Completely random thoughts on why I love Rogue One within the context of the larger Star Wars movie universe…
(If you haven’t seen these movies and are still reading, you do not get a spoiler warning because you only have yourself to blame for continuing to read…)
Star Wars episodes 1-8, and probably the upcoming episode 9, are about grand concepts of “good” and “evil” and competing religious themed philosophy between the jedi and the the sith.
They are high-minded concepts.
Within the context of this important battle between high philosophical concepts, we get Rogue One.
Rogue One is about the individuals who actually fight the battles between those concepts. Fighting is ugly. Fighting is violent. Fighting is dirty. Fighting is not always honorable. Fighting is not a high minded concept.
One of our heroes in Rogue One, Cassian Andor, kills a fellow rebel in cold blood because he is convinced the guy will talk if he is captured. Killing him ends that possibility.
Saw Gerrera is a freedom fighter who is deemed too extreme by the actual, official resistance. He and his fighters oppose the Empire. Yet they are called terrorists by the ruling class and rejected by other rebels. Gerrera essentially tortures an empire traitor, Bodhi Rook, who wants to join the rebellion, because Gerrera doesn’t trust him. The main protagonist of Rogue One, Jyn Erso, is raised by Gerrera from a young age, after she witnessed her mother’s murder and her father’s kidnapping at the hands of imperial stormtroopers.
This shit is ugly.
But it is real. It is not about “honorable” weapons like light sabers and dark religious power like force lightning. It is about knives to the gut in an alley.
Battles between high minded concepts are not won in debates. They are won by people willing to kill and die – and worse – for those concepts. People like Cassian and Jyn Erso and Saw. And others.
The American Revolution did not succeed because the concepts represented in the Declaration of Independence convinced the British monarchy to give the colonies freedom. The American Revolution succeeded because colonials put musket balls in the brains of British soldiers. That is the reality. That reality is nasty.
Rogue One is real. It is nasty. And that is why, within the larger context of the Star Wars theatrical universe, it is so important. And why it is so good.