An overhead shot of an alien forest with avian creatures started a remarkable trailer this weekend. While the camera pans we hear a quote from Obi Wan Kenobi said in the original Star Wars. It describes how the Jedi once kept order in the galaxy and were the defenders of all. As the camera keeps moving, a large planetary figure is seen to be past the atmosphere. It’s finally revealed to be the Death Star, looming over the planet. The title Star Wars: Rogue One appears onscreen with comm chatter seemingly disrupting the title itself.
Sunday at Star Wars Celebration 2015 details emerged about the upcoming film. Kathleen Kennedy and Kiri Hart opened the panel explaining that this is going to be part of some anthologies for the Star Wars cinematic universe. These are not to be known as “stand alone” or “spin-offs”, but part of a greater anthology of movies. Directors and writers are selected to tell stories they would like to tell that are within the Star Wars universe. But, they will be different from the main saga.From StarWars.com
Gareth Edwards took the stage after a great explanation of how much of a fan he is of Star Wars. It was Episode IV that drove him to become a filmmaker. Edwards brought the teaser with him to delight all fans at the show. The plot that was explained was that this will be the telling of how a group of rebel fighters got the Death Star plans for its destruction in Episode IV.
Edwards went on to describe how this will be a war film. It’s a telling of a rather grey area of Star Wars, that we see the universe as very black and white in Episodes 4, 5, and 6. However, this is before there is that distinction. The good and bad will be seen in very grey areas.
The tone will have a lot of realism to it, as this will be a Star Wars war epic. Much of the crew working on the film have had distinct roles in previous war movies. For example, director of photography, Greig Fraser, worked on Zero Dark Thirty. Co-Costume Designer, Dave Crossman, has had experience in Saving Private Ryan. This doesn’t seem like the usual Star Wars film we’re used to seeing. And, about getting the crew, Edwards said that people are jumping at the chance to make a Star Wars film. He kept noting how Star Wars has shaped so many filmmakers that are around now, and they are nearly quitting current projects to go work on Rogue One.
Along with the film using an ensemble than any one star, there’s a deeper feel and tone to the movie than others. The lack of Jedi in the galaxy is going to hang over the whole film. It’s about ordinary people as soldiers trying to save the galaxy without powers.
How the whole film came about is a somewhat funny anecdote. John Knoll was welcomed onstage to help explain it all. Kathleen Kennedy had barely started her job as head of Lucasfilm when Knoll met with her about the idea for the film. The fear Kennedy had was that this would open the floodgates to people making any sort of film with Star Wars canon. But, this is all delicately handled now, and with Rogue One being the first.
Next came who would helm the project. Kiri Hart had thought of Edwards and sent him an email explaining the concept. It has been Edwards dream to do a Star Wars film, but when he got the email he wanted to take a break from filmmaking. He actually tried to tell himself to hate the film so as to have the break. In the end he thought, “I couldn’t sit in a cinema and know that someone else made this film.”
From having almost no information about the movie to now knowing some key elements this makes me want to see the movie sooner than later! I will have to wait until December 2016, but this seems like a Star Wars movie that will fit in with the universe, but stand on its own as a piece of art. I like that it’s not trying to be like the saga, but take a high concept like war and convey it through Star Wars as a medium. We need Star Wars films like this to push what this whole universe is about. I’m looking forward to what Edwards and his team will bring to the screen in 2016.