Title: Rogue One
Release Date: December 16, 2016
Director: Gareth Edwards
Production Company: Lucasfilm Ltd., Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
This Star Wars spinoff tells the story of the events that happened immediately before the original 1977 Star Wars film, showing a ragtag band of Rebels stealing the plans for the Death Star. While the main Star Wars saga details the experiences of generals, princesses, and Jedi knights, this movie offer more of a “working class” perspective of the Star Wars universe. The film is full of references and special treats for fans of Star Wars and they could be accused of overdoing it, but ultimately I don’t think it detracts from Rogue One as a standalone film. Like the best Star Wars films, the focus is on quickly developing and making the audience care about this group of characters. Standout characters include Alan Tudyk as the sarcastic droid K-2SO and Donnie Yen as Chirrut Îmwe, a blind warrior-monk with a strong faith in the Force. At the head of the Rogue One team is Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso who doesn’t shout commands or make wisecracks, but leads with a quiet confidence. I appreciate Jones’ performance not only as representation for women as leaders but also for introverts. It’s unfortunate that this group will only appear in this one movie as I’d love to see more of them. Nevertheless, I found this an interesting expansion of the Star Wars universe, both beautifully-filmed and character driven.