Just like many other Star Wars fans out there I approached this latest installment with equal parts trepidation and feverish anticipation. After all I grew up with the original trilogy and it was rumored that Rogue One would be a throwback to those films. There were also whispers that this was an experiment where Disney would find out if a stand alone film not featuring main characters from the previous works would be well received.

In my humble opinion the motley crew introduced to us were obviously expendable (we know they’re not in episode IV) was very well done. The ride for once was real. Knowing it wasn’t Luke, Leia, or any of the other main characters we have come to know and love that it was quite possible they could be taken out at any time. That element alone along with all the familiarity we were given is well worth the price of admission. The stakes seemed more real here than in most films but again it was tempered with the knowledge that somehow we all know the rebels get the plans to the Death Star.

K-2SO and Jyn Erso
K-2SO and Jyn Erso

This movie is darker and feels more like Empire Strikes Back than any of the other films but does still give us some deadpan humor from an unlikely source. K-2SO is a reprogrammed Imperial droid and a gem in this film. Another point is they put the WAR back in Star Wars. Large scale space battles, a new antagonist along with some old ones that are also surprisingly well done. The death troopers here are not the inept storm troopers we had become accustomed to in the original trilogy.

Director Krennic and his Death Troopers
Director Krennic and his Death Troopers

Chirrut Imwe played by Donnie Yen and Saw Gerrera played by Forrest Whitaker were interesting characters that I would have liked to see more of, and that’s really my only bone to pick with this film. You are transported to so many different places and introduced to so many different new characters that you don’t truly get a feel for some of them. Their motivations are easy to understand, the pace is slow in the beginning but when it picks up you’re taken for a nice action packed ride with enough fuel to kick your emotions into gear as well as your adrenaline.

Donnie Yen as Chirrut Imwe
Donnie Yen as Chirrut Imwe

At the very least if it’s true that this was a test run it should bode well for the releases of the stand alone Boba Fett and Han Solo films as well as more material they have the ability to glean from the EU. Since Disney owns the rights they can elevate any of the “legends” to canon if they think it will play well and I think it’s only a matter of time before they do so. Be patient and keep hope alive.

Forrest Whitaker as Saw Gerrera
Forrest Whitaker as Saw Gerrera

This film delivers on everything fans love about Star Wars surprisingly without and element most thought it could not survive without…Jedi. It’s a weird phenomenon that they are heavily hinted at, and there’s even a character who viewers will think could be but alas…is not. Although we only get it briefly I’ll sign off with this films crowning jewel.

Vader!!!!
Vader!!!!

We finally get to see Vader be Vader! I won’t go into detail because my intention is not to spoil anything if you have not seen the film, but if you are in any way a Vader fan go see this film! It’s not overt or all through the film but when he’s there you feel it. We finally get a glimpse of what the fuss is all about and not just in the theoretical sense. In the original trilogy Vader was an ominous presence and his reputation preceded him. If all the other things I mentioned did not peek your interest go see this film to see why Vader was feared.

If any Disney writers are listening I hope you all make another stand alone film featuring Vader after order 66 to detail how he hunted down Jedi who survived the first purge. I have not heard any other Star Wars fan who would not be willing to camp out and cosplay while waiting to see that film! What do you think. Let me know your thoughts on this film and other Star Wars speculation. May the force be with you!