Rogue One has been out for two weeks now and it has been a success by all standards. The ongoing debate amongst Star Wars fans has been where does it rank among the other Star Wars films? After numerous polls the majority of participants agree that Rogue One is better than the prequels. Although I agree with a majority of people that Rogue One ranks somewhere as the second or third best Star Wars film, I have a different perspective of this movie. I don’t think a lot of fans realize how important this movie was to the future of Star Wars movies.
When it was announced that Disney bought the rights of Star Wars from George Lucas the biggest criticism was the announcement of three stand-alone Star Wars film. Especially with the announcement of the first movie being about the group that stole the Death Star plans a lot of fans became hesitant even our own Joseph Medina was very hesitant of the idea of this movie. All of the drama and rumors that followed during production didn’t help ease the minds of Star Wars fans making it seem that it would be a disaster just like Suicide Squad earlier this year.
After a glowing reviews and a successful debut weekend it seems that Star Wars standalone movies are here to stay. The success of this movie guarantees that the Star Wars franchise can continue further beyond the story of Anakin and Luke Skywalker. Twenty years from now we will look back at the success of Rogue One and say that this was the moment that expanded the Star Wars Film Universe.
It Does a Better Job Setting Up the Original Trilogy than the Prequels
One of the things that was never established in the original trilogy or the prequels is how the rebellion against the empire started. A New Hope starts off at the height of the Rebellion and we aren’t introduced to any of the rebellion fighters until the end of the Battle of the First Death Star. Throughout the original trilogy the story is more about the journey of Luke Skywalker becoming a Jedi and the rebellion is a minor plot point.
The Prequels do a worse job setting up the rebellion since it ends literally with Emperor Palpatine starting the Galactic Empire. The only glimpse we get of the Rebellion is Bail Organa assisting Yoda and Obi Wan Kenobi escape to seclusion. This leaves a significant twenty year gap where we had to assume that not everyone was on board with the idea of a Galactic Empire and started a small rebellion that grew when Luke, Leia, and Han joined.
Rogue One not only gives us a terrific view of the vast stretch of the Galactic Empire it also gives us a better understanding of the Rebellion. What Rogue One does really well at is showing us the Rebellion was not a unified front. For almost forty years we are made to believe that the mission to capture the Death Star plans was a planned mission by the rebellion when really it was spur of the moment mission that turned the tide for the Rebellion.
The Establishment of New Characters.
Since A New Hope was released in 1977 the movies have relied heavily of the core cast from that movie. All seven Star Wars movies have had a reference or direct tie in to a Skywalker, Obi-Wan, Han Solo, or Yoda but Rogue One was the first to not have a direct tie-in to the core characters. With the success of Jyn Erso, Cassian, and K-2SO this now opens the door for future Star Wars movies to not always to have to be anchored by original characters. This will allow writers and producers to expand the Star Wars Universe to the size of the comics, books, and television shows have expanded too.
The Connection to the Television Shows
When Disney bought the Star Wars franchise a majority of the content that was created outside the movies was classified as non-cannon and marked under the Legends Timeline. This erased a massive amount of characters and locations that were created in the years following the original trilogy.
Aside from Bobba Fett originating from the Star Wars Holiday Special and a quick glimpse of Dash Rendar in the Re-mastered version of A New Hope this was the first time in the Star Wars movie history that a movie acknowledged characters from a television show. Rogue One had direct connections to two of the most popular Star Wars shows in history, Clone Wars and Rebels. This was probably the most surprising aspect of this movie and how well it worked.
The inclusion of Saw Gerrera from Clone Wars and the Ghost Ship from Rebels now truly connects the events from these tv shows. This has a special meaning for fans who have watched the shows now knowing that characters they follow have more meaning. There is now a possibility of seeing some of our favorite tv characters appearing in future movies. This also opens more characters in the movies without having to include origin stories.
While a majority of viewers who saw Rogue One didn’t understand some of the references to the television shows and books, this Star Wars fan understood them and it hit a special spot for my fandom. This movie gave me more hope than I ever have had that these books and tv shows I have followed will someday make it to the big screen. Rogue One opened up this door and I hope that Kathleen Kennedy and the execs at Disney understand the potential of what is now available to the Star Wars Universe.