Movie Review - Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Rogue One Looks to the Past as it Begins a Bold New Chapter for Star Wars

By Felix Quinonez Jr.

December 23, 2016

We're, like, with the Empire and stuff.

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Hitting the ground running, Rogue One, directed by Gareth Edwards, wastes no time establishing itself as a thrilling piece of pop entertainment. The first of a planned anthology series stands on its own and is a great addition to the Star Wars saga. The movie takes place between Revenge of the Sith (2005) and A New Hope, (1977) both directed by George Lucas. And its events bring audiences full circle to the place where Star Wars began almost 40 years ago.

It's hard to imagine now, but a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Star Wars was just an idea dreamt up by George Lucas. Back then, it was far from a guaranteed success. In fact, at the time of its release, fewer than 50 theaters had ordered Star Wars (now known as A New Hope). In response, 20th Century Fox made the decision to only provide prints of the highly anticipated movie, The Other Side of Midnight, to theaters that also ordered Star Wars.

It was a gamble that paid off more than anyone could have ever imagined. It changed the face of the movie industry and its impact is still felt to this day. By the time the original trilogy came to a close in 1983, it was one of the most beloved series of all time. It became a juggernaut that took over the world and captured the minds of generations of fans.

So, when a second trilogy was announced, audiences waited with bated breath. Unfortunately, those movies couldn't recapture what made the originals so special. When Revenge of the Sith wrapped up the prequel trilogy, the series had calcified and grown stale. It went out with a whimper rather than a bang. It seemed that Star Wars had to go away for a little while so that the creators could dream it all up again.


The prequels erased a lot of the goodwill the series had earned, and there was a feeling that the shine had come off. Because of this, some were surprised when Disney bought LucasFilm for $4 billion in 2012. The fact is that the merchandise alone would have made it a smart buy.

But Disney wasn't ready to rest on its laurels, and they quickly announced their plans to kick-start a new trilogy and an anthology series. Understandably, Disney wants to keep the Star Wars saga going for a very long time.

The Force Awakens, directed by JJ Abrams, was the triumphant return to the big screen for Star Wars. Critics and fans alike embraced the movie, released in December of 2015, and it went on to gross over $2 billion worldwide in theaters.

By getting rid of the bloated excess of the prequels, The Force Awakens distilled Star Wars to its core elements. It also brought back some of the old favorites and pushed the original saga forward.

Although Rogue One doesn't continue the story from The Force Awakens, it shares the same kinetic energy and dives right in. There's something subtly telling about the fact that, for the first time, a Star Wars movie ditched the opening text crawl. It's a mission statement of sorts, announcing that this Star Wars story would be different.

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