Posted by Liam on January 24, 2022 at 09:10 AM CST
Greetings, Rebelscum fans! This week on the site we’re looking at a recent Star Wars project that has strong ties to the franchise’s past. The 2016 prequel film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story explores how the Rebel Alliance got ahold of the plans to the Death Star, and throughout the week we’ll be exploring the first live-action Star Wars spinoff film with more articles, insights, video content, and insights on the best merchandising opportunities available.

When Lucasfilm was purchased by Disney in 2012, the story that dominated headlines was that the long awaited sequel trilogy would be coming and bring back Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Han Solo. However, it was also announced that additional films would be in production. While Star Wars live-action spinoffs like The Holiday Special and the Ewok movies debuted on television and the animated spinoff The Clone Wars came to theaters, the prospect of a live action adventure set outside of the Skywalker saga was a thrilling prospect.

The series first announced as Star Wars Anthology became A Star Wars Story, and the first film pitch came from a veteran within the franchise. Special effects wizard John Knoll had innovated many of the most groundbreaking visual effects techniques ever with his CGI work on the prequel trilogy, and he pitched to Disney execs the concept of a film centered around the heist to steal the Death Star plans. He planned a darker entry in the franchise, one inspired by war films like Saving Private Ryan.

Director Gareth Edwards, who had previously shown his science fiction experience with the independent alien thriller Monsters and the 2014 launch of the Monsterverse in Godzilla, was announced as the director of the project. However, extensive reshoots were helmed by writer and director Tony Gilroy, the acclaimed director of the legal thriller Michael Clayton who also served as the architect of the Bourne franchise. Both filmmakers worked together to tell a grounded, tactical war film set in the Star Wars universe that explored the moral grayness of both the Rebel Alliance and Galactic Empire.

The film centers on Felicity Jones’s new heroine Jyn Erso, a thief who is recruited by the Rebel Alliance to contact her father Galen, played by the great Mads Mikkelsen. Galen helped design the Death Star, and Mon Mothma and Bail Organa hear that a defector in the Empire is planning to pass along vital information about the plans. Jyn has struggled with her belief in causes for her entire life, as after her father was kidnapped by the Empire, she grew up mentored by the radical Rebel movement of Saw Gerrara. Gerrara was first featured in the fifth season of The Clone Wars, but Academy Award winning actor Forest Whitaker plays him in the film.

Accompanying Jyn on her mission is Diego Luna’s Cassian Andor, an assassin who has been fighting the Empire since he was six years old. Cassian believes strongly in defeating the Empire and fighting the good fight, but he also knows that he’s done terrible things over the course of his service. Cassian’s further backstory will be explored in the upcoming Andor spinoff series.

The film ends with an epic land assault in which Jyn, Cassian, and their team lead a heist on the planet of Scarif to transport the Death Star plans to the Rebel Alliance leadership. Its shocking ending is one fans may have seen coming, but not quite in the brutal nature. Obviously these new characters don’t appear in A New Hope, and they’re each killed off over the course of the battle.

What do you think, Rebelscum fans? How does Rogue One rank among the franchise for you? What would you like to see in future Star Wars spinoff films? Let us know in the forums, and as always, may the Force be with you!

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