When this one was announced, I remember everyone was all, “Eh…I dunno…” and I just wasn’t convinced that it could work, especially since all the characters are new, and there were bound to be all kinds of continuity errors, and it was just going to sort of a generic action movie that lacked heart.
Boy am I glad I was wrong!
This movie rocks so much.
Episode Number: X — Released: 2016 — Production Number: 8
A Motley Crew
I want to hug all of the characters. Maybe not Vader cuz he’s scary…but if he wants hugs, I guess I’d be OK with it.
But seriously, this bunch is so great that I’m really sad we won’t get other stories featuring this bunch… Well, I’m actually lying because Baze and Chirrut are getting their own comic series (!!!!!) and HOPEFULLY we’ll get some Cassian/K-2S0 adventures in the future. Also, I love Bodhi (tied with K as my favorite character). I don’t know if we’ll get any future stories with him, though… But we do get more awesomeness with Galen and Krennic (and itty bitty Jyn!) in the novel Catalyst, which is totally on my TBR list.
The only thing this group is missing is Baby Groot. But I don’t think K would like him much…
The Empty Chair
So, like, in ANH, when all the baddies are discussing the Death Star and how awesome it is, there’s this super conspicuous empty chair, and I think everyone’s just accepted that that chair belong[ed] to Krennic.
We have lots of Evil (capital E) bad guys. Tarkin is all military and zero compassion. Vader is a brutal ragemonster who cuts the Emperor’s enemies into tiny bits. But Krennic is somewhat likable, but I can’t put my finger on exactly why.
He refuses to accept the fact that the Empire doesn’t REALLY need him there. Galen developed the Death Star weapon, and Tarkin is in charge of overseeing the operation of the weapon as it pertains to the Emperor’s orders. Krennic was in charge of overseeing the construction of the Death Star, but as soon as it’s finished, he becomes obsolete. And it’s clear he knows this.
He doesn’t really do anything to redeem himself. I mean, when he destroys Jedha (which is literally the birthplace of the Jedi order and a priceless piece of history!) he just cares what the moment means to him regarding his accomplishments. Plus, he didn’t seem too concerned with killing Galen’s wife, which was a dick move…
But like, there’s this hint at the beginning that Galen trusted him at one point and, before the two of them found themselves in too deep, they could have been good guys. I dunno. I guess Catalyst will fill in the blanks there, but Krennic is such an interesting villain, and I love him.
The Man in Black
While we’re on the subject of villains, I guess I should bring up Vader because, like, why wouldn’t I??
What’s so great about this one is that Vader is ALL villain. He’s moved past his hesitations and awkwardness of adjusting to being in the suit following his reconstruction. He’s probably in constant pain despite all his bacta treatments, and it’s pretty obvious that he just channels all that suffering into keeping himself upright. There’s no Anakin left at this point. He starts to resurface much later. I love how the first shot of Vader is him sans suit recovering in the bacta tank. But even though our first view of him is so vulnerable, he never loses any of his power and impact.
He’s in the movie for, like, ten minutes, if that (which makes sense because he could have easily stolen the whole show if he’d been given a bigger role), but his presence serves to show us not only how he’s accepted his new role as hunting dog of the Emperor, but how the destruction of the Death Star allows him to become as powerful as he does in Empire. Tarkin is in charge and Vader isn’t really in a position of military power. He’s a one-man army, not a leader, and the destruction of the Death Star allows him to wield military power for the first time, which is when he becomes a much greater threat.
Getting Back to the Good Guys
I don’t know if this is a criticism of the film or not, but it’s really easy to discuss this solely in terms of its connections to the rest of the franchise. Like, for example, I get the feeling that, when Luke was all basking in the afterglow of the destruction of the Death Star and getting medals and everyone is telling him how amazing he is, I KNOW there were rebels who resented Luke because the people who REALLY deserve medals all died on Scarif. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were banners honoring Rogue One’s heroism on the walls of the throne room while Luke walked down that aisle at the end. There’s a LOT of nostalgia going on here, so it’s easy to overlook the actual story.
I think that another part of that is because these characters all give their lives to complete the mission, and so it’s really painful to talk about them without breaking down into wracking sobs.
But maybe I’m just really melodramatic.
In any case, what’s so great about this team is that it’s clear they know they’re probably not coming out of this alive. There’s that terrifying moment when they realize they’re trapped on Scarif and decide to continue on with the mission, but there’s never any hesitation. And that’s pretty metal. K is the first to die and that really messed me up because I love K, but I knew that the loveable robot has a tendency to die in movies and so I accepted that and moved on. And then Baze and Chirrut (sobs) went and it was so sad because they’re such a DEVOTED couple (and yes, I did mean couple, because it’s just kind of obvious). But then Bodhi died, and that just hit me hard because he was the character who I would have expected to be the ONLY survivor. Jyn and Cassian were always destined to go out in a heroic blaze of glory and I had accepted that, but Bodhi had that sort of Moby-Dick’s Ishmael feel to him. Once the Pequod sinks, Ishmael is the only one left to tell the story, and Bodhi just struck me as that lone storyteller type. But NO, he has to explode when the ship is destroyed. *kicks rocks* Sigh, I guess it was necessary since there was obviously no way to get off the moon…
Every single character deserves their own novel. I just love all of them so much.
I really hope the rest of the Star Wars Story movies are as good as this one. I feel like future filmmakers might get lazy and start cranking these out with wild abandon, turning it into something cheap and bland.
I hope not. Star Wars is amazing.
I’m holding my breath in regards to the Han Solo film. I know it will probably be great, but still… *is tentative*
But it’s all good. Next week, I’m doing A New Hope! See you then!