As we inch ever closer to the December 16 release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the first in a Star Wars anthology series meant to expand the Star Wars universe and make both Disney and Lucasfilm an obscene amount of money, we are being inundated with more and more little glimpses of the highly anticipated film. These three new spots highlight the efforts of the rebellion, making a solid case for the good guys, if you have yet to pick a side.
The spots don’t offer more in the way of plot development but rather serve to cement in our minds who our heroes are: a band of rebels charged with finding the plans for the Death Star with the sole intent of finding a weakness to exploit and consequently destroy the massive space station/weapon of planetary destruction. We are also treated to further examples of K-2SO’s role as comedic relief as we find him bopping a guard over the head.
The marketing push for this movie, which has allowed us a surprising amount of access to Gareth Edwards’ grittier new take on the popular series, has been far more aggressive than the campaign we saw for J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens last December. And with good reason; we are being thrust into a world that is instantly recognizable and beloved, and yet the format will be different enough that it could be somewhat disorienting or even alienating for some viewers. There are certain sign-posts that make a Star Wars movie a Star Wars movie: the opening crawl of text that brings us up to speed on what’s going down and why we should care; the inimitable score by John Williams; even the continuation of the linear plot line of the original Star Wars films. Rogue One is said to have none of these things. Which is why the task of getting us on board for a different take on the Star Wars experience falls on the shoulders of the marketing department.
Edwards has said from day one that his vision for this film is that of a war movie; a genre flick that sets itself apart tonally but still lives within the strict continuity of the officially sanctioned Star Wars universe, a universe that spans not only the movies but books and television programs as well. The director is no stranger to creating a perilous world and relatable characters who are forced to survive it; his 2010 alien invasion picture Monsters did just that, and on a much more modest budget. He was then entrusted with 2014’s Godzilla reboot which, though it had it’s detractors, was largely a success, spawning an upcoming sequel and initializing a possible cinematic universe of it’s own.
Following the enthusiastic reactions to the Rogue One premiere last weekend, the first wave of professional reviews have all but confirmed that the spinoff is another worthwhile journey to the galaxy far, far away. Even if the first anthology film is catered more to the longtime fans than the uninitiated, it sounds as if Edwards was very successful in breaking new creative ground for the franchise, meaning Rogue One will go down as yet another massive Disney hit in 2016.