Rogue One: A Star Wars Story proves that new movies within the universe created by George Lucas can work even without the significance of the Skywalker family or Jedi. The first standalone film directed by Gareth Edwards grossed $155 million in its opening weekend domestically, and has raked in $290.5 million globally, so we are definitely going to be seeing more of these stories.
One of the most compelling elements within Rogue One was the film’s conclusion. Obviously, we all know how the film would eventually end – the Death Star plans would be stolen, and we lead into the events of A New Hope. But it’s one thing to know the ultimate conclusion, but how about the actual journey to that conclusion? Well, Edwards and company have crafted a very compelling new entry within the franchise that introduces us to characters that would usually be in the background of the whole adventure – the unsung, everyday heroes that don’t have the destiny of the Skywalkers, but band together for a common cause against the Empire.
Much has been discussed about the film’s enthralling third act, in which the climax sticks to the film’s goals of being a true boots-on-the-ground war film. And much like some of the best films within that subgenre of cinema, there are bound to be a few casualties, and going into Rogue One, I expected that to be the case. But the fact that the film kills off every new major character is incredibly ballsy. And knowing that this may be the first true war film that many young audiences may see, it will give parents the opportunity to teach their kids a lesson about the cost of what war has on the world, and in our history.
Director Gareth Edwards appeared on the Empire Podcast, discussing the film in great, spoileriffic detail. When asked about the decision to kill off every member of the Rogue One team, Edwards explained the process to how the story team was brought to that conclusion:
“I mean, it’s a great Disney tradition isn’t it? For ever single character to die in all their movies. I think there was an early version – the very first version they didn’t [die] in the screenplay. And it was just assumed by us that we couldn’t do that and they’re not gonna let us do that. So we’re trying to figure out how this ends where that doesn’t happen. And then everyone read that, and there was just this feeling of like, “They gotta die right?” And everyone was like, “Yeah, can we?” And we thought we weren’t gonna be allowed to, but Kathy [Kennedy] and everyone at Disney were like, “Yeah, makes sense.” I guess they have to because they’re not in A New Hope. And so from that point on, we had the license and I kept waiting for someone to go, “You know what, can you just film an extra scene where we see Jyn and Cassian, they’re okay, and they’re on another planet and la la la…” And [that] never ever came, and no one gave us that note so we got to do it.”
I applaud Kathleen Kennedy and LucasFilm for making this decision for the characters. Even as someone who loves the films within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s become hard for me to believe that certain characters would remain dead. Sure, an argument can be made that this follows what the comics have been doing for years, but on a cinematic landscape, it can feel tedious. It’s refreshing to see a major blockbuster – let alone a Star Wars movie make a huge risk like this.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is in theaters now.
Source: Empire Podcast