The wait is over, and the movie event of the year is here. That’s right, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has launched from a galaxy far, far away and landed in Cineworld cinemas.
Marking the very first time the Star Wars feature-length movies have veered away from the main Skywalker storyline, Rogue One will feature a rebellious rabble of brand new characters, in a story which fills in the gaps between Episode III and Episode IV.
It’s still set in the universe we know and love with spaceships, battles, and droids aplenty, but it’s also a Star Wars movie like we’ve never seen before. Strap yourselves in, we’re going to bring you up to light-speed on why Rogue One will be daringly different…
Star Wars episode... wait, what?
You’ll have to patiently wait until December 2017 to see more of Rey, BB-8, Finn and Luke Skywalker in Episode VIII, as Rogue One marks the first time a Star Wars movie has veered away from the episode order.
In the first of what is being called the "anthology" series, Rogue One will focus on the band of rebels who attempt to steal the plans for the Death Star. In order to set itself apart from the episode movies, it will also be the first in the saga not to feature the famous scrolling text at the beginning! But fear not fans, it’ll still be the same universe we know and love, but with the opportunity to explore perhaps the darker side (get it?) of the story.
Not a lightsaber in sight!
Set in a time where the Jedis are in hiding, and all hope seems lost as the Empire rises to power, this will be a big change from all the previous Star Wars movies we’ve seen. Whilst we might get some answers about the mysterious kyber crystals (the source of power for lightsabers), we won't be seeing the Jedi weapon of choice. There’ll be plenty of “pew-pew-ing” though, with more blasters than you could shake a lightsaber at, and a rebellious new group of heroes to love, with some weapons to rival the old classics.
The antiheroes strike back!
Star Wars has at its core always focused on the themes of good and evil, the light side and the dark side. Rogue One will be more on the slightly 'grey-side' though, as the 'heroes' are a ragtag group of assembled criminals and rebels drafted in to fight against the greater evil of the Empire.
Whilst there will still be the battle of good vs evil, it will also be the first time the movies have looked at the idea of an antihero. With the line between light and dark being slightly more blurred, there is the possibility that allegiances will change, so it is certainly going to be a film which keeps us on our toes.
It's a war movie... in space!
In conversation with Collider, director Gareth Edwards said: "One of the early experiments we did was taking real war photography, pictures of Vietnam, conflicts in the Middle East, and World War II, and we literally photoshopped rebel helmets on the tops of the real soldiers. We looked at this stuff and it was really effective and you're like, 'Oh my God, I really feel for these guys'. There was something about the realism of that".
With the aesthetics of Rogue One being inspired by real-world conflicts, this is going to be a Star Wars movie, and a war movie, like we have never seen before. It’ll be darker and grittier in tone, unquestionably badass, and we can’t wait!
Sarah Buddery is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.