“Rogue One” – A Star Wars Snuff Film

Okay, I tried to keep it to myself for as long as possible. Unfortunately I’m terrible at keeping my mouth shut. I would like to say now that if you haven’t seen the movie “Rogue One” as of yet that you may want to avert your browser before the spoilers come spewing forth.

### SPOILERS AHEAD! ###

Don’t get me wrong about Rogue One

I really enjoyed the film Rogue One over all. I grew up with Star Wars and the missing pieces that were put in place with this film were very well done, in my opinion. There were some pretty seriously wide open gaps in the plot details between the films Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. I’m sure that there are those who are far more passionate about all that is the Star Wars universe than I who would love to argue with the validity of my statement that I “enjoyed the film”. Thankfully, I’m not even remotely under any impression that this is more than just an opinion based post. Which means argument would be futile.

Very Endearing Characters

Jyn Erso

©Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

One thing that I cannot stress enough is how beautifully the audience is introduced to the myriad of ‘new’ characters that drive the story of Rogue One. There are very few characters that we see that are familiar faces. The most pivotal character for this story is obviously Jyn Erso. Jyn is the daughter of  Galen Erso, the man who helped design the weapons systems for the Death Star. Her impressive and dynamic character arch is directly tied into the flow of the film. As the film progresses the impact that she has on the happenings of the events that follow sinks in more and more.

Cassian Andor & K-2SO

Jyn isn’t the only character to have a remarkable arch during the course of the film. Cassian Andor, the Rebel Intelligence officer, gives off a very unsavory impression. This may have to do with the fact that within the first few moments of his time on screen he shoots a man in the back in order to avoid being captured by soldiers of the Empire. However, the last few moments of the film solidify the fact that Cassian deserved the place in my heart he had carved out during the course of the adventure.

©Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Cassian Andor’s faithful companion, K-2SO, is a reprogrammed Imperial droid. I cannot  overstate how much I loved this particular droid. K-2SO has some of the most expressive eyes of any of the droids I have seen in the Star Wars franchise. He demonstrates and very colorful and unique personality and has just as strong of an arch in development as the story progresses as the fleshy characters of the film. His first reactions to Jyn are priceless as he blatantly states that he find her presence to be a “bad idea” and goes on to mention that the probability of Jyn using her blaster on Cassian is “high…very high”. In the sake of full disclosure, I am a pretty huge fan of Alan Tudyk. I think that he was an amazing choice to voice this character and his talent was an amazing addition to the cast.

Chirrut & Baze

©Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

The next character I have to mention is Chirrut Imwe, played but the amazing Donnie Yen. This blind man sees through just about everyone else on screen at all times. He is not a Jedi, but he is clearly a very spiritual man with a strong connection to the force. His almost constant companion Baze Malbus is another great character. He acts as though he basically has to keep Chirrut alive, but it is clearly demonstrated several times that Chirrut is far from a helpless blind man.

Galen Erso

Even the character of Galen Erso, who has a remarkably small amount of screen time, has his own version of a story arch. After we see him lose his wife and see his daughter run away from danger, he is taken back to his work as a weapons engineer for the Empire. Once there, it is clear that the rest of the galaxy is unaware of how reluctantly he was working for the Empire. There is even suggestion that his daughter Jyn may have begun to lose faith in her father. Then, almost right as Jyn has to watch her father die, Jyn and the audience realizes that Galen never gave up trying to thwart the empire. We have him to thank for the critical design flaw that leads to the eventual destruction of the death star.

When it all started to sink in.

©Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

It wasn’t very far into the film when I started to feel uneasy. My conscious brain was enthralled in the story unfolding before me, while my subconscious was replaying parts of “A New Hope” over and over again. It wasn’t until after the first time that Lord Vader is on screen that it really sunk in all the way.

None of these characters are in any other movies from this point on.

Once that really sunk in, and I started to comprehend what the over all mission of the film was, I was in shock. I had already let myself fall madly enough with this cast and these characters that the idea of losing them wasn’t something I wanted to prepare for. Then they started dropping one by one.

The Brilliant yet Obvious Ending.

It would be naïve to assume that Rogue One could have ended any other way than how it did. Every time a protagonist dies in this film it is a palpable loss, even thought most of us likely saw it all coming. The way that they portrayed it all was almost elegant. There are two death scenes from that film that will stick with me the most.

The first, is when K-2SO gets destroyed. They elude to it when Jyn shoots down an Imperial droid of the same make in the heat of battle and both she and the audience is unsure that it isn’t the reprogrammed companion of Cassian until our Droid comes around the corner and asks if she knew it wasn’t him. The way that he selflessly sacrifices himself for the greater good is enough to bring a tear (or several) to your eye. The dramatic and almost long-winded way in which he was slowly shot away bit by bit fell just short of being too much. It settled in a nice place between brutality and elegance.

The second, is obviously the end of the film as Cassian and Jyn accept their fate and pass into the next life knowing that they have done something truly remarkable for the entire galaxy. That scene is impossible to describe with out feeling a bit emotional. If nothing else, that scene alone is enough to earn this film the description of “Space Opera”.

In Conclusion.

I loved the Rogue One and everything about it. It fit well with the rest of the Star Wars universe, even though it doesn’t fall into the numerical sequence of the rest of the films. I wasn’t at all off-put by the fact that Tarkin is entirely computer generated. I was even impressed at how well they were able to create a young Princess Leia for the very final scene of the film.

If you haven’t seen it, watch it. (If I haven’t already totally ruined it for you)

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