All right, my Jedi-Guys and Sith-Sisters, it’s time to gear up for some Star Warring. Rouge One is just around the corner, and if the latest (and probably last) international trailer is any indication, we’re gonna have a LOT to chew on:
Now, before you devolve in to a geek-shaped fan-puddle (like I did at the 1:31 mark), I feel the need to caution you. As I’ve mentioned before when Ep. VII was about to drop, we still have a lot to be wary of. However, as The Force Awakens has proved, this new run of Disney-led Star Wars films is looking hopeful.
So, there’s a lot of potential good, and some potential not-so-good. Let’s break it down.
The Light Side
Delving in to the Galaxy
There’s been a lot to unpack in the trailers to the astute geek observer, and the latest trailer has us foaming at the mouth. It looks like this movie won’t just be pulling a lot from the original trilogy (which aesthetically is blending super well), but also from the vast extended universe of Star Wars. The crystal Jyn receives from her mother(?) bears a striking resemblance to the crystals used to make lightsabers, which is a realm of geekery any hardcore Jedi-aficionado was stoked to see. It could also imply that there’s a connection of the power source to the Death Star, which would have some very interesting implications. What if the point of weaponised-pride of the Jedi for centuries was also the source of power for the most destructive thing the galaxy had ever seen?
The Power of the Mouse Side
Hey, it’s no secret; we’re big Disney fans around here. The Happiest Entertainment Superpower on Earth has thrown a TON at Star Wars, and it has been paying off in dividends for them. They have a lot of financial success riding on these films, and that kind of investment should mean a fantastic product.
A Film with Character
From just the few seconds of characters we’ve seen from Rogue One, they already look iconic. The blind staff-wielding follower of the Force (despite not
being able to use it) Chirrut Irwe, the battle-torn yet insatiably hopeful Saw Gererra, the mysteriously-origined and endlessly confident Jyn Erso… This is looking to be a stellar cast of diverse and memorable characters.
Two words: Mon. Mothma.
Knowing the name of this obscure political figure from the original trilogy used to be a point of geeky pride. She played a small role in the films, yes, but as one of the very few female characters in the originals and prequels, she stood out. More than that, she was powerful, poised, and someone worth looking up to, regardless of gender. So, in the galactic zeitgeist, it is very important that she is portrayed well.
And let me tell you, they are nailing it.
The Dark Side
You Can’t Alter History
The danger in going back in the timeline of any series (cough cough PREQUELS cough) is that there is an established outcome to the events you are witnessing, and that can take a lot of necessary tension out of a film. We know that the crew of Rogue One will get the plans, because they already have in A New Hope. We know that the Death Star will be destroyed, because we’ve seen it happen. A few times. It is the burden of the filmmakers to care about the characters in such a way that we become emotionally invested, despite already knowing what will happen. If successfully done, we will either know the ending before it happens and wish it wouldn’t, or discover twists to the story that elevate what we already know.
Too Many Cooks in the Mos Eisley Kitchen
Like I said, there’s a lot of potentially great characters in the previews we’ve seen, but that may be it’s downfall. There’s nothing worse than introducing a fantastic person or concept, and then doing nothing with them. I am looking forward to the portrayal of Saw from Forest Whitaker, but what happens if he’s only in for three minutes so that they could include his name in the credits? Now. That’s not to say a fantastic character can’t be minimally used and still successful (Vader was only on screen for about 12 minutes in Episode VI). There’s just a lot of potential for overload.
Breaking the Fourth Blast Door
Probably my biggest worry is the film being too self-aware. Despite being fairly well done, they have already broken one of my cardinal sins of moviemaking in the trailer by blatantly saying the title. In that same thought, I’m not opposed to crossover appearances from the originals (you’ll notice Chirrut fires a bowcaster in the latest trailer, the favored weapon of a certain wookie…), but I don’t think there be a pregnant pause before R2 rolls in frame and winks at the camera. I just don’t want the whole thing to feel like it’s pandering for fandom support, if that makes sense. And if they say the phrase “Star Wars” at any point, I may walk out of the theater.
I think it’s very important to note that we’re in murky waters by this not being an episodic film. Even the apprehension folks had for The Force Awakens was a bit offset by knowing it was the next in line, with more to come. Rogue One needs to stand alone, and pull us through with just the screen time it has been allotted.
But I have hope. Rebellions are built on hope.