Rogue One dips toe into expanded Star Wars universe

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story doesn’t feel unique enough to be a standalone Star Wars film, but the characters, lore, and locales are unique enough to glue movie-goers to their seats for a satisfying ride.

Rogue One is a true testament to the research Disney has done into the Star Wars series, to produce a film that represents much of the expanded Star Wars universe, while introducing a movie which can appeal to any demographic, whether they’re extremely familiar with Star Wars or not.

The lead character, Jyn Esro, seems cold at first after being separated from her parents, but slowly develops throughout the film to fit in with witty, fun characters like K-2SO, a re-programmed imperial droid, otherwise known as ‘CP-30’s replacement’.

Other characters in the film go through less development, but each have their own unique personalities which could make the smallest group of Star Wars fans want to delve in to what the expanded Star Wars universe has to offer.

This is the films biggest high point. It seems designed from the start to appeal to a wider audience, while still pleasing the hardcore fans. In fact, some of the less developed characters such as Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus are so neat and interesting to simply look at, it makes up for what few lines of dialogue they actually have. It would be a safe bet to say they could even have their own spin-off series. Maybe they could call it “The adventures of temple dude and bounty hunter looking guy TM DISNEY LTD.”

I initially anticipated much more of Rogue One in terms of expanded universe, but the main thing to take away from the film is that it lives up to the same vibe, and exciting atmosphere of the main seven films. It’s a treat to watch as a whole product, even though the story clings to the main Star Wars storyline like a stray dog.

The film also features new planets and locales, which give a better understanding of the Star Wars series as a whole. For example, the planet Jedha features temples and structures representative of old Jedi lore, and holds kyber crystals. These crystals in the expanded lore are known to power lightsabers and other weapons, but play a bigger part in the film, creating an “a-ha” moment for those who follow the series closely.

All of these things combined will keep you thinking about the film for hours, days, or weeks after seeing it the first time. There’s a lot more to be discovered in the Star Wars universe and this film makes you want to head to the nearest bookstore and grab every canon book you can find.

Without being too overwhelming, the film is as much of a drama as it is another film for the fans. If you’re a fan who doesn’t want to shell out ticket money to see Rogue One, you’re not missing out on much. However, if you simply want a good movie to see this holiday season, this movie provides what you’re looking for with the included bonus of understanding how it connects to the main Star Wars story. If you’re one for slices of action mixed with some extremely intriguing and entertaining characters, this is your pie.

My recommendation? Grab yourself some popcorn and may the force be with you.
4/5 ****

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