Rogue 101: Things to Know Before Watching Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Oscar Flores, Copy Editor

Welcome rebels to Rogue 101! The end of the year is near and Disney is ready to release Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the newest entry in the Star Wars franchise.  This film, unlike its previous entries, does not follow the Skywalker saga so it is easy to become confused.  In order to keep you on track, here are a few things to know before the reign of the Empire returns to theatres on Dec. 16.  

In Star Wars: A New Hope, the opening crawl detailed that, “Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the Death Star…”.  Fast forward thirty-nine years later and this small detail is the plot to this film.  Rogue One follows a group of rebels led by Jyn Erso to steal the plans of the Death Star from the Empire.  The movie is directed by Gareth Edwards and feature stars such as Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Mads Mikkelsen, Forest Whitaker, and Donnie Yen.  

The key point about this film that some might get confused by is that this film is not a continuation of Star Wars: The Force Awakens which is the seventh and most recent entry in the franchise.  At the moment, the Star Wars timeline in order is: The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith, A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and The Force Awakens.  Rogue One takes place between Star Wars: Revenge of The Sith and Star Wars: A New Hope although it is much closer to the time of A New Hope.

Being the first of many spin-offs to come from Disney and Lucasfilm, Rogue One has more freedom in terms of the tone and feel that they want to achieve.  Given the situation and the time frame which this movie takes place in, this is a war film.  Everything from the cinematography to the costumes and imagery emphasize that.

As expected from a prequel, a few characters from old Star Wars lore will be making a return; most notable of these is the ever-looming sith, Darth Vader, who was crucial to this time period and the development of the Death Star.  Bail Organa, who first appeared as one of the founders of the rebellion in the prequel trilogy (The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith) will make an appearance alongside Mon Mothma who first appeared as a key figure of the rebellion in Return of the Jedi.  Making his live-action debut is Forest Whitaker as Saw Gerrera who first showed up in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated show as a rebel fighter.

Along with the old returning cast of characters, Rogue One infuses new blood into the mix with new characters, vehicles, and locations.  The two new locations known at the moment are Jedha and Scarif.  Jehda is well-known to force wielders and inhabits a few kyber crystals, the power source of lightsabers and the Death Star.  In the film, Scarif is one of the Empire’s main bases that contains the plans for the Death Star.  

The U-Wing ship and the TIE Striker are new additions to both the Empire and the Rebellion’s ship arsenal.  These two new ships are used to transport fighters to the location of the fight.  The main cast of characters consist of: Jyn Erso, Cassian Andor, Chirrut Imwe, Baze Malbus, Bodhi Rook, K-2SO, Saw Gerrera, Director Orsen Krennic, and Galen Erso.

By this time, the Death Star is nearing completion so go now rebels and fight! Pre-sale tickets to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story are now on sale.  The film opens in theatres everywhere Dec. 16 with opening day screenings happening on Dec. 15.