I'm not going to pretend to follow Star Wars news all that closely, something that will be pretty obvious to those that do by the time you get to the end of this article. When I changed my calendar from November to December on Thursday morning I thought about researching Christmas-time #Movies. This brought to mind the next installment of the Star Wars films and I was expecting to find trailers for the eighth episode in the series as a warm up to watching the actual movie in theatres later this month.
I've been looking forward to Episode VIII ever since seeing Luke Skywalker at the end of 2015's "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." But, unfortunately for me (and maybe others that were in the same boat as me), "Star Wars: Episode VIII" doesn't come out until Christmas time in 2017 not 2016. This year, Star Wars fans get what looks like a prequel, a movie called "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story." Like any prequel that I can think of, the only way to enjoy it is to stay in the moment. Prequels aren't exactly cliffhangers, because you can't buy into the suspense with the foreknowledge of future episodes which are basically plot spoilers.
Stars Wars: Episode IV contains plot spoilers
At IMDB.com, "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" is described as follows: "The Rebellion makes a risky move to steal the plans to the Death Star, setting up the epic saga to follow." I hate the use of the word "risky" to be honest, because selling the suspense just isn't possible. The film might be an interesting one for someone who was born this century and didn't grow up watching the Star Wars movies in the following order:
- Episode IV (1977)
- Episode V (1980)
- Episode VI (1983)
- Episode I (1999)
- Episode II (2002)
- Episode III (2005)
- Episode VII (2015)
- Episode 3.5 (2016; ie. Rogue One is in between 2005's Episode III from and 1997's Episode IV)
Someone who has never seen any of the Star Wars movies is actually able to follow the plot in the linear order instead of the jump-around that people my age have gotten over the last few decades. I actually envy such people and if you are a parent of a teenager, make them watch the movies in order of plot events, not real-life release dates. Maybe then the ending of "Rogue One" won't be a foregone conclusion.
Leia has the Death Star plans in Ep. IV
But unfortunately watching Rogue One for someone my age is going to suck a little because it's impossible to pretend like I don't know the ending. I've seen Episode IV enough times to have a pretty good idea of how "Rogue One" ends. My guess, based solely on my knowledge of Episode IV, is that the rebels do steal the plans to the Death Star and that they manage to get them to Princess Leia somehow. That makes perfect sense, because she uploads them into R2D2 in Episode IV, a film which actually references that the rebels were successful in the opening scrolling words that are a feature of the start of the Star Wars films.
The lack of any kind of suspense in figuring out if the characters fulfill their goals is an inherent knock against the movie from the start. Furthermore, when I look at the cast of actors/actresses I don't really see any core Star Wars' staples. I see James Earl Jones, the long-time voice of Darth Vader, and I see Jimmy Smits reprising his role of Bail Organa, one he had in Episodes II & III. However, you know what I don't see? I don't see Mark Hamill, I don't see Harrison Ford, and I don't see Carrie Fisher.
I thought that once we got to Episode VII that we were getting on with the Stars Wars plot. Unfortunately, they're going to milk us with an episode in between III and IV first. As retro as that is I still expect Star Wars Episode 3.5 to do big numbers because, hey, this film series survived Hayden Christensen and that mean's it's indestructible. But, as far the suspense, I can't forget the start of Episode IV so I think that means I know how "Rogue One" ends.