Rogue One – I am beside myself

The trailer for the new standalone Star Wars feature Rogue One came out just a few days ago and the internet went predictably berserk. As did I. It looks awesome. Just awesome.

The new film, which isn’t part of the new sequels, but is part of the franchise, is set in the period just before the very first movie. Cast your memory back. Remember those plans Princess Leia gave to R2-D2 about the Death Star? Well, we get to find out how they were taken, by whom and at what cost.

Felicity Jones stars as flawed hero Jyn Erso – “this is a rebellion, isn’t it? I rebel” – who is recruited to find out what the Imperial Forces are up to. There’s a pretty impressive cast, with Forest Whitaker, Alan Tudyk and Ben Mendelsohn also starring, although their roles at this stage are still unclear.

This is a noticeably grittier story than the recent The Force Awakens and, from what I’ve read, fans are well impressed. It’s definitely got a more grimy feel with plenty of authentic elements from the original films. Despite the PG rating, it also feels more menacing. We know that the plans are successfully acquired (spoiler alert!) but otherwise it doesn’t look like this is going to end well. Going undercover to find out intel on the Death Star? Sounds like a one-way mission to me. Forest Whitaker’s character asks, ominously, “if you continue to fight, what will you become?”.

Awesome, Forest. She’ll become baddy bad bad awesome.

Star Wars: Rogue One L to R: Actors Riz Ahmed, Diego Luna, Felicity Jones, Jiang Wen and Donnie Yen Photo Credit: Jonathan Olley ©Lucasfilm 2016
Star Wars: Rogue One
L to R: Actors Riz Ahmed, Diego Luna, Felicity Jones, Jiang Wen and Donnie Yen
Photo Credit: Jonathan Olley
©Lucasfilm 2016

My favourite thing about the cast picture is that Jyn Erso is not only fully clothed, she’s fully clothed! I know that sounds like I said the same thing twice. So maybe I’ll say it again. She’s fully clothed! I mean, all power to anyone who wants to run around semi-nude. Great! I’ll watch that. But it always, always bugs me when ‘strong female’ characters (whatever that means) run around with their hair whipping all over the place, their boobs constantly in peril of falling out and wearing heels that are threatening to snap at any given moment. Please, I can’t believe that heroine. Anyone who’s ever spent the greater part of the night relentlessly pulling up a strapless dress understands – you can’t fight crime when your shoulders are completely bare.

It may have escaped your notice that a new Star Wars was due out this year. It will not, however, escape your notice that we’ve got another female lead, and a handful of ‘people’ have taken that badly in the vein of, “oh the feminists are ruining sci-fi”.

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An ugly woman in actress! Take that, femminits!

This feels kind of disingenuous seeing that the Star Wars universe has often been led by women, even if they don’t feature heavily. Princess/General Leia, Mon Mothma and Queen Amidala were all very high up the hierarchy. And besides, after six movies with mostly dudes doing the sword-waving – all sexual innuendo intended – it’s nice to know that there are also lady warriors in a galaxy far far away.

Anyway, do as I have done, and watch this trailer over and over again. And then when you’re done, watch it just one more time.

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Nat Newman

Nat Newman is an award-winning writer of short stories, content, podcasts, feature articles, drunk text messages and, soon, a novella.

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