Review: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Works Because Of Its Ballsy Ending [SPOILERS]
Title: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Director: Gareth Edwards
Summary: The Rebellion makes a risky move to steal the plans for the Death Star, setting up the epic saga to follow.
SPOILERS. I AM GOING TO SPOIL THIS ENTIRE MOVIE. DO NOT PROCEED UNLESS YOU HAVE SEEN ROGUE ONE
I have another gig now writing for Bleeding Cool where I’ve written about Rogue One: A Star Wars Story a lot and even posted a spoiler free review there. Here at WatchPlayRead Kyle and Jason both wrote spoiler free reviews about this movie but it is now the Monday after it has come out and it had a record weekend. So I decided that it was time to talk about spoilers because they are one of the main reasons I really liked this movie and why I have a lot of confidence in Star Wars going forward. That being said that means I’m going to spoil the entire movie which is something you really shouldn’t do. If you’ve seen the movie and you want to know why I believe the ending is as awesome as it is, keep reading. Otherwise, I would wait and come back after you’ve seen the movie.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story works as well as it does because it takes something that doesn’t get done in modern blockbusters often and goes all the way.
As Rogue One goes through its admittedly clunky beginning we are reminded that these people do end up getting the Death Star plans. We also know that a lot of people died to get these plans but we are getting the horrible feeling in our guts that someone isn’t going to make it out of this alive. We all knew that people were going to die but what Rogue One did that made me nearly gasp out loud was that it didn’t just kill main cast members; it killed the entire main cast. Star Wars is under the umbrella of Disney who normally builds up this great cast of characters to merchandise them and push them in a prominent way. To have them all die is an extremely ballsy move and I was truly stunned.
One of the things that made Rogue One such a joy to watch was the fact that we knew all of these people were expendable. We knew that a lot of them were going to die but to kill everyone, that (even after seeing it twice) surprises me. There have been some complaints that certain cast members got more development than others but our two main heroes die in a flash of light in each other’s arms. There is not a single person that went down to the battle on Scariff that came back. In a world dominated by sequels and spinoffs, the fact that they were willing to kill everyone is something that I never saw coming but I’m glad they went with it. These characters have fundamentally changed the way we will look at A New Hope because we know the sheer amount of people that died to get those plans. A good prequel will change the way you look at the following movie and Rogue One has made that opening crawl in A New Hope have so much more meaning.
While the scenes of everyone dying did hit me in the gut, as someone who got very attached to these characters very quickly it also showed me that Disney and Lucasfilm are willing to take some risks. There aren’t a lot of studios that would dump this amount of money and promotion and bring on a cast like this only to make it truly a ‘one and done’ movie. These characters are likely going to live on in books and comics, and perhaps younger versions of them will make appearances in Star Wars: Rebels on TV, but they won’t be back on the movie screen. That is a risk in these times when it movies have to make back so much money. It’s why Rogue One works as well as it does and why it’s going to have a special place in my very broken heart.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was the riskiest movie that Disney and Lucasfilm have made so far. There was so much riding on this as we find out whether or not people would care about a Star Wars movie Star without the Skywalker family in it. The fact that they were willing to put it all out on the table, to kill all of those characters and not shy away from it, means that the heart of Lucasfilm is still there. The company formed to be its own Rebel Alliance in Hollywood within Disney, and they are obviously willing to risk it all.