How Star Wars: Rogue One Will Stand Apart From Previous Star Wars Movies

With all of the emphasis placed on Star Wars: The Force Awakens (and rightfully so, it’s only six months away!), the first so-called Anthology film, Gareth Edwards’ Star Wars: Rogue One, gets overshadowed at times. But it’s trucking right along, going into production later this summer, and ready to bring something different to that far, far away galaxy. Some cool news just hit, indicating the drastically different tone, and it seems Rogue One is going to resemble a gritty war movie.

We knew that Rogue One was going to be substantially different from the other Star Wars films, but sources told JoBlo to expect something much darker. The film they compare it to, tonally, is the Vietnam War drama Hamburger Hill, which is brutal. The rest of the report shares some other tidbits, most confirming things we already know, but they all kind of fit together with this shift to a darker pitch.

The action is indeed set during what the report calls the "Dark Times," between the end of Revenge of the Sith and the beginning of A New Hope, a time when the Empire gradually tightens its sinister grip on the galaxy. This is a time when the Jedi have mostly been wiped out, and those few that remain are generally in hiding (except Kanan from Star Wars Rebels, who’s out there Jedi-ing it up).

We know that the plot revolves around a group trying to steal the plans for the first Death Star the come into play in the Battle of Yavin in A New Hope, but the atmosphere is going to be even more warlike than we already anticipated. Much of the action will reportedly take place on Yavin-4, and in the jungles and on various battlefields, which makes this sound very much like a Vietnam War movie indeed. We’ll have to wait and see if they sing the Mickey Mouse song at the end or not.

The machines and tools of war will also be present and accounted for on both sides, as we’ll get our fill of AT-ATs, X-Wing and Y-Wing Fighters, and AT-STs, as well as traditional old school strormtroopers. And just so you don’t think this is only going to be a bunch of human rebels running around, there are going to be all kinds of new droids and aliens playing a part in the action, including the Mon Calamari—let’s hope they go with practical effects instead of motion capture for that one. A new droid apparently even plays a key part in the heist of the blueprints, though there is no word on specifically how. And though we don’t know her precise role, it also looks like star Felicity Jones is going to play an important part in the war effort (duh). Her character is "seen dressed as a rebel soldier ready for battle," and it certainly appears that she’s going to get in there and mix things up.

As a standalone film, we knew this was going to be something very different from the Episode movies and what we’ve come to expect from Star Wars. But taking all of this intel into consideration, this is shaping up to be even more of a departure than anticipated. Directed by Gareth Edwards (Godzilla), Star Wars: Rogue One is set to shine the light into a dark new corner of that far, far away galaxy on December 16, 2016.

Brent McKnight