By: Elliott Garske
In 2015, the entire world watched as Star Wars: The Force Awakens revitalized the franchise into an entirely new kind of juggernaut. The Space Fantasy genre was never so popular. The next year however brought a different kind of Star Wars film. This film wasn’t just a space fantasy. It was a space war.
Star Wars: Rogue One, the first live-action Star Wars spinoff and what is regarded as the best Star Wars to be put out by Disney, turned 5 on December 16, 2021.
Rogue One is special in many ways, a huge one being how much of a difference in tone the film gives off compared to all other movies in the franchise. It has been said many times, and for good reason, that Rogue One is a space war. The grittier take on the beginning of the Galactic Civil War featured in the Original Trilogy brings a surprisingly well thought out sense of depth and greyness to the Rebels and the Empire that manages to really change how a lot of people viewed each side after 30 years of the classic “good vs evil” schtick. The guerilla tactics and interrogation methods that the Rebels employ make them much less of the “pillar of good” the originals made them out to be, and the Empire is shown to not be the sort of completely evil kingdom of only horrible people that they are depicted to be in the form of the sacrifices Galen Erso has to make in order to make sure the Death Star has its weakness, and the bravery it takes for Bohdi Rook to attempt to defect with information on the Death Star.
Rogue One also does something huge that is probably the thing you think of when Rogue One is mentioned. All the main characters sacrifice themselves in order to get the Death Star plans to the Tantive IV. This has of course never been done before in the franchise, and while at first does seem like an easy way to keep continuity for the other movies, it really serves the greater themes of the movie. Every character’s death in some way is required so the others can move forward. This combined with a continuous showing of characters who truly believe in their cause like Cassian Andor and K-2SO towards the Rebels and Chirrub and Baze towards the threads of the old Jedi ways they cling on to shows how anyone, no matter how small can achieve great things as long as they truly believe in their cause.
Rogue One is a truly unique film in a franchise already containing some of the most unique stories in fiction. The different perspective on the conflict many people have known for upwards of 30 years only builds upon the legacy of Star Wars as a whole, which just goes to show how amazing of an entry to the franchise it really is.