What’s So Special About ‘Rogue One’?
Rogue One isn’t just a film with the Star Wars branding
Rogue One is what happens when you give Star Wars back to the fans.
When Disney acquired Lucasfilm and the whole intellectual estate of the Star Wars universe, it was still unclear what they planned to do with it, apart from expanding the main series of Star Wars with Episodes VII to IX. Skeptical already as some fans were about the creation of anything new in the Star Wars universe, especially after the lukewarm reception to George Lucas’s prequel trilogy, there was very little to be desired.
That was, of course, until they announced and began to flesh out the Rogue One project.
Photo via Twitter/Star Wars UK
Lucasfilm made sure to spell out that this movie has very little to do with the original films. They said there would be no Jedi. They said it would feature its own standalone story and set of characters. At the most, they said it would have to do with the Death Star and it would be a story we somehow knew already, thanks to a throwaway line in the opening crawl of A New Hope. Then, as time went on, they began telling us the names of the characters and what worlds we would find them in. By the time the first trailer came out, it was a delight to meet Jyn Erso and Captain Cassian Andor. By then we had also realized Rogue One’s real potential. Because Rogue One isn’t just some film that carries the Star Wars branding. It isn’t just A Star Wars Story in name. There is something about our first glimpse into it that makes it feel so fundamentally part and parcel of the Star Wars saga.
And it’s the commitment to telling a story in the real Star Wars universe. So many other franchises fall short in making their smaller ventures relate to their larger ones. When Star Wars starts to include major side characters in its spin-offs, like Mon Mothma and Saw Gerrera, the spin-offs feel just as important as the main stories. And that’s the point that Rogue One is starting to make in the whole scope of the Star Wars universe: that Star Wars is more than just the story of the Skywalker family.
That’s always been, of course, the appeal of the Star Wars expanded universe: the ever-growing cast of characters and worlds whose stories have been told in the books and games. For those who fell so deeply in love with Star Wars that they wanted to go on and play inside its story after the movies were over, the expanded universe has always been inviting. And while we have Episodes VIII and IX to look forward to, Rogue One feels like a validation of all the fun fans have been having with Star Wars. It gives them the chance to invite others to be a part of that experience, after enjoying it for so long. With new stories to tell, it’s never been so exciting to be in love with Star Wars.