By Meaghan Richens, photo by Taylor Barrett
While expanding on George Lucas’ Star Wars universe, Rogue One explains a previously gaping plot hole—why would the Empire design a massive, planet-destroying weapon with what is essentially a self-destruct button built right in?
The following review will contain spoilers.
The plot of the film revolves around the Rebel Alliance seeking to steal the plans for the Empire’s very first Death Star to stop them from blowing up planets. Felicity Jones plays the film’s main character and heroine, Jyn Erso. She is the daughter of Galen Erso, a scientist who is captured by the Galactic Republic, which later becomes the Empire, to work on their new weapon.
There are some things that never seem to change in the Star Wars universe, like sassy robots with British accents, bad-ass heroines, and Stormtroopers who couldn’t hit the ground if not for gravity. The film appeals strongly to nostalgia by bringing back characters like Grand Moff Tarkin, Bail Organa, and Princess Leia. James Earl Jones returns as the iconic voice of Darth Vader.
But there were a few things in the film that noticeably broke the Star Wars mold.
For a film named after a ship’s call sign, there’s not a whole lot of Starfighter action going on. There is a significant battle scene near the end of the film when the Rebels are attacking an Empire base, but just not as much as I had expected.
With at most two minutes of lightsaber action, Rogue One probably has the least amount of lightsaber screen time out of all the Star Wars movies. Even Episode VII—The Force Awakens—had more lightsaber action, which was still hardly anything. Donnie Yen’s Jedi-like warrior/monk character may be seen as a missed opportunity for the classic lightsaber duels we see in literally every other film in the franchise.
But, the lack of sabres does make sense, as the focus of the story is not the Force, and there are no true Jedis in the film.
Rogue One : A Star Wars Story could have just been called Episode 3.5 because it canonically takes place between Episode III : Revenge of the Sith and Episode IV : A New Hope.
I love the way the film ended because it led beautifully into the next part of the story, which is, obviously, the Rebels blowing up the Death Star in A New Hope. We see a young Princess Leia smiling after acquiring the plans for the Death Star, and it ends on an optimistic note.
Overall, Rogue One is a great film, with a great story and awesome special effects. Whether you’re a die-hard Star Wars fan or you just like a good space fight, Rogue One should be on your to-watch list.