PLOT( spoiler alert!!!):
Research scientist Galen Erso is in hiding on the planet Lah’mu when Imperial weapons developer Orson Krennic arrives to take him to complete the unfinished Death Star, a space station-based superweapon capable of destroying an entire planet. Erso’s wife Lyra is killed in the confrontation, but their daughter Jyn escapes and is taken to safety by Rebel extremist Saw Gerrera.
Fifteen years later, pilot Bodhi Rook defects from the Empire, smuggling a holographic message from Galen to Gerrera on the desert moon of Jedha. After learning about Rook’s defection, Rebel intelligence officer Cassian Andor frees Jyn from Imperial captivity and brings her to the Rebels, who plan to use her to extract Galen and learn more about the Death Star. Unbeknownst to Jyn, however, Cassian is covertly ordered to kill Galen rather than extract him.
Jyn, Cassian, and reprogrammed Imperial droid K-2SO travel to Jedha, where the Empire is mining kyber crystals to power the Death Star while Gerrera and his partisans are engaged in an armed insurgency against them. With the aid of blind spiritual warrior Chirrut Îmwe and his mercenary friend Baze Malbus, Jyn makes contact with Gerrera, who has been holding Rook captive. Gerrera shows her the message, in which Galen reveals he has secretly built a vulnerability into the Death Star and directs them to retrieve the schematics from a high-security Imperial data bank on the planet Scarif.
On the Death Star, Krennic orders a low-powered shot from the superlaser to destroy Jedha’s capital, causing Jyn and her group to take Rook and flee the planet, but Gerrera and his group are killed. Grand Moff Tarkin congratulates Krennic before using Rook’s defection and security leak as a pretext to take control of the project.
Rook leads the group to Galen’s Imperial research facility on the planet Eadu, where Cassian chooses not to kill Galen. When Krennic directs that Galen’s main team be killed for causing the security leak, Galen confesses that he is responsible. Jyn makes her presence known moments before Rebel bombers attack the facility, resulting in Galen being wounded. Jyn reunites with her father, only to have him die in her arms, before she escapes with her group onboard a stolen Imperial cargo shuttle. Krennic visits Darth Vader, seeking support with granting an audience with the Emperor, but Vader dismisses his appeal for recognition.
Jyn proposes a plan to steal the Death Star schematics using the Rebel fleet but fails to get approval from the Alliance Council. Frustrated at their inaction, Jyn’s group is supported by a small squad of Rebels intent on raiding the data bank themselves. Arriving at Scarif via the stolen Imperial ship, which Rook dubs “Rogue One”, a disguised Jyn and Cassian enter the base with K-2SO while volunteers attack the resident Imperial garrison as a distraction. The Rebel fleet learns about the raid from intercepted Imperial communications and deploy in support. Rook is killed by a grenade just after informing the Rebel fleet that it must deactivate the shield surrounding the planet to allow Jyn and Cassian to transmit them the schematics. K-2SO sacrifices himself so Jyn and Cassian can retrieve the data. Despite this, Jyn and Cassian are ambushed by Krennic, who has traveled to Scarif, and seemingly kills Cassian.
Îmwe is killed after activating the master switch to allow communication with the Rebel fleet, while Malbus is killed shortly after. Krennic corners Jyn, declaring the Empire’s victory, but Cassian, who has survived, shoots Krennic. Jyn transmits the schematics to the Rebel command ship. The Death Star enters Scarif’s orbit, where Tarkin uses the weapon to destroy the Empire’s base. Krennic dies instantly, while Jyn and Cassian embrace on a beach before dying in the ensuing shock wave.
The Rebel fleet prepares to jump to hyperspace only to be attacked by Vader’s flagship. Vader boards the command ship and kills several soldiers in his pursuit of the schematics, but a small starship escapes with them onboard. Aboard the fleeing ship, Princess Leia declares that the schematics will provide hope for the Rebellion.
One of the critics I listen to on a regular basis is always mentioning how the Star Wars universe doesn’t feel like a universe, but rather a small corner of the neighborhood. With Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the hope is that we start to learn more about this universe and expand beyond the same borders.
What is this about?
All looks lost for the Rebellion against the Empire as they learn of the existence of a new super weapon, the Death Star. Once a possible weakness in its construction is uncovered, the Rebel Alliance must set out on a desperate mission to steal the plans for the Death Star. The future of the entire galaxy now rests upon its success.
What did I like?
Loose ends. For those select few that may not be aware, this is a prequel to the original Star Wars. For this reason, this film had the very unenviable task of having to fill in some gaps in the timeline, come up with an original story, and make sure it all connects. With the exception of a rushed last few minutes, it does just that. We learn how the Death Star plans were stolen and how they got in the hands of Princess Leia…and all that other stuff that happened in this 2 hr flick.
Sky battle. As an Air Force brat, I saw my fair share of planes. I feel that growing up around all of that has greatly influenced me towards airplanes, jets, and various space fighters. Perhaps that is why I found the shootout in the sky so appealing, even though we get this in very film in this franchise. This time around, though, when those fighters came in and shot down the AT-ATs, I knew something big was going to happen. That feeling is something that hasn’t been felt with these films in some time and I’m glad it is back!
Big, bad, Vader. The holy trilogy gave a progression with Darth Vader, as he went from enigmatic badass to the Emperor’s lackey to the soft shell of who he was. The prequels ruined him even further by making him a whiny little bitch. Well, Vader is back. He’s not in this film very long, but the 2 scenes he is in will remind you why he is one of the greatest villains of all time and why the galaxy fears him. James Earl Jones came back to lend his voice, but it is a certain scene that will give you chills and true Star Wars fans will be pissing on themselves watching him in action.
What didn’t I like?
Crawl space. I know that the filmmakers wanted to keep this film separate from the main series, but i really missed the crawl at the very beginning. You know, the bit of reading that happens whilst we enjoy the wonderful theme music and before the film starts. There has to be another way to distinguish these films without taking away the crawl, right? Is there to be no crawl in the forthcoming Han Solo film, either?
Diversity. Can you believe there was actually some talk of boycotting this film because it had a diverse cast? WTF?!? I’m glad they showed different races (and in the process pissed off Trump Nazis). I do have two issues with the diversity, though. First, and this goes back to the holy trilogy, is that most everyone seems to be British. Second, where were the alien species. That is to say, the non-humans? Other than the commander of the Rebel fleet and a cameo from the 2 guys who will be seen in Mos Eisley, i don’t recall seeing many alien species. This is a vast galaxy, surely there had to be more out there, right?
Know your history. CGI and myself are no friends, but i will give credit where credit is due. The use of CGI in this film was able to bring back to life Grand Moff Tarkin (the actor, whose name escapes me at the moment, died in 1994), commander of the Death Star. Not only did they bring him back to life, but he had some lines, as well. Nothing wrong with that, but also given the gift of life or youth were some of the pilots and Princess Leia (which was a gut punch after her recent death). I kind of feel like this was a bit of overkill with the CGI. Tarkin could have been played by another actor. Leia, I can live with, though.
Final verdict of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story? Fans of the franchise will definitely be pleased. The casual viewer may scratch their heads at a few things, but they’ll be entertained. Felicity Jones is a decent antihero for the franchise and did what she had to do for this film. Much like Daisy Ridley in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, she isn’t given much, but works with what they gave her. We get action, call backs to previous films, drama, intrigue, and a little comedy with this flick. Do i recommend it? Yes, very highly! Go! Run! Check it out now!!!
5 out of 5 stars