The much anticipated Rogue One burst into cinemas this week, the first of the Star Wars Anthology movies – one-off stories that take place within the Star Wars universe but are separate to the episodes. Rogue One, directed by Godzilla’s Gareth Edwards, tells the story told in the opening crawl of A New Hope, of the group of rebels who stole the plans to the Death Star.
One of the main highlights of this film is the diversity of the cast. This is the first Star Wars movie to be led solely by a female protagonist, played by Felicity Jones, and the casting of European, American and Asian actors is something to be applauded in an industry which is often accused of ‘whitewashing’. Standouts are the droid K-2SO played by Alan Tudyk and Donnie Yen’s Chirrut Imwe.
Rogue One definitely feels different to a typical Star Wars movie. Gareth Edwards described his goal as making the first war movie in the franchise, which he has achieved – the film has plenty of glorious battle scenes and isn’t afraid to show the great sacrifice the group of rebels made in order to defeat the Empire.
Of course one of the most anticipated parts of this movie’s release is the return of Darth Vader. Apart from two scenes, one of which is jump-out-of-your-seat amazing, Vader is barely in the film, but those moments are so well done that they add just the right amount of nostalgia to throw back to the original trilogy. Something that Rogue One achieves greatly is just how well the film manages to link into A New Hope. It is completely seamless, and the third act manages to perfectly tie up the Rogue One storyline and segue into Episode 4.
Overall, I was very impressed by Rogue One and now look forward to seeing more of what these anthology movies have to offer. Disney and LucasFilm seem to have a clear vision of where to take this franchise and Star Wars is back on form.