How Rogue One Became the Best Star Wars Movie Ever: A Review


Take what you love about Star Wars, remove the unnecessary plot points, wrap it with a Darth Vader bow and you’ve got Rogue One: The Best Star Wars Story.

Think about all the things you love about Star Wars — the action, the thrill, the wonder. Now multiply those feelings by 100. All summer, we heard nerve-wracking rumors that Rogue One was falling apart day by day. Then, an onslaught of negativity followed the “The Jyn Erso Movie” marketing campaign. While hope seemed lost for a minute, Rogue One brought it back. Further, it was a movie made by fans for fans.

More importantly, it did not play as advertised.

Now, Rogue One stands very far away from being a Mary Sue movie entirely about Jyn Erso. In fact, the movie spent two hours giving each character equal screen time, and their fair share of laughs and heart. Unlike previous entries, Rogue One didn’t get three movies to tell a story. Instead, it removed all excess characters that didn’t serve the plot, pushed all the political hoo-ha to the Outer Rim and gave the rebels enough development to make the ending of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story one of the most heartbreaking scenes of the franchise.

An obligatory shot of Jyn Erso, who makes us happy because she gets to talk so much. Image via Disney/Lucasfilm; still from final Rogue One trailer released October 13.

So, forget how you think you feel about any character you’ve seen.

Whether Captain Cassian Andor, Chirrut Imwe or Baze Malbus piqued your curiosity or not, Rogue One made them standout stars against a backdrop of turmoil and war. Each character belonged there. Likewise, the Rebellion needed them and the story needed them.

Amidst all the urgency of stealing the Death Star plans, Rogue One did something that George Lucas failed to do in Episodes IV-VI.

Rogue One made the Rebellion seem much more real than a faceless organization led by Princess Leia or rescued by Luke Skywalker. As we watched the Rebellion’s sacrifice play out for two hours, suddenly the celebration at the end of Return of the Jedi felt earned and weighted by what the members of Rogue One achieved.

Additionally, Rogue One managed to use the outline set before them by the original trilogy and create a brand new and much more refreshing story with twice the excitement and zero lightsabers. Unlike The Force Awakens that followed the tried and true Star Wars formula and threw nostalgic references around like party favors, Rogue One used its cameos sparingly and wisely. Plus, it took advantage of every 2016 digital advancement it could find and made a movie that looked modern while also taking place at the same time as the movie that came out in 1977.

Unfortunately, the worst part about Rogue One happens to be that I don’t know who to thank for its achievements. Did Gareth Edwards use his childhood obsession to craft Rogue One as lovingly and thrilling as possible? Or was it the combination of Kathleen Kennedy’s direction and Tony Gilroy’s adjustments?

Regardless, Lucasfilm outdid itself with Rogue One and every movie forward should take notes from it. Just like the Rebellion didn’t crumble under the Empire, Rogue One wasn’t burdened by previous Star Wars movies.

And in its freedom, it became the best Star Wars movie ever.

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is now playing in theaters nationwide.