In Episode VI of Star Wars, (‘Return of the Jedi’), one of the Rebel leaders says ‘Many Bothans died to bring us this information’.
While that doesn’t apply to Rogue One, which is a prequel to Episode IV (‘A new hope’), it is a beautiful attempt to take a single back story (some spies got the plans), and exploding into a full scale movie.
It also feels greyer and more morally complex than any other Star Wars pieces I’ve seen. Spies are confused and risk doing the wrong thing, simply because they don’t have the right information. They have to make difficult decisions under uncertain conditions. Tempers flare. Sometimes it’s not clear what the right choice is, even if they wanted to do the right thing.
The movie is interesting, too, in that it’s about a resistance to an occupying force. Some of the earlier scenes in the movie, where an Imperial tank is attacked by Rebels, feel like they could be set in a Middle Eastern city being occupied by Western forces.
And of course, there’s the re-edits. I’m not sure what the full story is on that. It’s interesting to think how different the movie might have been with a different final cut; it felt like it struggled at points to balance attempts at humour with a grittier feel. Suffice to say that if there’s a director’s cut, I’ll actually be interested in seeing this one.
But the one that it’s in cinemas is worth watching, if you like the Star Wars franchise. Less so as a stand alone.