Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (released this weekend in India and around the world) is a small film set around a single commando mission – a far cry from the multi-generational saga told in the main entries of the franchise. So it’s kind of ironic that there’s more pressure for the film to succeed than any other film in the series.
As a main sequel, there was no doubt that Star Wars: Episode VII, The Force Awakens, would be a big hit. It didn’t hurt that the film was genuinely enjoyable, even though it was in many ways a paint-by-numbers retread of the original series. Thing is, the filmmakers played it safe, and beyond picking up the original movie’s story beats, they also filled it in with all the familiar characters.
Leia Organa plays an important role in Episode VII, while Han Solo and Chewbacca feature prominently in much of the film. Admiral Ackbar introduces himself, along with C3PO and R2D2. They might be overshadowed by BB8 here, but those old droids are highlighted to keep the nostalgia flag aloft. The film’s main antagonist, Kylo Ren, also has a connection to our protagonists, and the whole film is about reuniting with Luke Skywalker.
On the other hand, while some familiar faces are also heading to Rogue One, most of us will be treated to a brand new cast. The last time we saw so many unfamiliar faces was in The Phantom Menace, and we all know how that turned out.
(Also see: Who is the worst character in the Star Wars movie? It’s not Jar Jar Binks)
While it’s pretty much inevitable that Rogue One will have an amazing opening weekend at the box office, it doesn’t come with the built-in billions guarantee associated with the release of Force Awakens. Unfortunately for the film, it’s also the first of the Star Wars Story spinoffs. Work on these spinoffs will run alongside the main franchise, so a Star Wars movie can be released every year, without having to rush development on either set of movies. But Rogue One has to prove whether the idea has merit or not.
The last time we saw this kind of pressure on a movie tied to a money-printing franchise was Guardians of the Galaxy. The movie brought together a number of disparate characters that no one had really heard of, some of whom were really weird. Rocket Raccoon and Groot may have been played by famous actors – Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel, respectively – but on screen they’re a rabid rodent and a (barely) talking tree.
It was the movie where everyone expected the Marvel juggernaut to finally stumble, and instead it delivered one of the best movies in the cinematic universe. Disney (which owns Marvel), is in the same kind of place again, as it has to deliver a hit of a movie that has none of the perks the other titles in the lineup have been blessed with.
If that can succeed, then we’ve got a full lineup of Star Wars Story movies to watch over the next few years – but if Disney stumbles with this movie, it could end up tempering expectations and putting more emphasis on just the main movies. . Whether this is a good or a bad thing is up for debate.
The trailers look very promising, but we’ll know by the end of this week if this movie will end up being the equivalent of Guardians of the Galaxy, or if it’ll go the way of Suicide Squad, a dank banger that even fans struggle to defend.