Having been a fan of the Star Wars franchise since I was a small child, each new movie (except those three that shall not be named) brings fresh excitement. Rogue One lived up to the hype and filled in some blanks that I’ve been holding since I was seven.
by Jen Schlameuss-Perry
Caution: Contains massive spoilers.
Things to consider
As with all the other Star Wars films, Rogue One is essentially a bloodless war movie–Storm Troopers uniforms never leak, and blasters just make minor burn marks when they kill a guy. So, although there is a lot of shooting and fighting, it’s not gory. That being said, I couldn’t find a darn thing that was objectionable in this movie. There’s one scene where Darth Vader is shown a little outside of his black costume that might be a little uncomfortable for very sensitive children, but I think most wouldn’t even bat an eye. No bad language that I caught, no sexual situations, just good, clean Star Wars.
Rogue One tells the backstory of how the Rebel Alliance became aware of the fatal flaw built into the Death Star and was able to obtain the plans so that they could blow it out of the sky. It introduces us to all the people we didn’t know we needed to know before we met Luke, Leia, Han and Chewie. They are wonderful characters who set the foundation for the stories we all know and love.
My favorite part of the movie was, by far, the explanation of why in the name of The Force the Empire’s most important piece of equipment–a game changing, world destroying weapon that took years to build–is so ridiculously easy to destroy. It was a relief to my seven-year-old inner child that the Empire wasn’t that stupid, and that it was actually built in on purpose.
Jyn Erso, the movie’s main character, and daughter of Galen (major scientist who helped build the Death Star) and Lyra (very feisty lady who has a deep belief in the Force, and no love for the Empire) watches her mother get murdered, and her father abducted leaving her to be raised by a rebel who is kind of a loose cannon. She leaves the rebellion and just tries to survive until she is engaged by the Alliance. They hope to use her to get to Saw Gerrera (the loose cannon) and eventually to her father. She finds out that her dad was a good guy and deliberately built the weakness into the Death Star so that the rebels could destroy it. He sends a message through a dissident Imperial pilot with this info.
She is so glad that her dad wasn’t a traitor to the galaxy that her hope in the success of the completion of her father’s deception of the Empire renews the hope of the other rebels who, with great sacrifice, do accomplish their mission. Where they leave off, we pick up in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.
Because Rogue One is a throw back story to one we began to know almost forty years ago and some of the critical characters are either dead or really old, there was some unfortunate CG that kind of detracted from the movie a little.
As the movie ended, I asked my 13 year old what he thought. He was in horror and disbelief that every main character died. He couldn’t believe that a movie would kill off everyone they made you care about. That might be hard for some kids. But, once he had a snack, he was over it, so there’s that.
Some Themes for Discussion
- Personal sacrifice and hope were constant themes throughout the movie. Hope was actually fueled by the sacrifices made by the rebels. How is the hope of our faith fueled by sacrifice? How did Jesus’ sacrifice bring us hope? How do the sacrifices that you make for others bring them hope?
- All villains have a fatal flaw–many heroes do, too. The flaws are often self-created or inflicted. Besides the flaw in the Death Star, what flaws did you see in the villains in this movie?
- The Rebels didn’t always do the right thing–sometimes they killed people because it was the most convenient option. Sometimes they lied and betrayed others. And they were the good guys! What do you think of that? What changes did you see in them as the movie went on? Were their decisions ultimately good? Did they redeem themselves?
- There were many moments of bravery during the movie. Who was the bravest character, or what were some very brave things you saw?
- The Star Wars franchise has always included women in positions of authority and strong female role models. We saw the head of the Rebel Alliance, Jyn, and fighter pilots integrated with the male rebels. What do you appreciate most about the women in this movie?
- Galen was put in an impossible situation–if he refused to go with the Empire to build the Death Star, they would have managed it without him anyway, hunted down and killed his daughter, and killed him. What do you think about his solution to this impossible problem? Do you think he did the right thing? What would you do in that situation?