Everything wrong with Rogue One?

So, movieweb has published an article listing 13 problems with Rogue One, and I thought it was interesting enough to want to write a blog here with some of my own thoughts on these problems. Because I’m still pretty pumped for this movie, and I’m interested in what’s being written about it!

Spoilers abound, once again!

1. Darth Vader
I have to say, I hadn’t really thought a lot about this one. My biggest problem with Vader in this movie was the costume, which somehow didn’t seem right. I actually really liked that scene at the end with him swinging his lightsaber into all and sundry, it was pretty great. But like the article says, it does make the Vader of A New Hope seem a bit diminished by comparison. The depleted battery theory is pretty good to explain this, but it harkens back to what I said after watching the first trailer, and how I feel seeing new stuff from this period of the timeline will make the original trilogy seem pretty dated. So in short, I agree.

2. CGI resurrections
I didn’t honestly think this was as badly done as the article describes. Sure, as I said in my review blog from yesterday, the scenes with Tarkin distracted me because I was trying to work out how they’d done it, but overall I liked seeing this, and thought it worked really well. To have a film about the Death Star without Tarkin would have been more jarring, to me, so I appreciated the efforts to stay within the lore, anyway. Seeing Leia at the end was a shock, and I’m not even sure it was a good shock, but I don’t think it was that much of a deal overall.

3. Title cards to introduce planets
I actually really liked this one. These anthology movies are trying to break the mould for what a Star Wars movie has to be, and the lack of an opening crawl/rebels’ fanfare – heck, the title card of the movie just says ‘Rogue One’, it doesn’t even have Star Wars on the screen. This really does feel visually different, and I like it. Having the planets introduced in this way was something that made me pay attention, but it also made me feel like I was watching a different kind of movie set in the familiar universe, and I really liked that feeling. Overall, I don’t see anything wrong with this!

4. Ponda Baba and Dr Evazan cameo
Sure, this bugged me a lot. I just didn’t see the point of it, beyond the obvious fan service. It had no other purpose, and is the sort of thing that bugs the hell out of me in movies like this. The issues with them getting from Jedha to Mos Eisley in a matter of days is the least of my concerns here, they just shouldn’t have been put in the movie in the first place.

5. C-3PO and R2-D2 cameo
Yep, another unnecessary line or two of dialogue, just to place the droids in every single movie. Up to that point of the film, I was finding it a little funny that this would be one Star Wars movie that wouldn’t give Anthony Daniels a paycheck, but clearly no! It again has no purpose to the plot, other than a gratuitous cameo, but I suppose it was at least more permissible than Dr Evazan and Ponda Baba…

6. Cassian’s return from the grave
I did think this was a bit convenient, though I wasn’t entirely convinced that his fall would be the demise of his character, which seemed far too ignominious and lacking in presence for one of the main people of the movie. So when he showed up, it was more in the sense of “obviously he’s there” than “wha?”

7. Jyn vs the TIE fighter
I wasn’t one of those people who had memorised every scene from every trailer, though I was a bit surprised when some scenes I’d remembered weren’t included in the movie. We get Chirrut shooting a TIE fighter out of the sky, though, so we don’t need anything more…

8. Darth Vader cut scenes
As above, I wasn’t expecting them, and the lack of their inclusion didn’t ruin the experience for me. As it was, Vader was in danger of being over-used anyway, so I’m fine with missing some of these things (though will, of course, lap up any and all deleted scenes I can get, because obviously!)

9. The gang came together a bit too quickly
While I was a bit surprised at how easily Chirrut and Baze grafted themselves onto the rebellion, overall I didn’t have a problem with the formation of the team. The far larger problem, for me, was how Jyn suddenly becomes an inspirational leader-type during the “senate” scene and subsequently on the mission, while we’re told Cassian is head of intelligence and so would more likely fill that role more naturally. Maybe it was a part of her character that she had kept hidden up to that point, and it was finally allowed to come forth, but she does go rather too quickly from the sullen loner type to a Princess Leia surrogate. Hm.

