By Dominic J Larsen, Clarion Staff
Since the initial purchase of Star Wars and Lucasfilms by Disney in 2012, the company has expanded the franchise extensively. They started by releasing a number of canon comics, books, and the seventh Star Wars film, The Force Awakens. In December last year, they took it one step further by releasing their first non-episodic movie, Rogue One. This movie takes place in between the third and fourth episodes.
Gareth Edwards, director of Godzilla and Hiroshima, worked tirelessly alongside writers John Knoll and Gary Whitta to spin this movie into the gigantic web of the greater Star Wars universe. The movie hosts a number of talented actors including Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen, Forest Whitaker, Diego Luna, and Felicity Jones. James Earl Jones, the actor who voiced Darth Vader, returned to portray the character for the fifth time. Peter Cushing and Carrie Fisher also returned to the big screen, albeit in CGI.
Rogue One is the first Star Wars movie that is not episodic and does not start with the signature opening scroll in space. Instead, the movie begins on a lonely planet, where ingenious scientist Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen) is found by the Empire and is taken from his family to help build a super weapon. The film then jumps fifteen years later with his daughter, Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) being picked up by the Rebel Alliance. Using her and intelligence they have gained, the rebel’s plan to send her to meet her father and uncover the blueprints of the super weapon, alongside resistance fighter Cassian Andor (Diego Luna). These two, accompanied by other rebels, travel across the galaxy in search of clues leading to the empire’s super weapon.
Topping over $986 million worldwide, Rogue One is one of the best movies of 2016, boasting a menagerie of skilled actors, top-notch animation, experienced production staff, and an extremely well-shaped narrative that fits into the grand scheme of everything Star Wars. The performance of long-time actors, Forest Whitaker and James Earl Jones pair with younger actors Diego Luna, Felicity Jones, and Riz Ahmed. Although Disney’s purchase of Star Wars upset much of the fan-base, it has turned out to be one of the best deals in cinematic history as it has produced two comeback movies for fans of all ages to enjoy.