Every Star Wars movie has a subtitle that hints at what will happen in its story, and the franchise's first spin-off is no exception. We've seen a synopsis and a pair of trailers for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, but most of its plot is still a secret. Now director Gareth Edwards has explained that the newest Star Wars movie's title provides clues that point to what exactly Rogue One's tone and story will be.
During an interview with Empire, Gareth Edwards shined light on the movie's vague story by going into detail about its title. According to the Godzilla director, the Rogue One name means a lot more than some may expect, saying the phrase "has all these split, multiple meanings that made it feel like the right choice."
Gareth Edwards: ‘Rogue One’ is a military call sign to some extent.
For hardcore fans, Rogue One's major selling point is a bleaker and more grounded approach to the Galactic Civil War than the mythic feel of previous Star Wars movies. According to Edwards, Rogue One's militaristic theme extends beyond the characters' costumes and the movie's title.
Longtime Star Wars fans will also know that the Rogue One title is a shout-out to the Rogue Group fighter squadron, compromised of the surviving Red Group fighter pilots from the assault on the first Death Star. Despite the squadron's cult status, they were never given much credit. They did gain some popularity in the comic series, X-Wing: Rogue Squadron. (Since the "Rogue Group" was formed after the events of this new film, however, it's an obscure reference.)
All of this is a testament to Rogue One's unique take on the Star Wars universe, as it will show the Rebel Alliance's guerrilla efforts, which are all but glossed over in the main movies. For those who grew tired of the Skywalker family drama, Rogue One will be the battle-worn breath of fresh air they need.
Odd Rogue Out
Gareth Edwards: ...this is the first film that’s gone off-piste and is not part of the saga –- or the Anakin story — so it’s the ‘rogue’ one, you know?
As Gareth Edwards said, Rogue One will also be the first Star Wars movie that will not focus on the Skywalker family's feud. This is a good move for the franchise.
Star Wars for the most part is a gigantic soap opera set in space that all stems from Anakin Skywalker's bloodline. As iconic as some of the characters and events in the trilogies have become, sticking to this one set of people is not only narrow, but a waste of a vast setting filled with countless different stories that have little or nothing to do with the Jedi Order and the Sith.
Rogue One will address criticism that says Star Wars barely touches on the war aspect of the Galactic Civil War. It will still tie to Star Wars by showing how the original Death Star plans were stolen, thereby including Darth Vader in the story, but Rogue One has its priorities set far away from the Skywalkers' family problems. For the first time in a Star Wars movie, audiences will finally get a different perspective on a familiar conflict.
The Rogue Persona
Gareth Edwards: It’s kind of describing Felicity Jones’ character [Jyn Erso] as well in a similar way.
Little to nothing is known about Rogue One's secretive protagonist, Jyn Erso, just as Rey was a mystery in Star Wars: The Force Awakens before it hit cinemas.
Based on what was provided in promotional materials, Jyn Erso's past prior to the events of Rogue One paints her as a petty criminal with nothing to lose. She is also implied to be a loner who avoids socializing whenever possible, but her talents in thievery and forgery garner the Rebel Alliance's interest.
While her motivations and character arc are under wraps, Edwards' description of Jyn Erso suggest she may be the first anti-hero protagonist to grace a Star Wars movie. Unlike the heroes of the previous Star Wars movies, Rogue One's main characters appear to be forced into a suicide mission rather than nobly answering the call of the Force. Seeing how this kind of mentality will affect these characters' decisions in this very different Star Wars story will be something definitely worth waiting for, especially since the actions of Jyn and her compatriots may or may not affect the coming Star Wars sequels.
There is currently a lot of pressure on Rogue One's shoulders to impress after Star Wars: The Force Awakens broke box office records but felt a bit too familiar for some people. As entertaining as it was, The Force Awakens had more in common with a heartfelt fan tribute than it did with a proper sequel. Rogue One is riding on the promise of being the first major spin-off in the Star Wars saga while also, ironically, being the first proper war movie in a franchise with the word "war" in its title.
Rogue One has the potential to stand on its own legs, changing the franchise's path for the better, while staying true to Star Wars' roots. After seven movies that showed the fight between the Light and Dark sides of the Force, a Star Wars movie that focuses on another aspect of the central war is exciting. If Edwards' promises hold true, and maybe deliver even more than promised, Star Wars as a whole may be in for some awesome changes.
Check out the latest trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story below.