'Rogue One' brings viewers farther into the galaxy far, far away

The newest 'Star Wars' movie centers on mostly new characters and could influence plans for the 'Star Wars' franchise. How will audiences respond?

Jonathan Olley/Lucasfilm Ltd./AP
'Rogue One' stars Donnie Yen.

“Rogue One,” the latest tale set in the “Star Wars” fictional universe, is now in theaters – and how much it succeeds could help shape Disney's plans to expand the range of “Star Wars” stories.

The new movie “Rogue” takes place before the story seen in the 1977 film “Star Wars” and centers on Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and her companions, who have been given the task of obtaining the plans for the Death Star.

It’s set during a time that “Star Wars” fans know well – viewers remember the fight between the rebels, which included Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Han Solo, and the evil Empire. But it’s a story that’s mainly Skywalker-free, except for reportedly brief appearances by Darth Vader and any cameos we don’t know about yet. This time, Darth Vader’s son isn’t learning the force, and Han Solo isn’t serving as wisecracking mentor.

How audiences may respond could give Disney an idea of what to expect for future installments. Actor Alden Ehrenreich is set to star in a movie about a younger Han, but that’s based on a globally famous character. And, of course, more movies about “Force Awakens” characters like Rey and Finn, which got a hefty launch from Han Solo and include (sorry if this is a spoiler, but you’re a year late) Han and Leia’s son, Kylo Ren, are on their way. But can more movies about new characters, ones with little if any connection to past ones, come after “Rogue”?

“There are [possible movies] that we have been talking a lot about,” Kathleen Kennedy, the president of Lucasfilm, told Entertainment Weekly. “But we are planning to sit down in January, since we will have had ‘The Force Awakens’ released, now ‘Rogue One,’ and we’ve finished shooting ‘Episode VIII.’ We have enough information where we can step back a little bit and say, What are we doing? What do we feel is exciting? And what are some of the things we want to explore?” 

Nick Statt of The Verge writes that it will be a tricky balance going forward with the series. “The biggest challenge is figuring out what ingredients in ‘Star Wars’ comprise its true identity, while the biggest fear is finding out that the magic can wear off if the recipe is wrong,” Mr. Statt writes. “‘Rogue One’ is the testing ground for that experiment.”

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to 'Rogue One' brings viewers farther into the galaxy far, far away
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today