Set shortly before Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope, this is the first of Lucasfilm’s standalone films in the Star Wars Universe. The film tells the story of how the Death Star plans came to be in possession of the rebellion. With Disney’s investment in Lucasfilm and the Star Wars franchise they are surely looking for a return by expanding on the saga.
Many Star Wars fans were not impressed with the previous attempts at prequels, so Gareth Edwards had a difficult task ahead of him from the off. This film takes places outside the saga, so gone is the Star Wars crawl, Jedi and John Williams score, although John Williams themes do make some appearances throughout.
Rogue One does a very good job of being a standalone film, yet treating the fans to some nostalgic glimpses of the saga. There are nods to the original saga, but not so much that they distract from the focus of the film. In fact, there are some big treats for fans with the help of CGI. I don’t want to say too much, but there was one fantastic scene towards the end of film with Darth Vader showing how he obtained his reputation.
Some characters from a New Hope do make an appearance, but the story is driven by the new character Jyn Erso played by Felicity Jones. Jyn has had a difficult life but she manages to bring hope to a rebellion which is not as organised or agreeable as A New Hope would have you believe. The film brings some fantastic new characters to the Star Wars universe and the droid K-2SO voiced by Alan Tudyk is sure to be a fan favourite. K-2SO brings some comic relief with his ‘say what he thinks programming,’ he has a dry sense of humour too, which breaks up what can be some intense and dark storytelling.
The film is an espionage and war story at heart, set in space which happens to be the Star Wars Universe. It is difficult to say if this had not been a Star Wars story whether it would have been as highly anticipated, however as a sci-fi film it stands on its own and sets itself apart from the saga sufficiently.
Overall Rogue One delivers, it has a great story, great characters and is a great film. It’s the prequel fans had hoped for.