Thanks to the record-breaking success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the saga set in a “galaxy far, far away” has returned to theaters in a big way. Now director Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) hopes to help the saga forge ahead with Rogue One, the first standalone anthology entry in the franchise. Set just before A New Hope, there’s no telling what kind of action fans may be in for during the film, which follows the team of Rebels who stole the plans to the first Death Star. However, Rogue One will have to be careful not to fall into any of these possible pitfalls if it will prove to be a worthwhile addition to Star Wars mythos. [Update, 10/14/16: Added second full-length trailer, below.]
[Update, 5/31/16: Added reshoot rumors.] Although the movie’s release is still several months away, some Disney executives were apparently not satisfied with the first cut of the film. According to insider sources cited by Page Six, the movie will be undergoing reshoots this summer. It’s not clear from the report what the issues are with the first cut of the film.
1. Unnecessary ties to previous films
Although the setting of Rogue One indicates that the film heavily factors into the events of A New Hope, the film will no doubt falter if it remains too closely knit to the original films. Part of the fun of these anthology films is the opportunity to explore new aspects of the established story and open up the Star Wars universe even more. Tying all the events and characters of Rogue One (for example, if Jyn Erso turns out to be Rey’s mother) could hurt that ambition.
2. Wasting a stellar ensemble cast
The original Star Wars trilogy largely created stars out of relative unknowns, but Rogue One is taking a vastly different approach when it comes to casting. The film stars Oscar-nominated actress Felicity Jones and features such acclaimed performers as Oscar winner Forest Whitaker, Hong Kong action superstar Donnie Yen, Ben Mendelsohn (Bloodline) and Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal). The new characters of The Force Awakens did not disappoint, and with such an impressive cast, Rogue One better not either.
3. Failure to serve as a war film
Director Gareth Edwards has said that Rogue One will mark a distinct departure from the previous Star Wars films in that it aims to capture what the Galactic Civil War — nearly devoid of Force users — is like in this universe. As such, the final release needs to reflect this. So far, the gritty, grounded take on battle seen in the trailers seems to convey the tone that Edwards has described, but here’s hoping that this approach is actually reflected throughout the film. The Jedi, for example, should steer clear.
4. Lack of world-building
Although Rogue One needs to concentrate on telling its own story, the film should still incorporate a significant amount of world-building for the struggle between the Empire and the Rebel Alliance. Thus far, fans have only gotten glimpses at how the war goes down between these conflicting factions in the original trilogy. This film has an opportunity to shed some real light on those in power as well as the complex dynamic at play that has implications that stretch across the galaxy. Please don’t get lost in the politics of it all though.
5. Improper use of popular characters
For the most part, Rogue One features an entirely new cast of characters. Yet, technically, the film still serves as a prequel to A New Hope and does include at least a few returning characters. Genevieve O’Reilly reprises her brief Revenge of the Sith role as Mon Mothma, and all signs point to Darth Vader playing a significant role, with Hayden Christensen possibly popping up to play him. Seeing these popular characters during a different point in the timeline could be fun and add new dimension to them, but Rogue One needs to tread carefully to avoid the fan wrath that the prequel trilogies inspired.
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