A Rogue One-derful Star Wars Story

Like many Star Wars fans (well, let’s be honest, most), I thoroughly enjoyed Rogue One from the moment “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….” emblazoned the screen until the end credits were rolling. It was a gritty war movie, as advertised, but it had a ton of heart (more than I’d anticipated), well-placed comedy, intense action, and an incredible adventure that seemed to take us to all ends of the galaxy. It was literally everything I wanted it to be and more. I’ve still only seen it once (but that number will go up quickly over the next couple weeks), and I wanted to let the experience sink in before I wrote anything, but, now that the Star Wars Story dough has properly risen, I’m going to point out a few of my favorite moments from what’s sure to be the first of many, many standalone Star Wars films…

Sabotage

I think my absolute favorite story element is the addition of Galen purposefully creating the exhaust port fault that causes the chain reaction. It’s not an over-looked engineering flaw or some kind of byproduct of the Emperor’s stringent time frames pressing their scientists so hard they have to take shortcuts, no, it’s Galen actually designing it that way, and in such a clever manner that no one noticed – not even after the plans were stolen and the Empire had time to double-check. It took them until the Death Star was already under attack to realize there may be a weakness, and even then it sounded as if they weren’t completely sure. Talk about playing the long con…he had to have decided incredibly early on to configure it that way, before he knew how he’d let anyone know, if anyone ever would know, or if he’d ever get caught. It’s either a testament to Galen’s brilliance or Krennic’s egotistical self-assurance that he’d broken Galen that the Director never picked up on the trap Galen was setting. And, too, given the type of personality that seems to rise to the top in the Empire, it’s impressive that some lower-level engineer didn’t notice the flaw and call attention to it as a means to increase his/her standing with his/her superiors. Galen’s treachery is a lot like that of the civilian workers that sabotaged Imperial equipment they were producing on Lothal, except on a much, much larger scale…and, like I mentioned, he never got caught, which makes a huge difference in the end result…it’s almost as if, over all that time, Galen was one with the Force, and the Force was with him…

The Whills

I absolutely love the explosion of viewpoints on the Force we’re getting in the current canon. It’s no longer the black and white, light and dark, good and evil struggle of the Jedi vs. the Sith; it’s the broader Force and all it’s many interpretations. And in Rogue One we get an homage to perhaps its oldest interpretation with the Guardians of the Whills, as well as a whole slew of different Force-worshiping coteries that are represented by mostly elaborately-garbed pilgrims that made their way to Jedha to pay their respects to the ancient, Force-rich world. I’m incredibly curious about all of these different sects and the ins and outs of their belief systems. Are they cults that worship the Force as a deity? Do they worship it because they’re in awe of its power, or do they believe praying to it will entice it to make its will align with their requests? Are the pilgrims all devout believers, or are there some going along with the crowd hoping to be able to learn how to harness even a sliver of the Force’s power? I wonder if any of them worship other Force users, like the Bendu, as well as worshiping the Jedi like Lor San Tekka’s Church of the Force, or if they’re all more interested in reverence for the mystical energy itself and not so much with those that use it. I feel like there’s so much you could get into with the various pilgrims alone, not to mention whatever Force-related religions aren’t present on Jedha, that you could easily fill an entire “Ultimate Guide” type book…and I would definitely read it if it existed. I’m not going to hold my breath for something like that ever coming out, but I do look forward to whatever information about Force religions we’ll get intermittently released throughout the various medias Star Wars is involved in (you know, like a comic about Cirrut and Baze…c’mon, Lucasfilm/Marvel, make it happen)…

Jyn Erso
When the first trailer for Rogue One came out, Jyn appeared to be a rough, unlikely, reluctant hero. A rebel that was out more for herself than the greater vision of the Alliance (kind of like Han Solo). But then, as newer trailers came out, her persona appeared to shift to a bleeding-heart activist, giving speeches about hope and trying to rally the troops to the cause…I was, frankly, a little disappointed. I fell in love with the idea that Jyn wasn’t a card-carrying rebel, but someone who circumstance handed a chance to make a difference and she chose to do it as much for what it’d get her as for what it might do for the galaxy at large…well, it turns out she’s a little of both:  she starts out very much as the reluctant hero; in fact, she’s the “I want nothing to do with this” hero. She’s really only going along with Cassian’s mission because her slate gets wiped clean for cooperation. That’s exactly the persona I was hoping for…then, everything changes when she actually completes the mission (sort of) and sees the message her father left for her. She’s so overwhelmed, so overcome with emotion that she changes her whole outlook on things. She goes from thinking she’d been left behind by her father and her father-figure to finding out her father-figure had done so only for her own safety, and that her real father had been doing nothing but thinking about her since the moment they’d parted. I can definitely imagine how that would be a life-changing situation. They allowed the story to change Jyn’s point of view rather than making Jyn’s changing point of view the story. While Rogue One does mostly revolve around Jyn, it’s really a story of change and hope, which just so happens to be the arc of Jyn’s character:  she’s changes her point of view because of hope. And the hope she exudes and passes on to the rebellion transfers (literally, actually, in the form of the Death Star plans) to Luke in A New Hope. So, yeah, I like Jyn Erso and the character she turned out to be.

And there you have it! Sure, that’s not all I like about Rogue One (I liked nearly all of it…being fair, I wasn’t head over heels for the resurrection of Peter Cushing or the uncanny valley that is Leia at the end, but those are the only real drawbacks for me), but those are my three main highlights a week later after one viewing. I’m sure I’ll have lots more to say after subsequent views in other posts, but for now these are the winners…I have a feeling I’ll be writing something up later focusing completely on Vader’s presence in the movie because A) it was amazing B) there’s a surprising amount to discuss considering how little he’s included (truthfully, it may be an entire post about his castle on Mustafar). So, what did you guys think about Rogue One? You loved it, right? I’m sure, but what did you love about it? And if you didn’t love it, why not? Did you like it, or was it a Star Wars abomination? (I honestly can’t see how anyone could think that, but to each their own). Let me know what you think, either way, in the comments and we’ll keep the dialogue going…or just wait for me to post again about something Rogue One-related and maybe get up the nerve to respond then (just kidding, if you don’t comment I assume it’s because I’m lame, not that you’re nervous). Anyway, I’m signing off for now, to start enjoying the holiday season (and to watch Rogue One a few more times), so you all enjoy whatever you do for the holidays and, of course, may the Force be with you…

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s