Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) Director: Gareth Edwards
Rogue One is Disney’s first foray into a side-story that takes place within the Star Wars universe, but does not necessarily follow the Skywalker saga, though it does rely upon tropes from the original trilogy. It was directed by Gareth Edwards (of the Godzilla reboot fame).
It tells the story of Galen Erso who is a scientist hiding out from the empire on a remote farm with his family. One day, the empire finds him so he sends his daughter away to hide while the empire takes Galen to build a unique new weapon, the Death Star. The film takes place in the years before the original trilogy. His daughter, Jyn, is rescued by Saw Guererra, who later becomes a separatist rebel leader apart from the rebel alliance. Later, Jyn grows up and is taken by the rebellion in an effort to encourage her to convince Saw Guerrera to share the plans for the Death Star base that were sent to him by a secret pilot from Galen Erso. Jyn briefly sees the plan and the explanation that Galen built a weakness into the station. Then, the empire suddenly blows up the planet while Jyn escapes. They go to Galen’s research facility but right when they arrive Galen is attacked for releasing plans by the empire, and he dies in Jyn’s arms. Back with the rebels, she launches a plan to steal the schematic plan for the Death Star, which they do at the last moment and beam the plans up to the rebel alliance. Interestingly, Jyn dies with her compatriots in the effort to release the weakness of the Death Star (hence why Mon Mothma says “many bothans died to bring us this information” in the original series).
Rogue One is the first experiment with Disney releasing Star Wars stories and films that are loosely related to the canonical story. Felicity Jones plays Jyn Erso. Also, Forest Whitaker surprisingly appears in the film and does a terrific job. The film also does a great job of recreating Tarkin and Princess Leia, as well as Darth Vader. Note: John Williams did not score the film. Apparently, George Lucas enjoyed the film more than The Force Awakens.
Rogue One is a surprisingly entertaining and enjoyable film. It does justice to the original trilogy and is the best of the side Star Wars films that have been released so far (Solo was a complete disaster of a film) and the plot and acting is compelling. It is certainly far better than the dumpster fire and complete failure that was The Last Jedi. Well worth a viewing for fans of the Star Wars saga.