|© 2016 Lucasfilm Ltd.|
John Knoll’s original pitch, back in the mid 2000’s to Rick McCallum for the Underworld TV series and later to Kathleen Kennedy after the Disney acquisition is already the stuff of movie lore, but bringing a concept from paper to screen is far more difficult. Factor in the absence of the man who created the original canvas – George Lucas - from the equation and understandably there was reason to doubt it could be successfully pulled off. Through skill, craft, good fortune and some deft observations the end result is a triumph. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story manages to pull off the seemingly impossible and evoke not only the stylistic, 70’s infused look of the original film but fold in cutting edge visual effects technology without it feeling obtrusive. It also brings back a character from beyond in such a remarkably clever way, if it doesn’t win some kind of special technical award next spring then there really is no justice.
|©2016 Lucasfilm Ltd.|
Our team comes together. Reprogrammed Imperial droid with a sarcasm chip in full working order K-2SO. Guardians of the whills Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus. Former Imperial pilot turned defector Bodhi Rook, Cassian and Jyn Erso herself. We have a team, we have a mission, but there’s far more to this film than a simple, linear task. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story not only chronicles the theft of the Death Star plans but also a sea change in the attitude and focus of the alliance. To take victory they must make the hardest choices, risk the highest stakes. Rogue One sees the alliance do just that through the inspiring determination and sacrifice of this rag-tag group.
Much has been made of the leadership skills of Jyn Erso, but her role is far more involved than that. Changed by the realisation that her father sacrificed everything to save the galaxy from tyranny and make it a better place for his daughter – a daughter Galen doesn’t know is alive or dead – she inspires the alliance to go for broke and TAKE the plans, fully aware that the odds are she won’t be coming back. Cassian is with her every step of the way, as are the rest of the team. Led by orders from a determined general, by order of his master, obligation to a friend, a deep belief in the Force, it doesn’t matter. Every member of the core team and the soldiers who join them are driven to succeed, even when the shield gate above Scarif closes and escape is impossible.
|©2016 Lucasfilm Ltd.|
destroyed, the station is more of a threat here than in A New Hope. By Episode IV the station is fully operational and set to kill, as opposed to stun as it is here. Seeing the destruction of the holy city and the citadel on Scarif is genuinely eerie and affecting. A rolling tsunami of land, the disappearance of the horizon, a mushroom cloud of destruction, all viewed from high above as the wreckage of the planet below reaches up like tendrils to the station above.
It’s powerful stuff and only elevates the events of A New Hope. It just goes to show the strength, four decades on, of the original film and the clever writing on show here in 2016. Both films are now eternally linked. No longer will you watch A New Hope without thinking of the sacrifices of K-2SO, Bodhi, Chirrut, Baze, Cassian and Jyn. Without their selfless actions the greatest opening scene in cinema history wouldn’t be possible. The alliance wouldn’t have in their hands the detailed knowledge or the testicular fortitude to mount an insane snub fighter attack on the Death Star. Red and Gold Leader, Ponda Baba and Dr. Evazan, Chopper and The Ghost, Princess Leia, and Grand Moff Tarkin.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story expertly shows us that nothing in the Star Wars galaxy is out of bounds. Future standalone episodes will follow, giving us further insight into beloved saga episode characters. All of that is made possible by the ground-breaking work done here by Lucasfilm, the writers and producers, director Gareth Edwards and his top-notch cast.
The horizon is gone.
Mark was first caught in the Star Wars tractor beam back in late 1977, when Star Wars finally arrived in the UK. He launched Lightsabre in late June 1999 and after a decade as one of the UK's best known Star Wars sites merged with Jedi News in August 2010. He has written for Star Wars Insider since 2006 and has contributed to Build The Millennium Falcon magazine. He is an Honorary Friend of both the 501st and the Rebel Legion and is co-host of RADIO 1138 and Take Cover on the Jedi News Network.
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