Or how I feel guilty for not loving Rogue One
There are so many things great about Rogue One: a great female lead, a diverse cast, a subliminal hint of queerness. And it paid the perfect homage to the original. And while it irked me at times, seeing a CGI’d Peter Cushing reprising his role as Grand Moff Tarkin made me smile. Even seeing a young Princess Leia made my heart swoon. But it wasn’t swooning for their respective appearances in Rogue One, but the memory of a young me planting down in front of the tube TV and watching the recorded copies of the original trilogy.
Much like The Force Awakens, Rogue One‘s biggest problem was that it reminded me too much of A New Hope. While it doesn’t rehash the story like The Force Awakens did, there were times when I felt my time would be better spent watching the despecialized edition of the original movie. And the guilt began to set in.
Why am I not liking this movie? There’s no denying that it’s a better prequel to Star Wars than Episodes I-III. And while it bridges the two trilogies perfectly, it focuses on the universe we came to love. Not to mention that it answers the plot hole introduced in A New Hope—though I disagree from ever calling it such. Best of all, there wasn’t even a subtle nod to Jar Jar Binks—though an image has been swimming through the net that he did make an appearance which I’m chalking that up to complete and utter rubbish*.
But in an era where the great white hero is making a comeback and Hollywood is whitewashing characters, Rogue One is a breath of fresh air. It offers so much for audiences who are just coming into the Star Wars franchise. So why didn’t I love the movie like so many of my peers?
My theory is simple: Disney is trying so hard to remind the audience of things we loved about the original trilogy rather than doing all the things we hated about the prequels. But is it enough? The prequels failed because they held so much promise and delivered an annoying child and a brooding, moody teenage Anakin Skywalker. And the sole villain that became a fan favorite† was sliced in half by the end of the first movie. What worries me now is the direction Disney is taking their standalone films. With the Han Solo movie in the works, there’s only way for it to go.
In the end, we can all agree that both The Force Awakens and Rogue One are better than the Anakin Skywalker stories. Though, I wonder, how will Rogue One affect the Machete Order?