Rogue One: Putting the War in Star Wars


Graphic by Jacquelyn Johnson

By Ariel Harmon, Reporter

“It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire.

“During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet.”


So begins the very first “Star Wars” movie. Those two sentences are also the exact plot of the new movie, “Rogue One.” When “Rogue One” started, you could tell right away that the movie would be different from every “Star Wars” movie that had come before. The well-known words came onto the screen: “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….” but there was no scrolling text, no background to be told before this movie began. It felt like a “Star Wars” movie, but for the first time, it seemed like a real war movie.

“Star Wars” is a franchise that has brought joy to millions of people since the first movie in 1977. “Rogue One,” the new film that came out on Dec. 16, 2016, is the first “Star Wars” film that you really need to think twice about taking your child to see. The movie is rated PG-13, but don’t go into the theater thinking that this movie won’t give a small child nightmares, because it possibly could. They aren’t messing around in this movie, things get real.

“Rogue One” offers a new perspective into the the world of a rebel soldier. In past “Star Wars” movies, rebels have always been seen as the good guys dressed all in white, and the alliance symbolizes hope against the empire. In this movie, we see the thin line the rebel soldiers walk when deciding how to fight back against the Empire. It is a war between the Rebel Alliance and the Empire, and in war, there are always casualties on both sides. In “Rogue One,” we see how the people from the alliance had to commit certain questionable acts in order to continue the rebellion and how those sins weigh heavily on them. When we first see one of our “heroes,” they do something that made the audience gasp. Luke Skywalker and Han Solo would never have gone that far.

This movie is the most diverse in the “Star Wars” universe yet. The major characters are people of every color. There is more than one woman in the movie for a change. There always has to be a droid in a “Star Wars” film and “Rogue One” was no different. K-2SO was a reprogrammed Imperial droid who has the soul of a snarky teenager. His sarcasm and petty actions gave the movie some humor that was very appreciated. And of course we have to talk about the new squad of heroes. Chirrut Imwe was a kickass blind fighter who was a guardian of a destroyed Jedi temple. He brought the Force to each battle. His best friend brings a huge gun to each battle. Captain Cassian Andor has a long history with the rebel alliance, giving his whole life to their cause and having to do dark tasks that might not always seem like things the rebels would do. Cassian plays an important role, showing the inner workings of the rebellion. Finally, there is Jyn Erso, the woman behind the capture of the Death Star plans. Jyn Erso is one of the few women who is a leading “Star Wars” character, and she is one of my favorites. She is a fighter who leads the small group to capture the Death Star plans from the Imperial archives. Jyn Erso is a fierce woman who has learned how to survive by herself yet she still has a fire that the Empire hasn’t been able to extinguish.

Let’s talk about the Empire, in particular one member of the Empire: Darth Vader. Darth Vader wasn’t seen much in the movie, however you could tell of his importance in the Empire through the mentions of his name and how Imperial officers would react. Darth Vader has a two minute action scene that is the greatest scene of the movie. It might be the best two minutes of any movie. This scene isn’t for children; I will tell you that. Darth Vader in “Rogue One” was a symbol of destruction and death, with his red lightsaber Darth Vader cut through any notion that there was good left in him.

“Rogue One” is one of the few prequels that truly adds to the original films and lets the audience and fans see deeper into the world of “Star Wars.” In “Rogue One” you see so many familiar faces from “Episode IV: A New Hope.” They bring actors who have passed away back to life for small cameos using CGI. This movie has so many little snippets and cameos from the other “Star Wars” shows that you will need to talk about it with someone to catch all the details you missed. There are so many cool bits they throw in for a few seconds that connects to the other shows. You learn why Luke Skywalker was called Red Five in the Rebel Alliance. We see the ship Ghost from the animated cartoon “Star Wars Rebels.” You run into the two aliens who try to beat up Luke in the cantina. In this new movie, there are so many things that you don’t even realize until you start thinking about all the little bits in “Rogue One.”

“Rogue One” is a fantastic movie. Honestly, if you care at all about “Star Wars,” you need to go watch “Rogue One” to fill in the gaps of your knowledge.