ByElise Jost, writer at
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Elise Jost

When George Lucas first made A New Hope in 1977, could he have expected the saga would lay the groundwork for such a rich and never-ending story? After the disaster of the infamous prequels, has impressed Star Wars fans worldwide with Episode VII — The Force Awakens, and looks like it's onto another winner with the freshly released .

Though it's no , the prequel's opening weekend of $290.5 million worldwide puts it ahead of box office hitters such as Suicide Squad and Deadpool, and makes it the second best opening of the Star Wars franchise. The critics are loving it, and fans are applauding the studio's move to fill in the gaps in the Star Wars story as we know it. Finally, the true heroes of the Rebellion have been acknowledged!

'Rogue One' Vs 'The Force Awakens,' Jyn Vs Rey: Did 'Rogue One' Take Better Risks?

Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso in 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' [Credit: Disney]
Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso in 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' [Credit: Disney]

Obviously, fans are comparing the latest episode and the prequel, which chronologically takes place right before the events of . While The Force Awakens won the jackpot at the box office, it seems like the consensus is leaning toward Rogue One for two main reasons: the first one being the heroine, with audiences feeling like Rey just had it too easy on her hero's journey.

As soon as the story kicked into gear, everything just seemed to work for Rey. The ship she fled Jakku on just so happened to be the Millennium Falcon, and her uncanny familiarity with the ways of the Force saved her from the trickiest situations. On the other hand, Rogue One's Jyn Erso is an older and perhaps less naive character, whose first reaction is to turn her back on the adventure that awaits her because she doesn't really believe in a cause. Her mission is cruel and makes for countless victims, which is what makes her commitment so honorable.

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The second reason is that while Episode VII proved highly enjoyable to most, many feel it was the kind of movie that provided fan service and didn't stand enough on its own. There were plenty of references and hints to other parts of the saga, but it didn't dare go further in establishing a new era for Star Wars.

On the other hand, the story of , though it still ties in perfectly with the rest, truly starts a new chapter in the Star Wars saga. The main characters are the underdogs we've never heard of, yet their action has had incredible significance on the events unfolding in the future. They've got blood on their hands, too, but enough faith to reach their goal and eventually change the fate of the galaxy. It's much more refreshing than Disney's first new opus because the movie takes more risks — and they definitely paid off.

What Do We Expect From Star Wars?

'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' [Credit: Disney]
'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' [Credit: Disney]

Considering that reviews seem to praise Rogue One more than The Force Awakens, then, it's clearly ironic that the movie had to endure the threat of a boycott by fans claiming the movie was pushing an "anti-white agenda." Disney's CEO even had to come to the rescue and insist that there was nothing political about the whole thing, but when you've seen Rogue One, its political undertones are harder to avoid than a AT-ACT on the horizon.

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And that's definitely not a bad thing. Star Wars is essentially about two regimes, representing two opposing ideologies, fighting over control of the galaxy. One is the light side and one is dark, and wait — it's got "wars" in the title. How much more political could it get? The series has always been rife with metaphors, but after The Force Awakens, Rogue One is a great step forward with an even stronger message. We can only hope Disney's next creations will continue to push in that direction.

I'd be curious to know the proportion of Star Wars fans who watch the movies solely as a spaceships-and-lightsabers guilty pleasure. I'd like to believe most of us value its lessons on friendship, family, and hope.

'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' [Credit: Disney]
'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' [Credit: Disney]

Did you enjoy Rogue One? Do you think Star Wars carries a political message, or do you watch it just for the space battles?


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