Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the first live-action Star Wars film not included in the Skywalker saga (Episode I through the forthcoming episodes ‘VIII’ and ‘IX’). Set before the events of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, the film stars Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso, a new member of the Rebel Alliance tasked with tracking down the plans to the Death Star before the Empire can unleash its terror upon the galaxy.
Directed by Gareth Edwards (Godzilla, Monsters), this initial Rogue One teaser is filled with menace and bite giving us a taste Felicity Jone’s wily confidence, a freaky turn from Forest Whitaker, Ben Mendelsohn’s dashing Imperial villainy, and the return of the character Mon Mothma (!!!) from the original trilogy. This teaser sets the stakes and gives us the first taste of a non-saga film’s tone and how Disney will distinguish Rogue One from the adventures of Rey, Finn, and Poe running concurrently (‘Episode VIII,’ directed by Rian Johnson comes out December 18th, 2017). So how will these anthology film’s differ? Here is a quick look at what to expect.
1. Narrowing The Focus
The official first look at Rogue One doubles down on some of the grittier aspects of the Star Wars saga. President of Lucasfilm and Producer Kathleen Kennedy had this to say about the film, “It goes into new territory, exploring the galactic struggle from a ground-war perspective.” The teaser certainly makes Rogue One less ethereal than our first look at The Force Awakens. Yes, the fate of the galaxy still hangs in the balance, but Erso and company are just one cog in the machine. These anthology films may just shed a little light on certain corners of the Star Wars universe we’ve always been curious to see or stories we never knew we needed to see. The last shot of Felicity Jones in the teaser is absolutely fire!
2. Tone Of My Own
The only other officially announced anthology film is one based on the adventures of a young Han Solo as directed by Christopher Miller and Phil Lord (The LEGO Movie, 21 Jump Street). Already with what little info we know about the two films (the third was a rumored Boba Fett film to be directed by Fantastic Four’s Josh Trank before dissipating into thin air), this looks to be Disney’s chance to diversify the Star Wars brand the same way they did with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Star Wars will become an umbrella for all kinds of stories and genres. It looks like it’ll be a unbound galaxy after all.
3. Maxi Big Da Force
Empire Magazine stated that “Rogue One will be the first Star Wars movie without any Jedi,” which plays heavily into the notion of keeping the two brands slightly distinct and the absence of Jedi robes and lightsabers certainly goes a long way visually. Sure you have the Death Star, stormtroopers, and Rebel Alliance iconography (Yavin 4, those funky Rebel helmets from A New Hope, X-Wings), but removing the FORCE from Star Wars feels like a long time coming for fans of the now defunct Expanded Universe (My X-Wing: Rogue Squadron books are collecting dust in an attic somewhere).
4. Crossover Appeal
By the opposite token, there have been plenty of rumors of familiar faces showing up in Rogue One and even the young Han Solo film (although I don’t know if any money in the world could get Harrison Ford to show up to bookend that film Young Indiana Jones Chronicles-style). Setting Rogue One just before the original trilogy has had fans salivating at the thought of Darth Vader reappearing in all his glory (Mon Mothma showing is a wonderful surprise). People haven’t forgotten about Star Wars Rebels either, the Disney-animated show set a little earlier than the events of Rogue One. Over at io9, Rebels executive producer Dave Filoni throws the word “carefully” a lot in regards this question of those characters showing up in the live action world. We’ll see.
5. Breaking Convention
John Williams will not be scoring Rogue One. Let that sink in for a moment. This fact alone will definitely have an impact on the feel of that film. With Alexandre Desplat (The Grand Budapest Hotel, Argo) taking over scoring duties, we’re definitely in good hands. However, this got me thinking. What other conventions will these anthology films break besides the few stated above? Will there be even an opening crawl? Anything is up for grabs now. The sky’s (or maybe star’s) the limit!
What did you think of the ROGUE ONE trailer? What other types of stories would you want the Star Wars anthology films to tell? Sound off in the comments below!
All other images courtesy of StarWars.com