Starting with Episode 4 in 1977, the Star Wars franchise has taken the world by storm (no pun intended). George Lucas’ books have managed to transform the movie world by giving its fans a story with several different dynamics. There is love, pain, family, war, and most of all, hope in each of these mediums. Those who have watched the entire series are taken through the history of this alternate universe that is home to different creatures and people. During this time, Jedis were known as the protectors of this universe, using their minds and lightsabers as weapons against their enemies. They utilized this mystical energy called The Force, which was supposed to supply them with the knowledge and ability to be extremely powerful. But, as always, there is a group of people that abuse this great power and harm others for their own betterment rather than the good of others and society.
Rogue One gives the audience insight into how the Resistance gained access to the inner workings of the Death Star (the Imperial weapon designed to destroy planets). As far as the movies go, chronologically, it would be between Episodes 3 and 4. Viewers are told the specific story of Jyn Erso, daughter of Imperial turned Rebel engineer, Galen Erso who is also the man who was extremely instrumental in the designing the Death Star. Jyn goes on a journey with Rebel soldier Cassian Andor and his robot K-2SO around the galaxy in attempt to restore her father’s allegiance amongst the Rebellion. When Jyn learns of the weakness her father built into the Death Star in defiance of the Imperial Forces, she urges the Rebellion to follow his lead and use this knowledge to take down Darth Vader and his crooked followers. But despite her pleas and a very encouraging speech, the Rebellion council is not unanimous in its decision to attack and so Jyn, Cassian, K-2 and a few brave soldiers hijack an aircraft (calling it Rogue One) and fly it to Scarif, the planet that holds the plans for the Death Star.
One thing that I felt was missing was an explanation of Cassian and how he became roped into the world of the Rebellion. Throughout the movie, the audience gets Jyn’s backstory: the complicated relationship with her father and underlying feelings of abandonment a well known relationship as this is the normal Star Wars family history, but nothing from Cassian. It is hinted that he had a rough life and had no choice but to join the Rebellion, a history he yells about during an argument he had with Jyn. But other than this, the audience does not see any prior development. I guess this is made up for, in that we see Cassian grow from being an obedient soldier who blindly follows orders to someone who fights with his heart.
Also, I was pretty scared that the movie was going to turn into some heartbreaking love story between Cassian and Jyn. There are several moments of intensity and passion between the two characters, especially once Cassian decides to accompany Jyn on her dangerous mission to Scarif. Thankfully, the relationship remains platonic. The franchise has become more than just a love story (even though that was essentially the factor that sent Anakin to the dark side) and to have all of the pain and suffering Jyn and Cassian went through just to culminate in something as corny as a kiss would have cheapened their entire struggle.
Overall, the movie was great. The action was captivating and the devastation that Jyn experiences throughout the film is compelling. One is able to really connect with the characters, with this movie more than the others, as their actions are relatable. This is the first movie in the franchise that is not about Jedi, but about normal humans in the galaxy that are trying to make a difference. Our heart strings are pulled even harder as we become attached to such temporary characters. We share their pain as we watch them fight for their freedom and cling to the hope of a better universe.
There are to be two more Episodes coming to the franchise in the coming years, as well as a movie about the character Han Solo (portrayed by Harrison Ford). Now that technology has caught up with the progressive sci-fi features of the George Lucas’ stories, it is clear that the Star Wars movies will only get better and better from here. Fans can only wait with excitement until the adventures in space continues.