters from the soldier’s fearful grips and cutting them down like they’re lame CPUs in an easy Star Wars game. Every time I watch that scene I stare at the screen with wide eyes filled with gleeful wonder, goosebumps up my arms and chills down my back.
And to make it even better the movie ends with the Death Star plans being given to Princess Leia (yay) and the last shot we see is of the Tantive IV jumping into hyperspace with the “Force Theme” playing all the while. I’m getting chills just thinking about it.
These five reasons are why Rogue One has become my favorite Star Wars movie of all time. It’s practically perfect and epic beyond belief and I am a HUGE fan of epic movies.
I’m glad to see that Star Wars may be getting an idea of what fans really want because after Episode IX it looks like what we’ll be looking forward to is The Mandalorian which is destined to be a gritty series and Cassian’s live-action series which should also possess a darker theme as well.
Until then, I’ll continue to watch Rogue One in amazement as the Star Wars movie that changed my view of the franchise forever.
Where does Rogue One rank in your list of favorite Star Wars movies? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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