Almost four decades after A New Hope blasted its way into theaters, the Star Wars franchise is as strong as ever. The series experienced a total renaissance with the release of J.J. Abrams' The Force Awakens last year, and it's now poised to continue that successful trend with the highly anticipated release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16. Not only will Rogue One tell the awesome story of how the Rebels acquired the plans for the Death Star, but it will also kick off the new tradition of standalone Star Wars movies.

However, as excited as we are for Rogue One, we still have some concerns. As much as we love the Star Wars saga, it has made plenty of mistakes over the course of the last 40 years. With that in mind, we've compiled a list of Star Wars mistakes that Rogue One absolutely needs to avoid in order to succeed. These issues have hindered previous adventures in the galaxy far, far away, and it's our hope that the folks behind Rogue One have learned from these mistakes. Now let's get started with an issue that could potentially ruin the film's central heroine:

Don't Make Jyn Erso Force Sensitive

At first, Rogue One seemed like a genuine breath of fresh air for its newfound emphasis on the scoundrels of the Star Wars universe. After years of focusing on the Jedi, it felt like a welcome change of pace to see a movie based on the non-powered characters in this galaxy. However, several of Rogue One's recent trailers have shown Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) maintaining a deep-seated faith in The Force. That's fine, but that's as far as it should go. Rogue One should set itself apart by having these characters view The Force from an outsider's perspective, and NOT take the easy way out by making Jyn a Jedi in the third act. We already have Rey for that.

Don't Connect Jyn To The Skywalker Family

In keeping with that theme, Rogue One should also endeavor to keep Jyn Erso as far away from the characters of the previous films as much as possible. As the first standalone film in the Star Wars saga, Rogue One needs to legitimately stand alone. If she turns out to be a distant relative of the Skywalkers, or the Solos, or even the Kenobis, that twist will only continue the franchise's somewhat misguided tradition of tying everything together far too neatly. Not everyone needs to be related; some people are simply heroes in their own right.

Don't Use Too Many References To Past Movies

As much as we love Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it's hard to ignore the fact that it's essentially a two hour and fifteen minute love letter to A New Hope. This mistake also constantly reared its head during the prequels, as every iconic character, ship, and planet from the original trilogy was shoehorned in whenever possible. Callbacks and references to previous movies are absolutely fine (the whole point of Rogue One is to provide more context for other Star Wars movies), but the upcoming standalone film should not be bogged down with references and Easter eggs. Focus on a good story, and tie the greater Star Wars universe in when it actually works.

Don't Completely Ignore The Prequels

Whether we like it or not, the Star Wars prequels still exist in this continuity, and their stories hold a massive amount of weight over the direction of the saga. Even if they send a shiver down your spine, terms like "Trade Federation," "The Clone Wars," and "Geonosis,"still have quite a bit of resonance for the events of Rogue One. The upcoming Star Wars film doesn't have to tie everything together (see the previous entry) but it still should take the time to acknowledge the canon that precedes it. That will go a long way towards tightening the Star Wars continuity.

Don't Take The Mystery Out Of Star Wars

In The Phantom Menace, George Lucas almost completely ruined The Force in five syllables: Midichlorians. These microscopic life forms exist inside the cells of all living things, and their abundance can determine an individual's Force sensitivity. Kind of takes the magic out of The Force, right? While Rogue One will definitely provide quite a bit of context and insight into a story that we're already familiar with, it's important for Gareth Edwards to make sure that he doesn't over rationalize certain elements of the Star Wars universe. It's okay if some things never receive a perfect explanation; that's part of the fun of Star Wars.

Don't Play Solely To The Young Audience

There's definitely no ignoring the fact that the Star Wars films are certainly family friendly adventures. However, some of the saga's biggest mistakes popped up when storytelling was sacrificed in favor of the introduction of child friendly elements. From the Ewoks in Return of the Jedi, to the bumbling Gungan, Jar Jar Binks, in The Phantom Menace, these concepts have generally become infamous for the ways in which they weighed down their respective films. If Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is truly touting itself as a dark and gritty war movie, then it needs to ensure that it doesn't introduce characters specifically designed to sell toys and make the youngest members of the audience happy. Tone is more important than toys.

Are there any other Star Wars mistakes that you hope Rogue One avoids when it hits theaters on December 16? Let us know what you think in the comments section below to keep this conversation going!

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