How Rogue One Will Challenge the Star Wars Model

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When  Gareth Edwards made the intimations at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim that Star Wars Anthologies: Rogue One would be something of a grittier approach to the franchise detailing a military mission to extract the Death Star plans from right under the Imperial’s nose, swaths of fans everywhere were both rejoicing at the fact of another Star Wars movie but also worried about whether it would truly be a Star Wars movie or just a high budget sci-fi movie.  Some worry that a Full Metal Jacket style film will lose that mysticism and mythological tendencies that we have come to know and love in the other movies.  Personally, I feel that a grittier addition to the saga and a different type of story would both benefit and expand the beloved Star Wars story, rather than hinder it.

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As a grandson of a Vietnam marine veteran I grew up hearing both the tales of hell and horror and those of kindness and kin, and let me say that hearing the stories of pain and suffering made the ones that were of mercy all the more important.  The darker ones increased the impact the of positive sides of the story.  A Star Wars example of this is found in the transition between episodes 3 (Revenge of The Sith) and 4 (A New Hope).  In spite of what some consider dubious quality for the prequels it does make sense to admit that having more story that foils other aspects later in the timeline does actually increase the force behind the scene.  Now that we know everything evil that Vader did when he was converted to the Sith we have much more to rejoice about when he is redeemed by Luke Skywalker, showing Vader’s dark fall brightens his redemption.  I feel that Rogue One (if it’s half decent) will do the same to what is mentioned of the Death Star plans in A New Hope.  If Rogue One is done right we’ll hopefully get a little teary eyed at the famous “Many Bothans died to bring us this information”.  In short, its darker tone should hopefully deepen the power of the Star Wars narrative, something any fan would be okay with.

Its darker tone should hopefully deepen the power of the Star Wars narrative.

Another thing Rogue One will hopefully do is expand the Star Wars universe into almost a genre with internal genres (if you will).  This by no means suggests we abandon the Star Wars story telling we know and love, on the contrary, it will world build around those stories making them and the franchise more believable (From a certain point of view).  Finally, having varying stories and genres would give the Star Wars will give a sort of vitality that would allow the franchise to grow both as universe and as a unified story.

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  • Jeff N. Dame

    FYI: “Many Bothans…” has ZERO to do with Rogue One. The Bothans stole the plans to the second Death Star, this story is about the first. No Bothans.

  • Zarm

    On the other hand, some may feel that a genre with subgenres is impossible if Star Wars is, in itself, a specific subgenre and anything that fails to follow its tone and theme is not a new subdivision of what it means to be Star Wars, but merely a failure in BEING Star Wars in the first place.

    For my two deci-creds, ‘dark and gritty’ are the antithesis of the Flash Gordon meets Heroes Journey mythology that Star Wars is at its core; in much the same way that greek tragedy typically failed to capture that spirit in the prequels. taking the franchise further in the wrong direction won’t expand what it means to be Star Wars, it will simply mean that it is now acceptable to take any old thing that has lost the meaning of Star Wars entirely and slap those 8 letters on the spine.

    Now, hopefully, that won’t be what Rogue One *is*, because if anything, Star Wars needs to detox from the darkness and get back to the heroic, brash adventuring of the OT (which certainly has its room for darkness- just look at ESB- but not in the modern cinema sense of the term). Rebels has captured that direction, and I have to hope that Episode VII will, too. Rogue One sounds like exactly what I’ve been looking for in a Star Wars story- something that isn’t Force or Jedi obsessed, that focuses on the ‘muggles’ of the Star Wars galaxy for a change… it would be a shame to ruin that by slathering it in a coating of post 9/11 angst, brooding characters, bloodied physical torment that’s visceral and unpleasant to watch, and every other tired, moody, depressing trope that I’ve come to associate with ‘dark and gritty’ in modern parlance.

    Because that WOULDN’T be Star Wars.

  • zoom44

    Besides that the Bothans stole the 2nd Death Star Plans not the first, All of the original Cannon has been wiped out. This story will be one we know nothing about