War, war never changes. – Narrator, Fallout
War has changed. – Solid Snake, Metal Gear Solid V
Earlier this week, the teaser trailer for the new Star Wars movie released.
No. Not that one.
The other one. The rogue one.
There we go. The teaser trailer for Gareth Edwards’ ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ just dropped on Wednesday. It was the first glimpse of what Disney has planned for the new ‘Star Wars Cinematic Universe’: the first in a series of spin-off films that supplement the main Episode I through XI (and almost certainly more) storyline.
The trailer, which you can view here, if you haven’t already seen it 20 times, features Jyn Erso, a hypercompetent badass played by Felicity Jones. She’s apparently recruited into the Rebellion by Mon Mothma to engineer the most dangerous heist of all time: stealing the plans for the first dreaded Death Star.
What follows is a flurry of in-the-trenches, shaky-cam action sequences which provide us with a look at what a realistic war in the stars might look like. A far cry from the swashbuckling antics of farmboys, space pirates and crazy wizardmen. To use the vernacular, it’s a “darker, grittier” Star Wars than we’ve ever seen before. Aside from the shots of Star Destroyers, and the Death Star, it feels like a wholly different sort of film. And I, personally, don’t know exactly how to feel about that.
I don’t particularly like the idea of Star Wars veering away from its pulpy science fantasy roots. Part of me would love it to remain an adventure film series with joyful, exciting overtones, rather than succumb to the trend of grim realism that’s been on the rise for years. Even when the series goes ‘dark’, like in The Empire Strikes Back, it still does not lose its fantastical tone.
But at the same time, based on the trailer alone, Rogue One just looks… great. In every sense.
And I love it.
Yes, the same guy who railed against Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Everything Wrong With the World and who wrote a whole essay about why Superman needs to be a joyous dreamer again instead of a dark, tortured soul, is completely on board with a Star Wars movie full of dark grit.
Why? Because Rogue One looks like it’s going to be done right.
Although the realism has been toned up (as much as you can in a galaxy far, far away) to a level consistent with Jason Bourne style action…
…it still looks to be entertaining and fun. With faithful callbacks and references to the movies we’ve seen hundreds of times before.
And although there are dreary heavy-handed monologues…
…there’s no overarching nihilistic philosophy being pushed here. *ahem*
Furthermore, since this is a side-story, none of the characters from the original trilogy will be tarnished in any way. Unless you’re really angry that they’ve retconned Mon Mothma into only having one piece of wardrobe.
And even if other Star Wars characters appear (you may believe the rumors of a certain asthmatic burn victim returning) they will most probably be consistent in their characterization with the rest of the films.
Rogue One is dark and gritty done right. Giving us a look at the more grounded aspects of the Star Wars universe without being depressing and overly grim. It may not exactly be the Star Wars I remember, but it could still be great. It’s exciting and it’s different, without falling prey to ridiculous excesses. You know the ones I’m talking about.