It’s almost here! “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” opens in theaters this Friday, with some sneak preview showings on Thursday. I’ve got my ticket (I’m excited to check out my town’s brand-new IMAX theater!), and now it’s time to sit back and wait for early reviews to roll in.
“Rogue One” will tell the story of how a daring band of rebels stole the plans for the Death Star, making the events of “A New Hope” possible. While good trailers don’t always guarantee a good final film (I’m still mourning your lost potential, “Suicide Squad”!), the trailers for “Rogue One” have been amazing, promising an exciting and emotional journey. Here are the top five things I’m hoping to see in the movie:
1. Strong new characters
Until now, the Star Wars film franchise has focused primarily on the Skywalker family — from Anakin’s fall to the dark side to Luke’s rise as a Jedi. “The Force Awakens” continued that saga, with Anakin’s grandson Kylo Ren betraying the light and Anakin’s (maybe?) granddaughter Rey following in Luke’s footsteps. However, even though I do love me some Skywalker family drama, the Star Wars universe is a pretty big place with a lot of potential (the now non-canon Expanded Universe is evidence of that). I’m glad “Rogue One” will be focusing on a brand-new cast of characters, with some cameo appearances from a few favorites (more on that later). I’m excited to meet these new characters and explore some new corners of the Star Wars universe. I’m most looking forward to seeing Felicity Jones’ character Jyn Erso, who appears to be a somewhat reluctant hero, and Donnie Yen as Chirrut Îmwe, a blind warrior who is devoted to the Jedi way but cannot use the Force himself.
2. Epic battle sequences…not involving lightsabers
I love lightsabers and I really love lightsaber duels. However, I’m excited to see some really epic, more traditional style battle scenes that don’t involve Force users. It appears one of the film’s main set pieces will be a battle on a tropical planet (AT-ATs on the beach!). I’m looking forward to watching a large-scale battle like the battle of Hoth in “The Empire Strikes Back” and Endor in “Return of the Jedi.” Also, I’m really hoping this movie will show off the full might of the Empire and just how powerful its military was.
3. An iconic soundtrack
John Williams’ scores for the Star Wars saga are arguably the best film soundtracks ever composed (or at least I think so!). So even though I was initially a little disappointed he wouldn’t be composing for “Rogue One,” Michael Giacchino is one of my favorites of the new generation of film composers, and I love what he did with the Star Trek reboot franchise. Like the film itself, I hope the music can remind us of what’s come before while also covering fresh ground and pushing the franchise in an unexpected direction.
4. A great cameo from Darth Vader
Darth Vader is one of my all-time favorite film characters, so naturally his cameo is one of the things I’m most looking forward to about “Rogue One.” While I don’t want it to take over too much of the film (I want the movie to focus primarily on the new characters), I don’t want it to be too short, either. I’d like to see more than just a few snatches of dialogue; I want this movie to capture just how terrifying a presence Darth Vader must have been for both the rebels and his own troops. It would be great if he could confront the group of rebel characters at the end. Which leads me to point No. 5…
5. A tragic ending
I love a happy ending, where good triumphs over evil and the heroes get to celebrate. However, I think “Rogue One” will have a much greater emotional impact if it ends on a very bittersweet note, with many of the main characters dying. I think this will drive home the point of how great a sacrifice the rebels had to make when they decided to oppose the Empire. Star Wars movies often end poignantly, such as Qui-Gon’s death in “The Phantom Menace” and Darth Vader sacrificing his life to save his son in “Return of the Jedi.”
So, what are you most looking forward to in “Rogue One”? What are your hopes for the movie?