Spoiler! If you have not seen the film, do not read any further!!!!
Rogue One: A Star Wars story is about the events which leads up to the events we know in Episode IV: A New Hope. In the original film’s scroll, one small line “Rebel spies managed to seal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR.” This is Rogue One is one sentence. It is how the Rebel Alliance was able to get and steal the plans. As a Star Wars fan, I was skeptical about a stand-alone movie that was a side story to the main saga. However, when I first saw it in theaters, I fell in love with this band of spies who risked their lives for the galaxy’s freedom. There was so much that I liked and very little, if at all, that I didn’t like, I will focus on what I loved about this movie.
First, the heroes of Rogue One starting with Jyn Erso. Jyn Erso (played by Felicity Jones) the daughter of Galen Erso, a scientist who was coerced into helping the Empire build the Death Star. She has been living a life of crime under an assumed name. When her father’s name comes up again, the Rebel Alliance seeks her out to help them find her father and possibly destroy the Death Star. Captain Cassian Andor (played by Diego Luna) is a pilot and intelligence officer who Jyn is sent with to find information about her father. At first, he and Jyn do not see eye to eye about their mission but when they decide to get the plans with the approval of the Rebel Council, they are finally friends. K-2SO (voiced by Alan Tudyk) is Captain Andor’s droid. He was originally an Imperial droid but was reprogrammed by Captain Andor. He is often the comedic relief in the film. Chirrut Imwe (played by Donnie Yen) and Baze Malbus (played by Jiang Wen) are the Guardians of the Whills that Jyn and Cassian met during their mission. Chirrut is a blind man who is a firm believer in the Force despite his lack of Force abilities. Baze is the opposite of Chirrut. He has lost his faith in the Force after enduring harsh conditions of the Empire. Lastly, Bodhi Rook (played by Riz Ahmed), the Imperial cargo pilot who was sent by Galen Erso to get information about the Death Star to the Rebel Alliance. Together they form Rogue One and their mission to get the plans at all cost.
Second, I loved the homage and references made to the original film. In one scene, Mon Mothma (played by Genevieve O’Reilly) discusses an old Jedi friend of Bail Organa (played by Jimmy Smits). Organa replies that he’ll send for him, referencing that Leia is sent to retrieve him in Episode IV. The famous Star Wars line “I’ve got a bad feeling about this” is started to be said by K-2SO but he is cut off by Jyn and Cassian. This line is said at least once in every Star Wars film. A fan favorite reference is when Jyn and Cassian run into very familiar faces, Dr. Evazan and Ponda Baba. These two would go on to have a fateful run in with Luke and Obi-Wan in the cantina in Episode IV. I’ve only picked three of my favorites but there are so much more!
Another thing I loved about this movie is the fate of the Rogue One crew. Rogue One is essentially a war movie and in a war movie, everyone doesn’t always survive. The impact of war is truly felt with the losses of these heroes. Even though they are successful and there is celebration in that, there is also a sense of the great cost in that success. The real impact about their fates is that they were aware they probably wouldn’t survive. Jyn says as they prepare to land “We’ll take the next chance, and the next, until we win, or the chances are spent.” The death scene of Jyn and Cassian is my particular favorite. While they succeed in getting the plans to the Rebel Alliance, they know there was no escape for them. After successfully transmitted the plans, they make their way to the beach and watch as the impact of the Death Star’s laser takes effect. It’s calm, peaceful and sad with no overblown dramatics. The deaths of the Rogue One crew make the film so much stronger and unlike the other Star Wars films.
In conclusion, I loved Rogue One. I think it fit in with the timeline great. It was an awesome story to explain how the Rebel Alliance got the plans in the first place and set in motion the events of A New Hope. Every character fit and the actors played their roles so well. The homage and references to the other Star Wars films are always a treat for fans. And the deaths of the Rogue One crew fit the mood of the film as a war film in the Star Wars universe. Some fans loved it as I did and others did not. Some fans just aren’t going to be satisfied with any new Star Wars film. Love it or hate it, Rogue One is a great addition to the Star Wars universe. Now if you would excuse me, I’m going to watching Rogue One again.