It’s almost too perfect that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is about a bunch of rebels trying to steal information from the Empire. Interviewing one of the film’s stars feels like an act of espionage.
By now, you definitely know that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the first of what Disney is calling the Star Wars “Anthology Films,” spun off from the main saga. But did you know Rogue One is not the first live-action Star Wars spinoff film? In the 1980s, Lucasfilm produced two TV movies based on Star Wars, The Ewok Adventure and Ewoks: The Battle for Endor. They never played theaters in the United States, but they did get theatrical releases overseas. That’s just one of the galactic facts featured in the newest episode of You Think You Know Movies!
The long countdown to the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16 has at last hit the ten-day mark, and with buzz now at a nearly deafening roar, each day has demanded fresh preview material to keep the hordes of fans docile. It’s like an advent calendar, but instead of delicious chocolates and trinkets symbolizing holiday cheer, we get fragmented, context-free snippets symbolizing the insatiable will of America’s pop-culture mavens. It’s the reason for the season, and by “it,” I mean “the inability to allow one’s self to be pleasantly surprised by a blockbuster.”
When a director inherits a franchise from another more seasoned, more beloved filmmaker, there’s bound to be some anxiety about whether or not their predecessor will like the finished project. Did I get it right? they ask themselves. Did I do their legacy justice? Gareth Edwards, still pretty new to the blockbuster scene after taking the reins of 2014’s franchise starter/reviver Godzilla, has some galaxy-sized shoes to fill as the director of the upcoming Star Wars anthology film Rogue One. But he doesn’t have to worry too much anymore, because George Lucas has seen the movie, and given it his hearty blessing.
Eleven long days separate the general public from the wide release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. I dreamt last night that in their efforts to continue to stoke the eternal flame of hype, Lucasfilm unknowingly released the entirety of the film piecemeal over dozens of spliced-together promos. Some ambitious fan isolated each snippet of footage and stitched it back together into the competed feature and released it on his own under the title Not Rogue One. Other Star Wars aficionados, out of respect for the effort, then started to edit fan videos devoted to the DIY film that pretty much resembled the original promos from Lucasfilm. If Borges was alive today and far worse at writing, this would be his latest novella.
If you’ve seen Monsters or Godzilla, then you know that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story director Gareth Edwards is an expert at scale. Each of Edwards’ first two films dropped viewers into a world where monsters walked among us, and Star Wars fans have been looking forward to how that sense of scale would translate itself to his upcoming film. They may not be monsters, but the Star Wars universe is full of ships and vehicles that dwarf the smallest rebel troopers; how would Edwards’ style fit in a world of Star Destroyers and AT-ATs?
Let the countdown begin! We’re exactly two weeks away from the next Star Wars movie and the anticipation is building. We’ve seen trailers of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, we’ve rewatched clips on loop, and today Lucasfilm and Twitter collaborated to debut never-before-seen footage from the upcoming spin-off.
Much like Marvel, the world of Star Wars is somewhat secretive, leaving fans with plenty of surprises to discover in theaters. Rogue One has been a little more transparent — and that makes sense, given that Gareth Edwards’ spinoff / prequel is the first of Lucasfilm’s new anthology series, the success of which will serve as something of a barometer for future spinoffs. We’ve learned quite a bit about Rogue One over the last year (and even more in the recent weeks leading up to its release), and with two weeks left to go, Edwards has one more interesting piece of intel to share with fans.
While we’ll have to wait a year for another Star Wars episode, Rogue One is here to tide us over until then, and Lucasfilm has been putting out tons of promotional material to remind us that the new movie is coming very, very soon. Today, the studio released a short featurette that shows just how excited director Gareth Edwards is about his new movie, plus some bits of new footage we haven’t seen before.
No Star Wars release is complete without a theatrical poster featuring a mural of disembodied faces all looking in different directions. Artist Drew Struzan made that format into a staple of the theatrical poster world, providing the Star Wars franchise with its most instantly recognizable promotional material, not to mention his fine work for the Indiana Jones and Back to the Future pictures. Those who have been following the long rollout of previews for the upcoming Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will be the first to point out that the production has already taken on its very own face-packed poster back in October. But the people demand more, and as they demand, so shall they receive.