Please Note: The following contains major spoilers to Rogue One, so if you didn’t see the movie and don’t want to be spoiled, then don’t read ahead.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the first standalone film in the Star Wars series, meaning that it falls outside of the Skywalker Saga and doesn’t have an Episode attached to it.
The irony, though, is that there is nothing stand-alone about this production.
Rogue One is not a movie, but rather a Valentine to Star Wars fans. The bigger the fan you are of the series, the more you will enjoy going to the theater.
Back in grade school, when the original Star Wars came out (I was in third grade), the biggest school yard bragging rights came from how many times you have seen Episode IV. At the time, it was not even called Episode IV or A New Hope, but simply Star Wars.
And remember, there was no home video back then and Internet to find out what the movie was about. No, if you wanted to see Star Wars, you needed to go to the cinema and plop down your three or so dollars and sit there for two hours.
Star Wars wasn’t just a movie, it was an investment in a way of life.
And 39 years later, Disney recognizes that and made a movie for those fans.
Because, how else can you explain a movie that is considered a success where every single main character is killed by the end of the flick?
With all due respect to Felicity Jones and Diego Luna, who were very good in the movie, they are not the stars of Rogue One. The Star Wars Universe takes center stage.
You didn’t care both died in a Death Star induced nuclear like explosion on the planet, because two minutes later you were cheering seeing Darth Vader in all his bad glory tearing up rebels.
And really there wasn’t any need to hate the film’s villain played by Ben Mendelsohn, because you knew he was a lightweight compared to the resurrected Peter Cushing and Vader himself.
It didn’t matter if he was shot in the back by Luna’s character, because he was a throwaway. As were all the protagonists and new characters.
Heck, the who father-daughter thing between Galen and Jyn Urso, was just a setup to close a plot-hole in the original movie.
What made Rogue One work is all the Easter Eggs dribbled throughout. You watched to see how they brought Grand Moff Tarkin back to life and see Jimmy Smits as Bael Organa again.
You gasped when Jyn Urso (Jones’s character) was in the very base on Yarvin IV looking in the dish where Princess Leia and C3PO watched as Luke destroyed the Death Star.
And you got to see Darth Vader’s castle on Mustafar, the very same planet, he was maimed by Obi-Wan in Revenge of the Sith.
That’s what this movie was about. It’s a trip down memory lane. It was almost like a thank you from Disney to the biggest fans of the series, also known as those of us who paid their hard earned to see the Prequel Trilogy and ultimately disappointed and to those of us who made The Force Awakens into one of the most successful movies of all time.
Rogue One is not a movie for someone who is being introduced to the series and not for younger children, who will get emotionally invested into the newer characters, just to see them killed onscreen.
But it is a movie for us fans. You know, those of us, who waited on line in 1983 to see Return of the Jedi and there at the midnight showing of The Phantom Menace.
Rogue One was the prequel we were looking for back in 1999 and 17 years later, we finally have our trip down memory lane.