That takes us to Rogue One. This movie is widely reported to be set in the past of the series, before Episode IV: A New Hope, the first movie that was originally known as just plain old Star Wars. It is not the start of a new spinoff series at all though. It’s a one-shot movie, set in a known time, where we know everything that came before, and everything that comes after. It provides vivid context to previously hand-waved events. How do you make that a gripping story that keeps the viewer thrilled to the end?
The way you do that is by finding surprises anyway, and by giving us characters we care about. You’re rooting for them. Obviously I can’t say much about it without spoiling, but if you’re like me, you started this movie thinking that all the fears were true. But then, before you knew it, you were watching a Star Wars movie and all was well in the universe.
I know others will disagree. We have a generation of purists who grew up with the originals of all these classic series, who are so loaded with nostalgia that nothing new can ever live up to it. Even The Empire Strikes Back was a commercialized monstrosity aimed at luring in children, yet we’re told by these purists that no movie today is good because it has the same problems. Alec Guinness phoned in his lines as Obi Wan Kenobi. The Ewoks existed to sell toys. Nothing’s changed.
If you’re looking for a Great Work, I don’t know what to tell you. But if you’re looking to have a great time watching a Star Wars movie, I think Rogue One delivers. Many Bothans died to bring us this movie. Let’s just sit back and enjoy the show.
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