Rogue One Brings a New Hope to Star Wars Franchise

“A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…” Star Wars has been a crucial part of pop culture since the first movie was released in 1977. Over time, the franchise has grown into a massive cultural staple with seven movies telling the story of the Skywalker family and the Jedi who protect the universe from those who turn to the Dark Side.

The newest addition to the Star Wars universe is Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The movie follows a band of rebels, led by Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), as they work to steal the plans for the Death Star and deliver them to the Alliance. Rogue One takes places right before Episode IV, A New Hope, and this new addition matches the older film in spirit and addictiveness. Not only does Rogue One provide a look into a part of the series that fans have never seen, it explains a plot hole that has bothered audiences since 1977–getting an explanation on how a young man in a single-person ship can destroy a massive planet like war ship with one shot. We learn why that weakness exists and how Princess Leia and the Alliance received those instructions. Just like the original film trilogy, Rogue One takes the audience on an emotional story filled with daring escapades, a fight for the good of the universe, and, of course, love. Throughout the movie, familiar faces-human, alien, and droid alike-make a cameo, further stitching the stories together.

Director Gareth Edwards, also known for his film Godzilla, helped create a Star Wars film that could stand alone. Unlike the other Star Wars stories, Rogue One can and does exist without the help of the rest of the series. While the movie lacks the long scrolling text associated with the franchise and a famous John Williams score, Edwards easily melds the story into the overall plot of the series. However, easily the best part of the film is the action-packed scenes. From aerial battles where x-wing ships swing around each other like dandelion seeds, to battles that leave audience members both amazed and horrified, Edwards keeps everyone stuck to the edge of their seats watching the rebels face-off with the massive Empire.

As with all of the Star Wars movies, what makes the audience stay is whether or not they care about the characters. Jyn Erso is not held back by cheap CGI or Jar Jar Binks. She holds the weight of a father taken by the Empire, played by Mads Mikkelsen, and the desire to defeat the evils of her universe on her shoulders. The audience drives right into the heart of darkness that is the Empire with her, and it feels like it is also a part of the fight for victory. Erso and her group of rebels bring a renewed love for the Star Wars universe by giving the fans a prequel that they’ve always wanted.

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