What I wish I knew going into Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Lucasfilm’s highly anticipated, first-ever standalone Star Wars adventure, ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY is in theaters today! So, I bet you’re wondering what the probability is that you will like Rogue One? It’s high. Very high.

In an effort to be surprised by the film and not have it ruined by spoilers or fan theories, I have stayed away from social media for the past few days after the LA premiere. Waiting until I got a chance to see it this week at a prescreening in Seattle was torture, but I’m happy to say that I went in knowing absolutely nothing about the film other than the character’s names {which I couldn’t shield myself from since they are fully saturating the toy department and have been for weeks}. RogueOne578eb3b0454d3That being said, I do wish there were a couple of things I did know going into watching Rogue One, and they are as follows:

  1. Where in the timeline the movie falls. Because I have been hiding under a rock and refusing to read anything about the film, I spent much of the first portion of the movie trying to figure out where in time we were. Since the film is not part of the Trilogy, it doesn’t have that fabulous crawl of info after “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away” that tells you exactly what is happening in the galaxy and who are the main players at the time. Apparently I rely heavily on this.{ For those wondering, the answer to where in time it is is just before Episode IV: A New Hope.}
  2. That the film is darker and more violent than other Star Wars movies. The battle scenes are grittier and more realistic than they have been in the past, and there is more ground-level fighting as opposed to ships shooting from a distance. This mainly becomes a factor when taking children to see it, so be sure your child is mature enough to handle bloodshed and death before you bring them. I happened to really like the battle scenes and how they felt more personal in a way, it made you feel like you were really part of a Rebellion. But, a typical tyke? Probably not.
  3. To pay close attention in the beginning. There are a lot of names, places, and situations alluded to that come at you fast at the start of the film, and these will come into play over and over again throughout the film. While you don’t have to do anything crazy like take notes or anything since they will go over the main points again, I would highly recommend a second {or third} showing to really see and comprehend everything.
  4. The importance of screen size. After seeing Rogue One on the big IMAX screen in 3D, I cannot possibly imagine waiting for the DVD to watch it at home. This is a film that is best enjoyed big – the bigger the better, really. If you can, go see it in the theater. And, if there is one near you, go see it in an IMAX theater. You won’t regret it.
  5. How much I would want to revisit the Star Wars trilogy as soon as possible after the movie ended. After seeing Rogue One, I couldn’t wait to rewatch A New Hope to see the lead up to the movie, and I would have planned a Star Wars marathon if I could. Although Rogue One stands by itself nicely, there were so many things I couldn’t wait to rewatch in the Trilogy with my new perspective on the older films.

About the film {obviously, no spoilers here!}

Rogue One tells the story of a group of rebels who are on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star. I was really excited to see this story told, since it is such an important part of the first Star Wars movie, but the actual events weren't discussed in previous films. Seeing the side story of how the plans were stolen and how this came about in the Rebellion not only filled in gaps, but also added a lot to the Star Wars series.  RogueOne578eb3a676a99I was quite relieved that just like The Force Awakens, Rogue One nails the look and feel of a Star Wars movie. While many of the characters are new, I love how they quickly feel like they belong in the universe and you feel connected to them right away. RogueOne5849bdc057beaAlthough she hasn’t seen it yet, I know my oldest daughter is going to love the character of Jyn Erso played by Academy Award nominee Felicity Jones. I loved that Star Wars offered me such such strong female roles growing up, and even more happy that they are giving the same to my girls. Until my oldest gets to see the film, she’s been enjoying watching this featurette introducing Jyn Erso.

Speaking of new characters, I hate to say this because I adore C3PO, R2D2 and BB8, but I just might have a new favorite droid: K-2SO. K-2SO is a reprogrammed Imperial security droid and he is absolutely hilarious. He ended up being one of the funniest parts of the movie, and I know he's going to be our kids' favorite as well. RogueOne5849bdb890948We also got to visit some new places in the galaxy, and I was particularly taken with Jedha, a small desert moon frosted by a permanent winter. Jedha was at one time a world important to the Jedi Order, and served as a holy site for pilgrims from across the galaxy seeking spiritual guidance. In Rogue One, the Empire occupies Jedha, and a prolonged battle between Imperial forces and scattered Rebels carries on in the timeworn streets.

The promise of more expansion in the Star Wars universe has us super excited to see this movie again, as well as to see how else the upcoming movies add to the story. As much as I loved Star Wars in my youth and love to watch the older movies, these new movies are adding a whole new dimension to the Star Wars universe that I didn’t even realize was missing. RogueOne578eb3a0505b9ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY opens everywhere today. Do yourself a favor and score some tickets, and then go home and have a Star Wars marathon while you process everything.
Be sure to like STAR WARS on Facebook, follow STAR WARS on Twitter, and follow STAR WARS on Instagram. You can also visit the official ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY website to find out even more about the film.

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