I’m on the final installment of my Five Favorite Things in the Star Wars movie trilogies, and it’s been so much fun. And honestly, if I did it again, I’d have different answers to each and every one, because these films are filled with great moments, both big and small. Here find my picks for the superb Rogue One: A Star Wars Story:
Darth Vader hallway scene. I think pretty much everyone loves this scene. Darth Vader is in supreme badass form, something we hadn’t seen for awhile, and it’s thrilling. The way he moves relentlessly down that hallway, taking out the Rebels in pursuit of the Death Star plans just kind of takes your breath away. It also fills in what happened just before the events of A New Hope–how close it was, how harrowing and terrifying it was for those in the Tantive IV to be pursued by Vader, the sheer number of casualties in getting those plans into safe hands. Everything that had come before in this movie, the sacrifices made, the pain and loss and terror, comes down to this moment. Even though we know that the plans will make it to Princess Leia, who then hides them in R2-D2, to eventually make it to Luke and Obi-Wan on Tatooine, we’re still on the edge of our seats when we see that red lightsaber light up in the darkness.
Battle of Scarif. Rogue One is, essentially, a war movie, and this battle illustrates that to perfection. The small force of Rebels taking on the garrison of Scarif, trying to distract them so that Jyn and Cassian have a chance to get the plans, and dying in the process, is moving to a terrible degree. To see Imperial Walkers stomping through this otherwise beautiful tropical world, cutting down the Rebels, is jarring; to see Blue Squadron streak past overhead to come to their aid is awesome. To see them all die anyway is heartbreaking. But their sacrifice is not in vain, as they accomplish the mission they set out to do. They don’t know for sure if they succeeded before they die; but they played their part and can only cling to hope with their last breaths. Chirrut’s death, as Baze holds him, is especially hard for me, as he’s one of my favorite characters in the movie. That’s why I chose….
Chirrut Imwe (along with his companion, Baze Malbus), as I said above, is one of my favorite characters in this movie. I love that there is such a thing as Guardians of the Whills (or there used to be, at least), that they once protected the Temple on Jedha, that they are not Jedi and yet belonged to a religion centered on the Force. Not all of them are Force-sensitive, but Chirrut is, and that is why he’s never lost faith in the Force (as Baze, unfortunately, has). I love this prayer that he chants when he needs to do something nearly impossible; it almost always works to protect him, because he BELIEVES it will. (I love these two characters so much I read the YA book Guardians of the Whills, which tells a little more of there story on Jedha).
Are you kidding me? I’m blind! Another Chirrut moment, when he and Baze lead Jyn and Cassian to Saw Gerrera’s hideout and they put hoods over their heads so they can’t see where they’re going. K2SO has a lot of great zingers in this movie and I was torn, but this moment really got me chuckling the first few times I saw it.
Most Impactful Character
Jyn Erso. One could argue that Jyn Erso is a passive character: not really making any decisions, but only acting as events dictate. To some extent that’s true–she’s pretty much forced to into this conflict by the Alliance, and it’s either help them or go back to prison. You might say that her father, Galen Erso, is more impactful, since he’s the one who made the flaw in the Death Star in the first place, and he’s the one who sent Bodhi on his mission to defect. Everyone, in fact, except Jyn, is committed to the mission: Bodhi was convinced to do the right thing by Galen himself; Cassian, of course, believes in the Rebellion and will do whatever it takes to defeat the Empire; even Chirrut and Baze are refugees from a planet ravaged by the Death Star, and clearly want justice. But Jyn? She doesn’t care about any of it. I’m not sure I even liked Jyn, at first; she seemed cold and selfish, too traumatized by her childhood to care about anyone or anything. So why did I pick her for this category?
Clearly she’s the movie’s protagonist, but that alone won’t do. I think it’s the evolution of her character. Jyn, out of all of them, is the one that changes the most by the end of the film, as any decent protagonist should do. The others, by comparison, stay the same throughout (their commitment only grows stronger). Jyn, after seeing the holo image of her father, Galen, now has a personal stake in the mission, like the others have had all along. She comes to realize it’s the right thing to do, but only after seeing that her father believed it to be so, and that he sacrificed himself for it. She can’t let her long-lost father die in vain. She can’t let that evil man in white, who killed her mother and took her father away, win. It’s Jyn’s personal fire that keeps the team going (in the novelization–I can’t remember if it’s in the movie or not–, Baze asks Chirrut why she’s important, and Chirrut says, “She has the fire.”) In the end, she does make the decision, with the others, to go to Scarif without the Alliance’s blessing. Besides, she’s the one who recognizes the data tape codename–“Stardust”–as the Death Star plans, when no one else could have. Jyn is the fire that fuels the story.
What are your favorite moments in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story? Let me know in the comments and we’ll talk about it!