“Rogue One” sets the standard for standalone “Star Wars” films

"Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" posters lined movie theaters for months. (Alexis/Flickr, Creative Commons)

Disney’s latest installment in the Star Wars universe was Gareth Edwards’ “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” Unlike many of the other films in the “Star Wars” franchise, “Rogue One” was a standalone film, so there will be no sequel. The film served as a prequel to “Star Wars: A New Hope” by following a group of rebels who are trying to uncover the secrets of the Empire space station known as the Death Star.  The group is led by and Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), the daughter of the Death Star’s head engineer and Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), a rebel fighter who would do anything for the Alliance. While uncovering the secrets of the Death Star, Cassian and Jyn meet defected Imperial Pilot Bohdi Rook (Riz Ahmed), Guardian of the Whills Chirrut Îmwe (Donnie Yen) and mercenary Baze Malbus (Wen Jiang).

“Rogue One” gave the audience everything they have grown to expect and love from a Star Wars film: action, adventure, comedy, drama and some truly amazing special effects. Since “Rogue One” took place in a universe that most movie-goers are familiar with, screenwriters did not have to waste much time on exposition or explanation, which allowed the plot to gain momentum early on in the film. The plot itself was easy to follow but the constant introduction of new places and characters occasionally left the viewer confused about what the heroes were doing, but this did not significantly detract from the overall film experience. The film’s dark ending might take some viewers by surprise, as it showed the true price the Rebels had to pay for the Death Star plans, but it was a great way to end a great film.  

Characters like the droid K-2SO brought some much-needed comedy to the comparatively dark storyline, helping create a more enjoyable and balanced narrative. Each actor played their part very well, highlighting their characters’ unique traits and fighting styles. Fans of the original series would be happy to hear that James Earl Jones reprised his role as the voice of Sith Lord Darth Vader, who got to show off his lightsaber abilities in a great fight scene toward the end of the film.

The visuals in “Rogue One” were simply stunning. Although the film did not use the practical effects that made the original trilogy so revolutionary, the computer generated work was extensively detailed. The CG Death Star was based on the exact dimensions of the miniature used in the original trilogy, which allowed it to look almost as realistic as the practical model itself.  There was some controversy surrounding the special effects of the film, as the SFX team recreated deceased actor Peter Cushing (who played Governor Tarkin in the original trilogy) with CG. The effect itself was amazing, as the films special effects team was able to create a fairly believable rendering of the actor, but it left some critics to question the ethics of recreating a deceased actor.

Overall, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” was a very well done film that featured a diverse and talented cast of actors. The film’s plot was full of adventure and excitement, helping to re-establish the importance of the “Star Wars” franchise in the 21st century. Although “Rogue One” was a standalone film, even casual science fiction fans can’t help but be excited for upcoming “Star Wars” films upon leaving the theater. “Rogue One” is a must-see film for “Star Wars” fans of any age this season.


Lauren Brown is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at lauren.brown@uconn.edu.