*Warning: There's a disturbance of Rogue One spoilers in this post, read on at your own risk*
The Force is the element many love the most within Star Wars mythology. It's understandable; the spiritually intriguing, metaphysical power is a great plot device, capable of turning mere mortals into Jedi or Sith Lords. But it can also become a safety net, acting as an invisible, protective barrier, saving characters from true peril.
The safety net works in the main saga, adding to the feeling of fantasy, one of the reasons the franchise is one of the most enjoyable forms of cinematic escapism. But the recent anthology, Rogue One, is different; there is no force, no Jedi, and barely any belief in a higher power — and it works.
Gareth Edwards's spin-off needed to feel different to function as a standalone. Its biggest distinction from the main saga is the lack of Jedi, with no hint of brown robes, Jedi Councils or Jedi mind tricks. However, it turns out the Force was strong with the original draft of the script, with a key character pencilled in as a Jedi Knight.
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'Rogue One's' Rejection Of The Jedi
In an interview with Yahoo! Movies, Rogue One scriptwriter Chris Weitz revealed that Jyn Erso's (Felicity Jones) mother, Lyra Erso (Valene Kane), was initially going to be a master of the light side. He said:
"For a long time in the story, there were Jedi around, even if only in the background. Jyn’s mother was a Jedi."
Fortunately, Weitz and the rest of the creative team saw the error of their ways. #RogueOne was a chance to remove the stabilizers, to roam free in the Star Wars wilderness, away from the fantastical attributes of the Force. He added:
"We thought that it would be more interesting to have a story without Force powers, without lightsabers. We could explore a period of broken faith, a galaxy without hope."
That decision was a good one; in the final draft, Lyra Erso was a believer in something. After all, she did give #JynErso the kyber crystal necklace — these are the crystals that form the main component of a lightsaber — and told Jyn to "trust the Force."
But aside from the allusion to her belief, there was no hint Lyra was Force-sensitive herself, and her inclusion in the Rogue One story was cut brutally short (in a sign of things to come) when she was killed after attempting to shoot Orson Krennic in the opening scene.
Why The Lack Of Force Is Essential In 'Rogue One'
The lack of the Force only enhanced the highs and lows in the story. Chirrut Îmwe (Donnie Yen) was the only member of the Rogue teams of rebels who truly believed in the power of the Force, and was essentially mocked for his faith. That only added to the sweet taste of "I told you so" when Chrriut bravely stands by his belief, allowing him to complete his part of the mission shortly before his sad demise.
It also served the plot well; this was a suicide mission, after all, and without Jedi around to save the day, the events were not only humanized, but made all the more authentic. Rogue One was effectively the first #StarWars film to truly depict the gruesome reality of war for that very reason.
Then there's #DarthVader. Without wanting to exaggerate, the Sith Lord's appearance was one of the most breathtaking cameos in cinema. This was the darkest ever portrayal of the iconic villain, his ruthless butchering of rebels highlighting just how much of a terrifying figure he is. Vader's impact was increased by seeing him through the eyes of mortals; with no Jedi to balance the dark side, Vader's evil ways felt suffocating and inescapable.
Rogue One has rightly been praised for defying expectations. What's even more impressive is that early drafts of the script appear to have fit into the usual format, not only with the inclusion of Jedi, but also omitting the tragic death of the lead characters — an outcome that felt essential to the story.
This time, however, the creative team took a risk, tore up the rule book, and created a truly innovative, fresh take on the Star Wars franchise. With all things considered, the Jedi can happily wait for Star Wars 8.
Are you glad there were no Jedi in Rogue One?
(Source: Yahoo! Movies)