Today, we’re playing with Rogue One. Let’s throw down the challenge. You’ve got 8 choices. You can make any 8 things happen in Rogue One. What will they be? Here’s the choices I came up with. I’d love to hear your ideas in a comment.
- Darth Vader Is Sick of this “Technological terror you have constructed”
“Do not be too proud of this technological terror you have constructed,” said Darth Vader in A New Hope. “The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the force.”
Grand Moff Tarkin, who actually came up with the idea for the Death Star in the first place, got fed up with Darth Vader’s attitude in A New Hope. “Release him,” he ordered. And Vader reluctantly let his victim go, the way my cat lets a mouse go when I catch it trying to eat one on top of my writing desk.
Vader hated the Death Star. Tarkin loved it.
In Rogue One, let’s see these two Imperial powerhouses go at it. Darth Vader couldn’t give two shakes of a rat’s ass about the Death Star. He wants the Force to be the ultimate power in the universe, not some massive space station that was possibly built by NASA. Tarkin wants to see this Microsoft-sponsored giant orb of death blow up planets in the name of… science? Make them go at it.
A fight between Grand Moff Tarkin and Darth Vader would be amazing. It would be like Kylo Ren’s scuffs with General Hux in The Force Awakens.
In Rogue One, Grand Moff Tarkin and Darth Vader should go for each other’s throat, Tarkin wanting to see the Death Star built, Vader wanting nothing to do with it and instead wanting the force to rule the galaxy. Maybe he gets upset with everyone’s “lack of faith” and force-chokes those Imperial scum.
- Dear God, please make Rogue One as dark as it looks
Star Wars movies have a history of looking dark at the outset and then turning out cheesy. Episode I, anyone?
But Star Wars movies are arguably at their best when they’re dark. Empire Strikes Back is perhaps the best of all Star Wars movies. Force Awakens has its best moment when Han Solo dies. And it’s the darker moments of the prequels that standout too (Qui Gonn Jinn’s death; Anakin succumbing to the dark side).
Rogue One looks like it will be dark. The entire premise is on the gloomy side. Jyn Erso’s father has seemingly abandoned her. She’s turned to crime. Her dad’s then been instrumental in the construction of the Death Star. She will probably die. The entire set-up for Rogue One is dark. And hopefully it will be realistic, Empire-style dark, not cheesy Phantom Menace-style dark.
You might think Disney would be more likely to create a cheerful flick. After all, Mickey Mouse is a pretty chipper critter. But many of Disney’s best flicks are dark at heart. The death of Bambi’s mother shocked the world. Scar throwing Mufasa off the cliff was a real downer. And don’t even get me started on The Black Hole.
Disney do dark surprisingly well for a company famous for sugary sweetness. And Rogue One could very well be one of their darkest yet.
But just how exactly do you make Rogue One truly dark? Well, Jyn Erso has to die. But we’ve already said that. The Death Star’s planet-blower-upper-gun will probably need some testing. But the true darkness of the movie lies in the construction of the Death Star. And that construction should be in the style of “Man is once again creating hideous scientific weapons that will probably blow up the world”.
With the current political climate, people around the world are already fearing World War III and the nuclear war. The Death Star could easily feed into that war by showcasing the inevitability of mankind destroying itself. And that would be dark, even for Disney.
- Make The Force A Faith
There are obviously strong religious overtones with the Force. The Force is entirely based around the idea of the Life Force, which is the energy of life in various religions and which has many names, most famous Qi and Chi.
Star Wars has already delved into the spiritual significance of The Force. In Empire Strikes Back, Yoda shares his philosophies—most of which are based on Zen Buddhism. Ideas like, “unlearning what you have learned” and the idea of oneness are central to Zen Buddhist philosophy.
But The Force works more like magic than faith. There are only a few characters in the universe who know about and believe in the force. Only the Jedi actually practice any sort of spiritual practice. And unlike al world religions and spiritualities, there are no “believers”, there are just those who absolutely know the force to be real and those who have no clue about it.
Make the Force a true religion or spirituality. Have characters who are not force sensitive but who believe it, and make it a cause of strive around the world, with believers and non-believers fighting it out.
Part of this is already coming true. We know that Chirrut Imwe is not force sensitive but does believe in the Force, and in the trailers we see him trying to make other people believe.
Take it further. Create wars between believers and non-believers, just as there are wars around religions in the real world. This would make The Force far more dramatic than it has ever been before.
- Make Jyn Erso A True Anti-Hero
You’ve probably watched all the Rogue One trailers, what, twenty times each? So you already know precisely what happens in them. One of the most important scenes in all the trailers comes when Jrn Erso takes off her “shackles”.
Jyn Erso walks into the Rebel command base. “Can you be trusted without your shackles?” says the Rebel commander. It’s a standout moment in the second trailer. Clearly, this suggests that Jyn Erso is not your typical Star Wars hero character. She’s not goody-two-shoes Luke or Rey. She’s someone different; unique. Possibly an anti-hero or at least a reluctant one.
Disney, here’s an idea, give us what we want: a true anti-hero. Star Wars has never had one. Sure, there’s a reluctant hero in Han Solo. There’s the atypical hero in Luke Skywalker. There’s even the tragic, fallen-hero Anakin Skywalker. But an anti-hero? That would be new.
