One of my biggest regrets of Celebration Anaheim is being unable to attend the Gareth Edwards panel on Sunday morning. As everyone who’s ever attended a large convention knows, the schedule is a fickle goddess, and I suffered her wrath when she decided to place the “standalone” panel opposite Tosche Station’s live podcast recording. Thankfully, Twitter is a thing that exists, so I was able to learn about the panel as it was happening as well as from recaps on other sites. We didn’t learn a whole lot about Rogue One, but it was more than I was expecting at this point in time.
- Pablo Hidalgo moderated the panel, which included Kathleen Kennedy, story group member Kiri Hart, Rogue One director Gareth Edwards, and John Knoll from ILM. (Josh Trank, director of the yet-to-be-named second standalone, was initially scheduled to appear but had to back out due to illness.)
- The standalone movies will be branded as “Anthology” films.
- Rogue One was described as “A band of resistance fighters unite for a daring mission to steal the Death Star plans.”
- The film is set prior to A New Hope.
- Felicity Jones plays a rebel soldier, and the film will focus on characters without the ability to use the Force. Edwards stated, “It comes down to a group of individuals who don’t have magical powers that have to somehow bring hope to the galaxy.” Like other war movies, it’s expected that we’ll see a large ensemble cast.
- John Knoll came up with the idea for Rogue One, and it was one of the first ideas Kathleen Kennedy approved after she took over Lucasfilm.
- A teaser produced by ILM showed the Death Star hovering over a forest moon, and included Obi-Wan’s dialogue about the Jedi as a way to emphasize their absence during this time period.
I’ve always been interested in Star Wars without the Jedi, so I’m still super excited about this movie. The pre-ANH time period doesn’t thrill me as much as something after Return of the Jedi would, but I imagine this era will make it easier to tie into Rebels and avoid conflicting with The Force Awakens. We’d heard rumors about a “stealing the Death Star plans” film, so the topic isn’t super surprising, but it’s nice to have the plot confirmed. And as we’ve seen this story multiple times in Legends, it’ll be nice to have a definitive canon version of the story, and very interesting to see if they mine any of the old ideas. (Kyle Katarn and the Battle of Toprawa, anyone?)
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed that Rogue One isn’t primarily about starpilots. However, with that title I’m still expecting to see some starfighter action, and some lead in or reference to Rogue Squadron. Both the Rogues and the Wraiths were as active on the ground as in the air, so it would make sense to see this new squadron step into the cockpit as well as fight on the ground. Besides, we all remember the crawl:
It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their 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.