Second Trailer For Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Shows Promise

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Finally got around to watching the new trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and let me say I was quite impressed!

Backing up here, I have to admit I wasn’t enthusiastic about the film when I heard about it. OK, a spinoff Star Wars film, sounds good on paper but it reeked of Disney milking the Star Wars cash cow. Not that I blame them they spent a few billion to get the property so they want their money’s worth. But after seeing Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens I wasn’t thrilled about new Star Wars films.

Rogue One A Star Wars Story rebels

The only thing going for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was that it was a prequel that didn’t have to do with the main characters. No Skywalkers, no cute droids or Jedi. Then again Gareth Edwards is directing this, the guy who made a Godzilla movie dull. OK that last taunt there is an exaggeration, but Godzilla was kind of disappointing and went downhill after Bryan Cranston’s character was killed off.

Getting back to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, I was neutral about the first spinoff film. Not even the teaser did anything to change my mind. Then I saw the new trailer today, and boy have my eyes been opened.

What is so great about this trailer is that it emphasizes the war aspect of Star Wars. It looks gritty and grounded while taking place in the beloved Star Wars universe. The characters look badass, especially the older blind man who seems to be Force adept. And they seem interesting, one of them, Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker), is a cool Easter egg for fans of Star Wars: The Clone Wars since it proves once and for all that the animated series is canon. Now if only that grand admiral shown had blue skin. LOL But he still looks like someone not to mess with.

JynnWhat else? The ships, the fighting, the desperation, it feels so great watching all the classic ships and hardware being used in Star Wars again, plus some new stuff (hear that Force Awakens? It’s OK to use different hardware and ships) that fits well in this universe. But one thing that stands out is that for the first time since the original Star Wars, we witness the harsh, despotic nature of the Galactic Empire. The Empire looks imposing, threatening, not at all like the cardboard cut outs who can’t shoot straight. As far as this film is concerned, the Galactic Empire is at its height of power and dominion. Also, apart from the Darth Vader teaser at the end, this trailer shows that it is a true spinoff that does not rely on the usual characters or recycles stories.

So, now I’m hyped up for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which is terrific because so many films this year have been disappointing. If this film delivers, hopefully the other Star Wars spinoffs will be of the same caliber.

T. Rod Jones

 

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Star Wars Returns With New Rebels

Star Wars is back with the long awaited premiere of the pilot for the animated show Star Wars: Rebels on Disney Channel.

Right off the bat the action kicks off with the introduction of the main character, a Jedi in hiding called Kanan Jarrus (voiced by Freddie Prinze, Jr.), who leads a crew of rebels on a ship called the Ghost in stealing weapons on a remote outer rim world Lothal. On the planet the crew encounters a young thief named Ezra (voiced by Taylor Gray), who is also strong in the Force.  This sets off a chain of events that lead them on a rescue mission to free wookie slaves on the spice world of Kessel. The show displays classic Star Wars action with a speeder chase right out of Return Of The Jedi, gun battles with imperial stormtroopers, who still have lousy aim, and dog fights in outer space with the iconic TIE fighters echoing scenes from A New Hope.

speederAll of this sets up the series nicely as a return to the Original Trilogy era, as this show is set between events in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and the original film Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.  The tyranny of the Empire is on display as well, the episode starts with an agent from the Imperial Security Bureau harassing citizens of the planet Lothal, and later wookies are being shipped to certain death as forced slave labor. As much as I liked the prequel era and Star Wars: The Clone Wars series, it is great to see a return to this time in the Star Wars universe.  But I hada few nitpicks with the pilot episode. Take the way Kanan reveals himself as a Jedi to the imperial forces in the end of the episode. It did seem somewhat sudden, as was the quickness that Ezra accepts Kanan’s offer to be trained as a Jedi. ezra lightsaberI thought that their identity as Force sensitive people would have been kept under wraps for a while and be gradually brought up as the series went on, but by the conclusion of the pilot, they basically lay their cards out on the table. This brings them to the attention of the next big Star Wars villain, the Inquisitor, who seems like a sinister character even though his screen time is only a few seconds. Having said that, it was nice to see some exciting lightsaber action, as was seeing our heroes help their fellow man. Whether it was feeding starving outcasts on Lothar or helping Wookie slaves escape from Imperial clutches.

ghost battleThis series is being executive produced by Dave Filoni, who oversaw the excellent Clone Wars  show and it will be interesting to see how Rebels develops in comparison. Star Wars: The Clone Wars had familiar characters and settings while Star Wars: Rebels is kind of in new territory with new characters (and a cameo by one of the beloved Star Wars characters) and a setting that has to bridge the gap between the trilogies.   Overall, this pilot gets the series off to a good start. The characters seem to have a good rapport with each other and have a history as a crew that will hopefully be explored in the coming episodes. It will be fun to see how they will fit into the overall story of the rebellion and hopefully we will see classic Star Wars characters interacting with the crew of the Ghost.

C.S. Link