As the title indicates, nothing in this article is going to spoil Rogue One for anybody. Feel free to read and enjoy knowing I respect the Star Wars community enough not to ruin this amazing piece of work for the masses.
I have been a fan of Star Wars since the first time my mom rented the VHS of A New Hope from Showtime Video. It was 1993 and I was in 3rd grade. We had the same TV that most families had in the early 90s. It produced a picture typical of the late 80s, grainy and small format. I watched with rapt attention as Luke Skywalker ignited the lightsaber of legend. Han Solo taught me that hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at my side. I fell in love with the characters, the weapons, the ships, the aliens and creatures, and the mythology. Then came Empire Strikes Back, driving home my love of Star Wars and science fiction. Then Return of the Jedi graced the screen of our humble little TV. A green lightsaber appeared for the first time and I wanted my own lightsaber even more than ever before. When the Special Edition was released in 1997 I was reminded why I love Star Wars all over again. Then came the prequels came out. They weren’t as good as the originals, but it was new Star Wars, so I was happy to accept them. I read books and magazines, the internet brought new content to enjoy. Last year we got The Force Awakens, which I enjoyed, but it left me wanting. Which brings us to today.
Last night I went and saw Rogue One. The story follows the rebels who get the plans for the Death Star. The events unfold right before A New Hope, so everyone has known about this story and how it ends since 1977. The storytelling was well-rounded. The visuals were stimulating and beautiful. The characters were wonderfully developed. The acting was great across the board. While the story focuses on new characters, there is no shortage of familiar ones to bridge the gap between the original movies and the prequels. The casting was great all around. There were nods to Ralph McQuarrie’s concept art from the production of the originals. The Force Awakens brought things back to the traditional way films were made and used a lot of practical effects, which gave it a more authentic Star Wars feeling than the prequels had. Rogue One, however, was Star Wars through-and-through. It didn’t just feel like Star Wars, it WAS Star Wars. Even without the three paragraph scrolling prologue, it had the feeling, that essence that one comes to expect from Star Wars. That, I think, was most important for the execution of this film since it ends right where the very first film that introduced us to the galaxy far, far away begins.
All things considered, I feel I can honestly say that this is the best movie in the Star Wars series that has been made since they wrapped on the last day of production for Return of the Jedi. Force Awakens had a lot of the characters we know and love from the originals, but this movie was somehow so much more satisfying. I left the theater happy. I was so thrilled with the execution that I had tears of joy in my eyes. I will go see Rogue One again, probably several times. I was originally very concerned when Disney bought the rights to Star Wars, but after seeing Rogue One, I am happier than I ever thought I would be.
But don’t take my word for it, go check it out at your local theater and feel free to weigh in with your thoughts and feelings. I’m really interested to hear what everyone else thinks, so long as you keep it spoiler free for everyone else.