I talk to a lot of Star Wars fans, and I often hear the same refrain time and time again: Disney ruined Star Wars. Now, a lot of this angst and animosity spawns from the general outcry some fans had over The Last Jedi, and fine. You want to complain over Rian Johnson’s movie? Go ahead. You wouldn’t be the first. But, I’ll be damned if you keep saying that Disney ruined Star Wars, since it’s simply not true. That’s because Disney put out Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which is the best Star Wars movie ever.
Let me explain. I don’t really care who’s the most powerful Jedi in Star Wars. I don’t like the Force. I think it’s silly. But, you know what I do love? Mandalorians. I also love strange planets in the clouds, bizarre alien races, and laser battles fought in tight corridors. In other words, I love pretty much everything about Star Wars except for all the space magic stuff. And, that’s just one reason why Rogue One is my favorite Star Wars movie of all time. Here are five more!
Oh, and spoilers up ahead.
It Actually Focuses On The War Aspect Of Star Wars
Honestly, a lot of Star Wars movies feel like there’s only a few people in the entire galaxy to me. That’s because we’re always following Luke, or Rey, or Anakin, and it just seems so… I don’t know. Small. I would say that the prequels had worlds that felt the most fully realized, what with “trade disputes” and all of that. But, at the same time, I’m watching a movie called Star Wars (Emphasis on the “Wars”), and yet, I’m also watching old people talk about taxation? I mean, I don’t need to watch a movie to see all of that. I can just turn on CNN.
Rogue One puts the battle in the air and on the ground, and it makes the Star Wars universe feel sprawling. We see people going up against AT-ACT walkers, and also intense aerial battles. Yes, other Star Wars films had dogfights and space battles, but none of them felt as visceral or like actual war movies like Rogue One does. And by (mostly) stripping away the Force, it feels like a lot more is at stake, which makes it a whole lot more interesting if you ask me.
It Doesn't Focus On The Skywalker Family
You’re going to say, “What kind of Star Wars fan are you?” but I really don’t care for the Skywalker family. Luke can go, Leia can go, Darth Vader can stay, but honorary Skywalker, Rey, can also get the Force push as far as I’m concerned. I just don’t care about the Skywalkers. I thought Alec Guinness’s Ben Kenobi, was pretty cool, and also Ewan McGregor’s portrayal of him in the prequels, but when it comes to the actual Skywalkers themselves, that’s a hard pass for me.
Rogue One doesn’t even bother with the Skywalkers. Instead, we get characters like Jyn Erso, Chirrut Imwe, Cassian Andor, Bodhi Rook, and the security droid, K-2SO. We also get Forest Whitaker playing the battle scarred Saw Gerrera. And I just love how these characters are war weary and feel entirely expendable, which is of course intentional. These are not the chosen ones. They’re not King Arthur pulling the fabled lightsaber out of the stone. They’re foot soldiers and grunts. Again, this feels like an actual war. Not a Star War, but a ground war. One where real lives are at stake, and there’s very little, if any, hope. Man, I love this film.
Darth Vader Has Never Been Scarier
Okay, so I mentioned earlier how Darth Vader is the only Skywalker I care about, and Rogue One is just further evidence to me as to why he can stay, and the others can go. Because, man, Darth Vader is pretty cool in all the other Star Wars movies, but he’s a stone cold killer in Rogue One. When he’s walking down that hallway and pretty much destroying everybody in sight, just try telling me that Darth Vader has ever been cooler. Just go ahead and try.
But, you wouldn’t say that, because you agree with me. That hallway scene is quite possibly the best part in the whole movie. I mean, shoot, it was so good, they pretty much did the same exact scene, but with Luke killing robots, on The Mandalorian. Luke Skywalker destroying robots is not as effective as Darth Vader slaying human beings, so Darth Vader’s scene is superior. He has never been scarier.
It Is Hopelessly Depressing, But Intentionally So
The story in Rogue One is a suicide mission, plain and simple. The story does not have a happy ending (Thank God), and instead plunges into pretty dark territories. This is, of course, intentional, since the storyline in this film takes place just before Star Wars: Episode IV, which also goes by the subtitle, A New Hope. Yes, the crew risked everything to steal the plans to the Death Star in order for Luke to blow it up in the following movie.
And, that’s because the crew in Rogue One provided that hope. When we see Princess Leia at the end of the film in that excellent scene, you know that the deaths of the Rebels were not in vain. Even though Rogue One wasn’t thought up or planned when George Lucas directed his first Star Wars movie, Rogue One aligns nicely with that film. Plus, its dire conclusion just makes the hope found in Episode IV resonate all the more so now that you know what the characters had to go through just to make A New Hope a reality. And people say that Disney ruined Star Wars. Jeez.
It Has My Favorite Star Wars Character Ever
Lastly, Rogue One has my favorite Star Wars character ever, and it might surprise you who it is. Surely, it must be Forest Whitaker’s Saw Gerrera, right? I mean, I love Forest Whitaker, but no, it’s not him. What about Mads Mikkelsen as the slimy Galen Erso? Well, he was a standout, but no. It wasn’t him, either. Oh, then it had to be Donnie Yen as the blind, Chirrut Imwe, right? No. Not it. I’ll stop being cute now, you saw the tentacles in the picture. It’s Bor Gullet. He’s my favorite Star Wars character of all time.
And no, I’m not joking. Here’s the thing, what I love most about Star Wars is just how gonzo it can get sometimes. In the first movie, in the famous Cantina scene, there’s this like, smiling, shifty-eyed red devil for some reason. And I love him! He’s only in the scene for like, a second, but he’s so weird, and so…unique.
He was my favorite Star Wars character until Bor Gullet, which is just like this purple-skinned, tentacle blob that can read thoughts. I mean, what the hell? It’s stuff like this that really makes me adore Star Wars. Here you have this super serious war movie, and then you have Forest Whitaker yelling, “BOR GULLET!” and a dude writhing in a chair while this monster rubs its slimy tentacles all over him. Forget the Rey Saga. When will I get my Chronicles of BOR GULLET Saga? Come on, Disney+. Make it happen.
Obviously, I’m not the biggest Star Wars fan in the world, but I know what I like, and I like Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. But, you are likely a Star Wars fan if you read to the bottom of this article, so for more news on upcoming Star Wars movies and TV shows, make sure to stop by here often!
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Rich is a Jersey boy, through and through. He graduated from Rutgers University (Go, R.U.!), and thinks the Garden State is the best state in the country. That said, he’ll take Chicago Deep Dish pizza over a New York slice any day of the week. Don’t hate. When he’s not watching his two kids, he’s usually working on a novel, watching vintage movies, or reading some obscure book.