Star Wars Celebration had plenty of big reveals over the course of its four day run. With the premiere of the second trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a showing of two new episodes of Star Wars: Rebels, and plenty other panels and events, it was a damn good time to be a Star Wars fan. However, one of the biggest mysteries of the celebration was whether the Star Wars: Rogue One panel would provide any new information about the stand-alone movie. Thankfully, both Rogue One Director Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) and Producer Kathleen Kennedy were in attendance to finally talk about the project.
According to Edwards, Rogue One, which was written by Garry Whitta (Telltale’s The Walking Dead) and Chris Weitz (About a Boy), follows a group of rebel insurgents uniting to steal the plans to the first Death Star. The film is said to be less of a fantastical take on Star Wars, aiming instead to be more of a “realistic” war movie. Additionally, Edward’s went on to say that members of Rogue One’s crew worked on several notable war epics, including Saving Private Ryan, Black Hawk Dawn and Zero Dark Thirty.
“It comes down to a group who don’t have magical powers, who somehow have to bring hope to the galaxy.”-Edwards
Along with Edwards’ brief synopsis of the film’s plot and the confirmation that Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything) will star as a Rebel soldier, Lucasfilm’s VP of Development Kiri Hart has stated that all stand-alone Star Wars films produced by Lucasfilm will be outside of the episodic main series. Instead, Star Wars: Rogue One and future stand-alone movies will be identified as “anthology” films.
Though no actual footage from the movie was shown (filming for Rogue One starts later this summer), both Edwards and Kennedy presented a brief teaser-of-sorts constructed by Industrial Lights and Magic (ILM), showcasing the film’s possible look and tone. The footage opens against a black background with Obi-Wan “Ben” Kenobi’s (Alec Guinness) conversation with Luke Skywalker about the fall of the Jedi Order and the rise of the Galactic Empire. The scene changes to a view of jungle/forest planet with the Death Star looming very close overhead. A radio transmission crackles to life with soldiers screaming and yelling. Soon after, the title card of Star Wars: Rogue One is displayed before evaporating into static.
It’s interesting to note that this Star Wars film will be the first in the franchise to not focus on the Jedi or the Sith. Being able to see a different perspective of the galaxy that is not through the eyes of a Force user, but possibly through the eyes of grunt in the larger galactic conflict would be new and refreshing. If anything, Rogue One and other stand-alone movies could go in directions that the main episodic films would be more hesitant to explore. It’s very possible that the lead or the entire cast of Rogue One could be all dead by the time the credits roll. It would be a much darker version of Star Wars that we have yet to see in cinemas.
If I have any concerns about Rogue One it’s Edwards himself. I don’t doubt Edwards’ enthusiasm for the project. He, like JJ Abrams (Star Trek), has been a life-long Star Wars fan and his passion for the franchise is clear. His last film, Godzilla, was received with mixed reactions from audiences, with many criticizing the movie’s pacing, characters and lack of screentime for a certain giant lizard. Monsters, his first feature film, was also similarly criticized. I’m hopeful that Edwards has listened to the complaints and addresses them accordingly when making Rogue One. I doubt the director wants to infuriate the masses of Star Wars fans eagerly awaiting his film.
Star Wars: Rogue One will fly into theatres December 16, 2016.
What about you reader? Are you interested in seeing the first stand-alone Star Wars movie? Any concerns? Let us know in the comments below!