I was asked recently whether we were going to do an advance post on Rogue One, because, well, Star Wars. My answer was… oh, well, yeah, should probably do that.
The hype around this one is… different from last year. Which is good. There haven’t been a whole lot of movies with more hype than The Force Awakens. Which gave the movie huge shoes to fill. Expectations are huge for how we feel about something, for our feelings of enjoyment or disappointment.
Still, there’s a lot of excitement for this one. And along with that, we have the success of The Force Awakens now for it to be compared to: will it be as good? Will it do as well at the box office?
And then it has to other problems to contend with. One, is it’s a prequel, which is tough. We talked about this some last week when we talked about Fantastic Beasts. It’s really hard to tell a story when we know how it all turns out. It helps when we only vaguely know how it turns out: like with Fantastic Beasts, and the Grindelwald era of the wizarding world: all we really know is it was bad, and Dumbledore eventually wins. With Rogue One, all we really know is that the plans to the Death Star get back to the Rebel Alliance.
But this isn’t just a prequel. It’s a presequel. It’s a story between a movie trilogy we’ve seen and a movie trilogy we’ve seen, in a universe with a massive expanded universe and a massive fandom. Which also means it’s wedged between a beloved trilogy and a bemoaned trilogy. It easily in a place for us to be able to say it’s better than some of the movies and worse than others.
Overall, it’s just a lot to compare it to. What will be considered success? By the fans? By the studio? I guess just time will tell. And without being able to define success, I don’t know how you aim for it. But there’s one thing to say about this movie…
Because it’s more than a pre-sequel. It’s a one-off stand-alone movie in a series built on longer storytelling (movie trilogies, long video games, multi-season TV shows, book series). It’s new characters we don’t know, with a sprinkling of known characters as a backdrop.
Meaning one thing is for sure: they need to make it a good movie. They need to introduce and give life to the characters, take them through a complete arc, and come out the other side. Which will in-and-of itself be something new for Star Wars. And that’s what can make this feel like a fresh and interesting experience.
Holly and I have been trying to avoid watching the trailers for this one after the first one, so as to try not to be too spoiled on it. But I’ve heard they’ve all been good. And the initial reviews are coming in, and they sound good. I’m excited. I’m more than cautiously optimistic.
How about you? Do you think they will live up to or exceed our expectations? Let me know what you think in the comments below!