10. Where are Porkins and Biggs
Yep, I was waiting for Biggs as well. Porkins didn’t really cross my mind, but at any rate, we get quite a bit of spliced-in footage from A New Hope, so why couldn’t they splice some more in, if they were doing that anyway? I suppose Biggs would have been down on Tatooine with Luke in that deleted scene round about the time of this movie, but even so…

11. The Kyber Crystals
This plotline was a bit weird to me, and I felt it was a little like the stuff with “the Force of Others” and “the Temple of the Whills” that I mentioned in my review blog, there for the fans of the lore familiar with the genesis of A New Hope, back when it was the Adventures of the Starkiller and so on. It seemed like something that was floating around in the background, and I was surprised that nothing ever came of Jyn’s necklace. In fact, I was surprised we didn’t learn anything about her mother, who is perhaps also one of these Church of the Force types. Or maybe even a Jedi in hiding? Maybe that’s something to be discussed in a future comic or novel? Hm.

12. Back to the Future?
Sure, now they mention it, this moment does have that feeling. But it isn’t something I’d thought about during the movie. In fact, I was pretty convinced Bodhi Rook was going to prove he wasn’t, in fact, a defector, and was going to sell the rebels out after all. I was genuinely surprised that he turned out to be a good guy!

13. Saw Gerrera’s eyes have changed colour
Okay… I call myself a huge Star Wars fan, and I think I know quite a great deal about the lore, but seriously? For an article that is titled “13 Big Problems with Rogue One“, this makes the list? I’m not quite sure what to say…

Anyway! This surely won’t be┬áthe last post about the new Star Wars movie on this blog – I’m hoping to go see it again, and have the novelization on pre-order, at the very least… Have you seen it yet? Let me know what you think in the comments!

Operation: Skyhook (or, How the Rebels originally got the Death Star plans)

Hey everybody!
Following on from my moderately spoiler-filled review of Rogue One yesterday, I thought it’d be fun to take a look at how the Rebel Alliance originally got hold of the Death Star plans in the old, now-Legends canon! Sit back and enjoy the crazy!

Death Star plans

First of all, it’s important to note that the story was told over a number of years and via a number of media, including video games. This is important, because of the nature of such things.

Back in The Force Unleashed, Vader’s secret apprentice captures the leading senators behind the rebellion and takes them to the skeletal Death Star building site to, well, kinda gloat. Over the next couple of years, the rebellion learns of the battle station’s capabilities and decides to steal the plans in the hope of finding a weakness and destroying it. This whole process was called Operation: Skyhook.

Initial rumours of the project were passed to Princess Leia while she was on a mercy mission to Raltiir, and investigations were carried out by Captain Raymus Antilles – with the unlikely assistance of none other than Han Solo… Anyway! The investigations turned up the location of the plans for this station at Danuta, and so Mon Mothma assigned the mission for their recovery to the Imperial defector, Kyle Katarn. In addition to this, plans were also recovered on Polis Massa, where the 501st Legion attempted to recover the leaked information. Datacards with information about the Death Star were also sent to Darkknell, where they were recovered for the Alliance by Garm bel Iblis.

These plans were discovered to be incomplete parts of the whole schematic, which was said to have been split for security purposes. A fourth part of the plans were recovered on Toprawa, where the superlaser had been developed, and were recovered by Bria Tharen and Red Hand Squadron, where they were beamed to Princess Leia aboard Tantive IV shortly before Darth Vader’s flagship, the Devastator, arrived in the system and began the chase that concludes over Tatooine in the opening of A New Hope.

Darth Vader A New Hope

This whole story is principally told in the Dark Forces, X-Wing and Battlefront video games; as well as the novella, Interlude at Darkknell, and the end of the Han Solo trilogy, Rebel Dawn. The video games have gone over this material so often because it is a pivotal episode of the Star Wars saga that has “game opportunity” written all over it. Needing to have a reasonably open-ended storyline has also led to a few problems, and the whole situation has caused the almost-endless retcons that have happened over the years, in turn causing the story of the theft of the Death Star plans to have become a weirdly mutable part of the overall storyline. The storyline outlined above has actually been told over the course of several years, and painfully refined to allow for the inclusion of any new scrap of information as it became published.

Thankfully, with the release of Rogue One, we have one coherent narrative that shows us what is now considered to be the true story, and I have to say, it’s actually a lot better than I thought it would be!