It’s already obvious how they could pull this off, too. We know that Jyn Erso is a criminal who must be a master thief because she has to steal the Death Star plans. Why not go further and make her a bounty hunter-type character. Fans already love IG88, Boba Fett and the rest. Make her that type of fiercely independent character. It would be a breath of fresh air in the Star Wars universe. But is such a move safe-enough for Disney? Or will Jyn Erso just be a typical run-of-the-mill hero? Leave a comment.
- Make Rogue One’s battles land-based
99% of the time, when you remember the battles from the Star Wars movies you remember the space battles.
Sure, there have been some good land battles too. The Battle of Endor was like World War I fought between robots and cuddly little creatures that I want to put in a cage and feed carrots too (love you, Wicket). And the end battle from Episode II wasn’t bad either. And let’s not forget Empire Strikes Back’s ATAT attack.
But there has never been a gritty, realistic land battle in any Star Wars movie. We’re talking a land battle on the level of The Battle Of Palanor Fields done Star Wars-style. Just replace the horses with speeders; replace the Oliphant with ATSTs; etc. And put Marlon Brando in it; good Marlon Brando; Brando from Apocalypse Now.
Okay, so Marlon Brando might not make it. But a realistic military-style land-based battle in Rogue One would be amazing. And the trailer already nods to it. The scene with the ATATs fires up our imaginations and makes us wonder what a military flick in the Star Wars universe would be like.
- Make Jyn Erso Die In Rogue One
Does Jyn Erso die in Rogue One? She should. And no, not because I dislike her. I genuinely believe Jyn Erso is one of the most intriguing movie characters of the year and one of the most promising of all Star Wars characters. But she has to die. Sorry. Forgive me. She just does.
Jyn Erso has to die in Rogue One because everything about the trailer feels like a sci-fi tragedy. From the choir music at the beginning of the trailers to the impending sense of doom that the Death Star creates. Everything about the Rogue One trailers feels like a tragedy. And it can only truly be a tragedy if Jyn Erso dies.
Killing strong characters is one of the hallmarks of great writing. Think about it. How many drab movie series desperately cling on to one good character. We’re on what, two million James Bond movies now?
Great writers know that nothing is more dramatic than killing a great character. Game Of Thrones does this masterfully. Just think about the number of great characters that have died in J.R.R Martin’s series. And we’ll remember every single one of them.
Death is something Star Wars does well. Obi Wan Kenobi’s sacrifice. Darth Maul’s “he’ so cool he’s… dead?!” and Yoda’s “There is ano…ther…Sky…wal…kerrrrrrr…”. Jyn Erso could give us another tragic Star Wars death, and her entire tragi-story seems to lead up to it already.
- Galen Erso has to watch Jyn die
If you actually follow the plot of Rogue One there’s a level of logic here.
We know that Jyn Erso will probably die because she’s not in A New Hope or any subsequent movie. We know that Jyn Erso’s mission is to steal the Death Star plans so it can be destroyed. And we know that Jyn Erso’s father is responsible for the Death Star.
Writers like to take things full-circle. If you introduce something early in a story, it has to be made relevant and concluded later on. One thing that we know happens early in the story is that Galen Erso makes a choice to protect Jyn. We know that because in the trailer Galen Erso says, “Anything I do I do to protect you”.
To bring that point full-circle, and to conclude it, Galen Eros either has to protect Jyn or fail to do so. And failing to do so means she has to die. For dramatic effect, she has to die while he watches.
- Jyn Erso has to end up a hero
If there’s one thing that has to happen in Rogue One, it’s that Jyn Erso has to end up an absolute hero.
One of the most important aspects of any story is that its protagonist go full-circle. Darth Vader has to start off as an innocent, powerless boy in order to become the opposite, an evil, powerful man. That’s just good character development. A character must go full-circle.
Jyn Erso starts off as a criminal. The first time we see her in the trailer, Jyn Erso is a criminal whom the rebellion does not trust. She then has to team up with a band of misfits, of which she is the leader. And before the end she will make those misfits trust her absolutely and will die a hero. That’s the only way in which her story can go full circle. If she starts off a criminal she has to end up a hero (kinda the opposite of Michael Corleone’s development in The Godfather).
Probably the best way for Jyn Erso’s story to end is for her to sacrifice herself in order to finally capture the Death Star plans. Why? Because self-sacrifice is the ultimate act of the true hero. Think about your favorite hero. Odds are they sacrifice themselves in some way.
Luke Skywalker essentially sacrifices himself by throwing away his lightsaber at the end of Return of the Jedi. Has it not been for Darth Vader, Luke would have sacrificed his life to fight for what he believes in.
How about Frodo Baggins? At the end of Return of the King, Frodo is given a choice. Walk away with the ring, which is offering absolute power, or walk away a humble hobbit but one that has saved the world. Frodo sacrifices his own power in order to save the world.
The same rule applies to religions too. Buddha. Jesus. Self-sacrifice is their greatest act.
Jyn Erso ha to self sacrifice in order to become a hero. And when she does so, she will have gone from drop-out criminal to the leader of a band of misfits to the hero who saves the galaxy.
And those are my top 8 ideas for Rogue One. What do you think? What would you like to see happen in Rogue One? Leave a comment.