Why Rogue One Is Star Wars’ Most Inspirational Modern Movie

Rogue One‘s theatrical re-release gives fans another chance to experience the most inspirational film in modern Star Wars canon. Never mind its tragic ending.

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In anticipation of the premiere of the Disney+ series Andor, Rogue One will return to select IMAX theaters beginning Aug. 26. It’s a perfect opportunity for everyone to reacquaint themselves with Star Wars‘ first standalone film in all its big-screen glory.

Disney+’s Andor Series Is a Prequel to Rogue One

Diego Luna as Cassian Andor in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Lucasfilm)
Diego Luna as Cassian Andor in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Lucasfilm)

Andor is a prequel to the 2016 film Rogue One, which itself is a prequel to Star Wars: A New Hope.

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Rogue One takes its premise from events referenced in the opening crawl of A New Hope, which mentions the Rebellion’s first victory against the “evil Galactic Empire”: “During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the Death Star, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet.”

The story of that band of Rebel spies is as straightforward as it is deceivingly simple. For Star Wars fans, it’s clear from the beginning that Rogue One will end on a tragic note. That’s likely foreseeable to anyone familiar with the “impossible mission” narrative.

Jyn Erso Leads a Doomed Mission to Steal the Death Star Plans

Diego Luna as Cassian Andor and Felicity Jones as Jyn Ero in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Lucasfilm)
Diego Luna as Cassian Andor and Felicity Jones as Jyn Ero in Rogue One (Lucasfilm)

In Rogue One, there are seven Rebels — none of whom could be considered exactly “reputable” — who unite to infiltrate the Empire’s stronghold. The group is led by Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), the daughter of the Death Star’s chief architect. The others are a blind swordsman who believes in the Force; a fierce mercenary; an Imperial pilot who defects to the Rebel cause; a former Imperial droid reprogrammed to serve the Rebellion; and Cassian Andor, a Rebel intelligence officer who’s been part of the Good Fight since childhood.

The only thing these disparate characters have in common is the Rebellion. So, when Jyn proposes to steal the Death Star plans, they’re all in, despite the doubts of Rebel leadership.

It’s sacrifice for the cause that unites this ragtag group, and places its members aboard a stolen Imperial ship dubbed Rogue One.

Rogue One’s Story Recalls World War II ‘Mission Movies’

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Lucasfilm)
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Lucasfilm)

The film’s narrative immediately recalls the colorful World War II “men-on-a-mission” movies of the 1960s and ’70s. Spectacles like The Dirty Dozen, The Guns of Navarone and A Bridge Too Far clearly inspired Rogue One‘s creators.

In those classics, soldiers penetrate enemy lines to take down a garrison, blow up a bridge or assassinate a general. The assignments weren’t typically labeled as “suicide missions,” but the odds weren’t in the heroes’ favor. But undertaking these assignments for the greater good proved to be a calling, even if the soldiers weren’t model citizens.

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“I think it may actually be one of the best stories to start off the new standalone movies,” Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy said of Rogue One. “It seemed to fit very much into the direction and some of the ideas that we’d been kicking around. And the fact that this sort of falls into the genre of a World War II-type story, a heist movie.”

The best of those movies stir an inspiring feeling in audiences that become invested in the story of a hero who charges toward certain doom to do what must be done.

Rogue One’s Rebels Make the Ultimate Sacrifice

Diego Luna as Cassian Andor and Felicity Jones as Jyn Ero in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Lucasfilm)
Diego Luna as Cassian Andor and Felicity Jones as Jyn Ero in Rogue One (Lucasfilm)

Rogue One’s final act places the heroes in that position as they blast their way toward a predestined fate. However, the sacrifice they’ve made to complete their mission is a proud and uplifting one.

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Because this is Star Wars, it’s all gorgeous and dramatic, naturally. Two Rebels embracing as they’re engulfed by a fiery blast might be one of most operatic moments in the franchise. It ranks with the Empire Strikes Back scene when Leia declares her love for Han Solo, moments before he’s frozen in carbonite.

“We have hope. Rebellions are built on hope,” Jyn Erso says as she rallies her crew, echoing Cassian Andor’s earlier remarks.

A future built on a foundation of hope is an inspiring idea. And one that undoubtedly will be a pivotal theme of Andor.


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