‘Rogue One’ puts the war in ‘Star Wars’

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Karen Kunawicz

Karen Kunawicz

I guess for all the tailspins, challenges, curveballs, fighting and distressing news happening in 2016, there’s a little comfort knowing we at least wrap up the year with a Star Wars film that is making fans happy

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Rogue One is that war film set in the Star Wars universe; the events which unfold here lead us right up to “A New Hope” a.k.a. the first Star Wars film made a.k.a. Episode IV. You’ll find lots of scenes that remind you of World War 2 movies. And since most of the characters are soldiers and fighters (they don’t wield the force or have super abilities), you also get to see a level of heroism you find in films of that genre.

The cast and characters who make up Rogue One’s band of war heroes is possibly the best thing about the film (apart from it being a Star Wars story, of course).

In keeping with the tradition of having a strong female character as a lead in an ensemble, Rogue One has Felicity Jones (The Theory Of Everything, A Monster Calls) as Jyn Erso. Jyn is a survivor-turned-soldier, she is also the daughter of Galen Erso—as scientist whose know-how was used to build the Death Star.

Then there’s my personal favorite, Diego Luna as Cassian Andor who was all over this movie—I wanted to go to the bathroom mid way but couldn’t because I didn’t want to miss any scenes with him in it. Sorry, Harrison Ford and Oscar Isaac, but finally, I’ve found my pilot crush in the franchise.

Forrest Whitaker is resistance fighter Saw Gerrera, Donnie Yen (Ip Man) is Chirrut Imwe—a blind warrior and believer in the “the force,” Alan Tudyk (Serenity/Firefly) is the badass and witty droid K2SO, Riz Ahmed is former Empire pilot turned rebel Bodhi Rook and Wen Jiang as mercenary with a big gun, Baze Malbus.

The ‘Rogue One’ cast —diverse and with cult class red

The ‘Rogue One’ cast —diverse and with cult class red

Notice how diverse this band is: you have African-American, Chinese, American, English, Mexican and Pakistani. As a bonus, at lot of these actors have a history of appearing in independent films and cult cinema classics.

Then you add Danish national treasure, Mads Mikkelsen who plays Galen Erso. Mikkelsen has had quite the last quarter by the way—we just saw him in Marvel’s Dr. Strange as Kaecilius.

Now going back to the wonder that is Diego Luna, I loved seeing him around so much, I think there should be more Mexicans in Star Wars. Starting with his Y Tu Mama Tambien co-star Gael Garcia Bernal (currently doing well in Mozart in the Jungle), then maybe adding Salma Hayek and Danny. I would also be thrilled to see what Guillermo del Toro would do in Star Wars.

If Santa Claus, the Christmas carols and the madness at the malls didn’t bring the Christmas spirit for you, Rogue One may be the holiday message of hope you were looking for.

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