Rogue One is a business bet by Lucasfilm that they hope will pay off. These Anthology films are meant to experiment with how Star Wars stories can be told using different types of story telling. But what does this experimentation mean for the fans?
My hopes for Rogue One: A Star Wars story is more modest. I want it to redefine the best of what Star Wars can be.
A NEW, New Hope
Firstly, I want Rogue One to make me feel differently about the first 20 minutes of A New Hope. These 20 minutes is perhaps one of the best openings in cinema history and sets the stage for how Star Wars stories are told. Rogue One has the challenging task of setting up this film’s opening. It is literally visualizing the opening crawl to ANH.
A New Hope raises many important questions pertaining to the rest of the Star Wars Universe that we really never got any answers for. How big is the Empire? Why do people work with the Empire? Who were the Rebel Spies that Vader traced back to Leia? Why was Vader’s helmet a little beat up and crooked? Who was there to stop Vader/TheEmpire last time? How did they build The Death Star? If Alderaan was the test of the full power of the Death Star, did they test it at less than full power? How did that go? How big is the Rebellion? What is the Force? Do only Jedi & Sith believe in it? Where did the Jedi come from?
Rogue One touches on many of these questions and, as such, has a great opportunity. While I don’t expect outright answers, I want (need?) I expect Rogue One to paint a picture of what this looks like. My hope is that the various plot elaborations in Rogue One will bring new color into a 40 year old film.
A Bigger Universe
The biggest knock on the Expanded Universe is that many stories circled around a very small set of characters and places. That serves only to make the Universe smaller. I want Rogue One to show more planets, species, ships, and all walks of life. It’s great to have touchstone characters (Storm Troopers, Tarkin, Mon Mothma) to make it familiar. But I want to meet new characters with their own stories that contribute to the overall Star Wars Universe.
We’ve already got some inklings of this. We’re getting lots of new planets. We’re getting lots of new characters. They even figured out that women can be action heroes too.
Star Wars is a cross-media franchise. There are animated series, Novels, Comics, and more. However, it’s a rarity that you get cross-media tie-ins. Rogue One has already broken some ground in this case. Saw Gerrera will be the first Star Wars character from an animated series to appear in a feature film.
Fun & Interesting
Star Wars is, at the end of the day, fun. Han Solo’s one-liners, Boba Fett’s mystery, Lando’s style – these are all really interesting and unique. I’m excited to see new characters like K-2SO, Bistan the Space Monkey, and Saw Gerrera. I’m excited to see the U-Wing. I’m excited to hear a new non-John Williams sound track. I’m even ok with there not being an opening crawl.
I’m extremely exited for Rogue One. I think it will exemplify the best of Star Wars and take a step forward defining what Star Wars can be in future Anthology films.