Okay, I have to admit: as much as I was looking forward to The Force Awakens, the Star Wars film that I was *really* interested in is this one. Rogue One is a prequel — the only real one, as far as I’m concerned — set before A New Hope. It tells the tale of how the plans for the Death Star were stolen, which is referenced to in A New Hope often and how the Rebellion is able to take down the space base.
The movie is described as a heist film, which means it will probably take on the approach that so many others do: a rag-tag team of somewhat shady characters is assembled, a la Ocean’s 11 or Suicide Squad, to sneak into the Empire and steal plans for the most dangerous weapon in the galaxy.
Each character will (probably) have a very specific set of skills that will ultimately be required, there will be tension because of their differences (but they’ll ultimately come together), and the possibilities of one of them dying may be pretty high. That’s the standard formula that I’m okay with. However it’s the sprinkling of Star Wars is that really intrigues me. From classic droids and costume designs, to characters (Mon Mothma) and even locations (Yaniv-4) returning from past films, the touches are all there. And the darker tone is a welcome stretch for the series.
The hero of the film looks as if it’s Felicity Jones’ Jyn Erso, though her standing within the galaxy looks dubious at best. Is she a thief? Is she the rogue that the film is titled after?
Set decades before The Force Awakens, the fighting style returns to being samurai-based instead of the new trilogy’s medieval sword fighting; kudos to director Gareth Edwards on maintaining that direction.
And hey, there are AT-ATs. YES.
That all leads to what could be a great standalone film, and one that won’t detract from the series as a whole yet will fill in some of the background. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story arrives in December as a part of Disney & Lucasfilm’s yearly rollout of films.