Surprise, Surprise. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story isn’t just blatant milking of the franchise. In many ways, it deserves to be Episode 3.5.
I wasn’t too excited about Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Like some fans, I worried about this being proof of our beloved franchise descending into a fatal case of sequelitis. I’ve also hated the awful “expanded universe” novels for years, their formula always a case of 1) new world and characters, 2) unprecedented new crisis, 3) kill everything to demonstrate severity of crisis. Just reading the synopsis for Rogue One gave me the feeling of another untold (yet) Star Wars story again. Another attempt to milk the Star Wars brand with some quick and bland plotting.
Well, Rogue One does use that formula, with the difference it actually manages to make it work well. The story pulls no surprise, given we already know the eventual outcome since the 70s, but through skillful storytelling and pacing, there is never one dull moment. The whole movie feels to have just the right balance of space dogfights, ground battles, and humour. A balance lightly spiced too by cameos at precisely the right moments. On the cameos, this is fan service that is delicious, but never in-your-face. If anything, it vastly refines the approach used in The Force Awakens. Fans get what they want, but that is not all there is to the whole tale.
At the risk of over showering Rogue One with too many praises, I’d say this. This would have made for a far better Episode III. Forget about The Phantom Menace and all that Midi-chlorian nonsense. Shift up Clones and Revenge to make space. Rogue One deserves more status than just a side story.
PS: For those yet to watch, cameos don’t come just from the movies. Rebels is canon. Hint hint.
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