A few weeks ago, I asked my H/B compatriot, Ronni, if he had seen Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, being that it made it’s way to the number-one spot in my top three Star Wars movies. He replied, simply, “I haven’t seen it. But I already know what happens.”
I couldn’t really blame him for feeling that way, but I also can’t help but feel like he is truly missing out. Especially considering how amazing Rogue One was both times I saw it. Even some long time Star Wars fans, who cling to Empire Strikes Back with a remarkably cunty vice grip, couldn’t argue against its brilliance. But while that is true in most cases, some people, including Ronni, feel as though they don’t need to have the same experience, because they already possess the knowledge of what’s to come.
Expanding on events that have already transpired only opens the door to more confusion. Alternatively, expansion also provides closure.
As fair an assessment as that may be, these circumstances are not the same in every instance. For example, one can argue that Clone Wars, the late Cartoon Network series, didn’t really need to happen. But the same argument can be made in its favor, being that there were some more-than-necessary elaborations:
Clone Wars shed light on General Grievous, who didn’t get nearly enough screen time in Revenge of the Sith… but despite being a prime enemy in the series, we know what happens to him.
A driving force of the war and the series itself, Clone Wars did them justice where Attack of the Clones spent that time showing us Anakin and Padmé rolling around in grass and riding Shaak beasts. Ugh. Anyway, being my favorite part of the series, the Clones expressed uniformity and individuality with a graceful maturity that was unmatched by even the series’ Jedi. But, again, we know what happens with them eventually. Fuck you, Cody.
The Phantom Menace himself, Darth Maul, who we were led to believe had met his untimely demise at the hands of a young Obi-Wan Kenobi in Episode I, had his resurgence thanks to Clone Wars. His fate remains to be seen in Rebels.
Savage Opress, the all-around badass fan-favorite. The older brother and equally menacing counterpart to Maul makes his stunning debut in the series… but we know what happens to him.
Anakin’s apprentice, Ahsoka Tano, who is central to the entire plot, is a catalyst for his struggle with emotion, and his inevitable fall to the Dark Side. His story as a Jedi Knight and war general is beautifully told through Ahsoka’s experiences as his Jedi Padawan. Her fate is still very much up in the air, thanks to Rebels.
My point is, while all of these factors play an important role in making the Star Wars universe more full and immersive, we know what happens to almost all of them. And it’s a tad cruel to make me love these characters only for 90 percent of them to be killed or exiled. I’m sure that I’m not the only one who feels like it wasn’t entirely necessary, and if it was, we didn’t need five seasons of up to 22 episodes per season. Regardless, how I feel about the ever-present filler is immaterial. Clone Wars did what it set out to do, which was answer a slew of questions, but because of the intimidating number of episodes, and the events that transpire in those 100+ episodes, the opposite can also be said, which is where Rogue One differs.
Rogue One was phenomenal and everything about it was absolutely necessary.
Everyone already knows why Rogue One was necessary; it was meant to answer (arguably) one of the biggest plot holes in movie history: how a galactic space station like The Death Star, with the power to destroy entire planetary systems, had one, single, relatively easily accessible, killswitch.
Rogue One does just that, beautifully. The finale, appropriate to say the least, did a wonderful job of sealing it off right then and there. Dispelling any speculation or confusion before it even had a chance to surface. Rogue One does a perfect job of providing answers and avoiding further questions, which solidifies it’s place in the canon timeline, and it’s necessity overall.
However, none of that changes the fact that we know the fate of the Jedi Order, the Death Star, the Empire, etc. and because of this, a lot of people find it difficult to care for what happens in between. At the end of the day, it’s all a matter of just how much of a Star Wars fan you are. There is no right or wrong answer. A casual fan of the franchise, like Ronni, might not see the necessity in anything beyond the numbered movies, or even the original trilogy. Whereas a more involved fan of Star Wars, such as myself, loves to know the inner machinations of the ever-expanding Star Wars universe.
Basically, what I’m saying is, Ronni, it’s cool if you don’t see Rogue One, but go fucking see Rogue One.