Voted as the most anticipated film of the year (via Fandango), Lucasfilm’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has garnered immense attention and enthusiasm. Set before the events of 1977’s Star Wars (Later subtitled “Episode IV: A New Hope” in 1981), Rogue One follows the exploits of a group of Rebel Alliance fighters and their mission to steal the plans of the first rendition of the infamous Death Star. While the December release is still a ways off, here’s what we know about the upcoming film and why any fan of the franchise should definitely be looking forward to it.
I. Fresh Faces with a Fresh Story
Considering the events of Episode IV, most audience members will no doubt know the basic conclusion to this story before they ever step foot in a theater. This has led some to question if this is a story that even needs to be told. Considering the last time a run of Star Wars prequels were produced, this skepticism is certainly justified. Fortunately from what we’ve seen, however, Rogue One is shaping up to be an entirely different animal when compared to it’s prequel predecessors.
With the total absence of the Skywalker family, Lucasfilm has it’s first real opportunity to show the true size and struggle of the “Galactic Civil War”. Prior to upcoming film, the title Star Wars in the prequels could be considered somewhat misleading as there weren’t many full-fledged wars taking place in the first two prequel installments. While the “Clone Wars” were meant to be the more-or-less center conflict of the Episode II: Attack of the Clones, they didn’t actually begin until the end of the film. This means that prior to the “Battle of Geonosis”, there simply wasn’t a known threat looming over every living being and the vast majority of the galaxy was experiencing relative peace. In contrast, Rogue One drops us right in the middle of the war between the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire, and the effects be felt by the universe as a whole.
Rogue One‘s focal connection to the original trilogy is the Death Star – leaving most everything else in the story fresh and new. While we already know that Rebels will succeed in obtain the plans and readouts to the planet-destroying battle station, the path to accomplishing this task leads us into previously uncharted storytelling territory. The tyranny of the Empire and the resilience of the Rebel Alliance will be shown from a fresh perspective, which may lead to a significant change in the way you watch or perceive the events that take place in the first three movies.
The new film also revolves around characters that fans of the Star Wars franchise have never met before. This means the story won’t be driven entirely by whether or not the Rebels accomplish their mission, but also by whether or not the characters you’ve only just been introduced to will even make it out alive. Considering that there was no mention of any specific member of the team involved in this mission during A New Hope, their individual fates have yet to be determined. Viewers won’t know the ultimate fates of the central character Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and her allies, leaving the upcoming installment all the more compelling to watch.
II. Familiar Aesthetics and Film-making Techniques
News was met with great enthusiasm when it was revealed that The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams was going to film as much in-camera as possible, maximizing the use of practical effects and real locations to make sure that new films remained authentic in their reflection of the original trilogy. CGI was of course an extremely necessary asset, but Abrams blended the two techniques with great success. Even though the events in Episode VII took place in a galaxy far, far away, it still felt like a familiar and tangible world.
Fortunately for us, Lucasfilm confirmed that it will be taking this approach for all their upcoming Star Wars films, which of course includes Rogue One. Though the tone of this stand-alone story will be substantially different from the saga-segment of The Force Awakens, Abrams’ lead will be followed in crafting a tangible universe by incorporating both the new and old methodology of film production. From what we can tell from trailer, it does seem that director Gareth Edwards (known for 2014’s Godzilla) is doing a fantastic job of minimizing the use of digital augmentation. Even the ships and vehicles that are most likely CGI are quality representations of their classic trilogy miniature counterparts. If this remains a constant for the entire movie beyond the clips selected for the 90 second teaser – Rogue One will fit perfectly both in story and scenery in the established Start Wars universe.
III. In Conclusion
It’s completely understandable that Star Wars fans feel a little uneasy when they hear the word “prequel” again, and Lucasfilm’s established reliance on returning to familiar elements for the anthology films has been the subject of no shortage of criticism. Still, that doesn’t mean Rogue One won’t be a worthwhile extension of the universe as it currently stands. The time of Disney’s Star Wars control has only just begun, but what we’ve seen so far is a commitment to authenticity and entertainment that have left us with a cautious comfort that the franchise is in good hands. After all, they did drop a whopping $4 billion on Lucasfilm, so it would stand to reason that they would want to optimize their investment by delivering a quality product that fans will enjoy well into the foreseeable future. It’s an exciting time to be alive as Star Wars fan, with annual releases slated indefinitely and much, much to look forward to. If Rogue One is every bit of the film we hope it will be, the future looks exceptionally bright for the franchise.
What did you think of the teaser trailer? Are you happy with the direction the Star Wars franchise is heading? Let us know in the comments section below. Be sure to follow us on Facebook & Twitter and check back with Boom Howdy for more up-to-date news, reviews & podcasts. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theaters December 16, 2016 (USA).