Why Rogue One Is the Star Wars Film You’ve Been Waiting For
When Rogue One hit theaters last December, it marked the 9th theatrical Star Wars film released since the original Star Wars. Despite the overall positive reviews and over 1 billion at the box office, there are a small but loud group of dissenters who dismiss the film for being boring, lacking of characters, and largely “Fan Service.”
Rogue One is far from a perfect film but to me it is a very good and memorable one.
More than that, it is a film for original fans craving a deeper and more in depth adult story than younger Star Wars fans are used to.
The film starts out slow and the main character, Jyn, has no purpose. The film doesn’t try to hide that, in fact this is the point.
She feels abandoned, first by her parents, then by Saw Gerrera, then by the whole Galaxy.
She has a right to her apathy.
I think some people took this as some kind of fake tough girl act. That she was trying to live up to some “strong female role” character type. I think they missed the point that she was failing on her own. She was a survivor but she had been captured by the Empire and was on her way to work camp when the Rebels found her.
Even as she tried to escape, she failed at that too.
The rebels offer her a chance to “get involved” and she shuns at first. Seeing a flag on every planet in the galaxy isn’t a problem “if you don’t look up”, she says to Saw.
She’s not a hero. She is actually one the first female anti heroes in Star Wars.
This shows that non archetypal characters can exist and still lead an arch plot story.
It’s not until she sees her father’s message, where true or not, it gives her life and abandonment a reason and a purpose. She becomes invested.
Jyn wants to clear her father’s name and if possible, see him again.
This is her motivation.
When her father is killed, and his message not accepted, her purpose is clear. Her mission is clear. A strong motivation is an essential point to make in any story.
When you contrast her character with Rey from The Force Awakens, we have no idea who Rey is or why she’s helping this droid find it’s way back to the rebellion. When she refuses to sell him, she pauses but we have no idea what’s she’s thinking or why.
All we have to go on is that Rey is the main character of the story and she must to the right thing. Rey makes up for these character omissions because she has a lot of charisma and charm but her character development is broken.
Jyn may not have Rey’s charisma but her motivations are more relatable and believable.
A lot of people have slammed Rogue One for being “boring” up until the last few minutes and then called the action “fanboy service.”
This is simply wrong and unfair.
If the action in this movie is fanboy service then you can pretty much say that about all the action in all the star wars films. I personally don’t think there was more of a fan boy moment in any Star Wars film than when Rey piloted the Millennium Falcon from Jakku.
So why would a group of rebels agree to go on a suicide mission to retrieve some plans of the Death Star that may or may not exist?
This is the plot point I love most about the movie.
At the beginning of the film we see Cassian, a rebel agent, murder someone. It’s the first time we see the Rebels do something clearly “unethical”.
We learn that Cassian is one of many rebel agents and operatives who have been asked to do things that go against their ideas of right and wrong. It brings the idea of a rebellion into more realistic terms for the adult fans of Star Wars.
War, even one depicted in a space fantasy, has to be complex and enigmatic. The rebels have to do what they can for information and survival. They use these characters to get that job done and they pay this price personally while the face of the rebellion can be more righteous. But when the Rebellion starts to fall apart in the face of the threat of the Death Star, they are the first ones to step up.
Because while these rogue fighters and assassins can run and hide from the Empire, they can’t run from themselves and what they all have done.
They have the courage to face death but they want their legacy and what they have done to mean something. This is why the rebel crew relate to Jyn and why they are willing to do what they do. They are motivated to fight for a chance to win and a chance to have meaning. They follow Jyn because her story about the Death Star plans gives them hope.
So many star wars fans missed this.
This Star Wars movie was for the older, adult fans who can accept themes like motivation, redemption, and sacrifice within a space action adventure.
On another story level, let’s not forget Rogue One ties up a massive plot hole from the original Star Wars. It explains to the audience after 40 years of debate why it was so easy to blow up the Death Star with one shot from an X-wing.
It’s hard enough creating a complete and concise story by itself but to address plot points in two (maybe more) films is a feat of STORY BADASSERY!
This story is packed with full and explicit motivation for the main characters.
It’s offering redemption for those bad elements of rebel actions in the past allowing the soul of the rebellion to continue and be the voice of righteousness.
Lastly, it speaks on sacrifice, in a way that we’ve rarely see in action adventure films.
Will your stories be as righteous and entertaining? I can’t wait to see.
Story never ends!
Agree or disagree? Leave your comments below!