Surprise, Surprise. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story isn’t just blatant milking of the franchise. In many ways, it deserves to be Episode 3.5.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Synopsis
Research scientist Galen Erso defects from the Empire but is captured and forced to complete the construction of the first Death Star. Before he is taken away, however, he manages to send away his young daughter, Jyn. Fifteen years later, a grown-up Jyn is held in imperial custody but is soon rescued by the Rebels. She is then told that Galen, still alive, has sent word about a weakness he has designed into the Death Star. Together with a small group of Rebels, Jyn sets out to rescue her father and to collect the all-important information.
I wasn’t too excited about Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Like some SW fans, I worried about this new episode being final proof of our beloved franchise descending into permanent sequelitis. At the same time, I was also affected by my long-time hatred of the godawful “expanded universe” novels. In the case of those, their formula seems always a case of 1) new world and new characters, 2) unprecedented new crisis, and 3) kill everything to demonstrate severity of crisis. Just reading the synopsis for Rogue One gave me the feeling of yet another lame Star Wars expanded universe story albeit one in motion picture format. Everything had the cheap and sour taste of another attempt to milk the Star Wars brand. Bland and uninspiring plotting seems inevitable.
Well, surprise, Rogue One does utilises the expanded universe formula, but the difference is that the producers actually manage to make it work.
The story pulls no surprise, given we already know the outcome since the 70s. But through skillful storytelling and pacing, there is never one dull moment throughout the show. In fact, the story actually completes and elevates A New Hope, beginning with how it clarifies once and for all the immediate events leaping to Episode IV.
And then there are the cameos too, achieved through marvellous CGI and tastefully dropped into the show at just the right moments. On these, it’s fan service that is delectable but never in-your-face. It also vastly refines the approach used in The Force Awakens. The short of it, fans get what they want, but that is not all there is to look forward to. There is so much more.
PS: For those yet to watch, cameos don’t come just from the movies. Rebels is considered canon too. Hint hint.
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