Posted on October 18 2016
Good news! While you were off trying to get on with life it seems they made a new Star Wars movie. We’ve had a few trailers now and its due in October and we are thrilled.
Rogue One has taken the Gaiden/side-story route of revisiting the franchise, opening up the official canon just as the fanfic writers did. Those original Wedge Antilles fanfics became novels and we got the extended universe out of it; now Star Wars is delivering for the fans with a bit of Rebel Alliance era-ish Dogfighting movie. Wedge would be so proud.
While we definitely recommend dropping everything in the world to watch the trailers and teasers, there’s a bit more fun going around. It seems everything so far has been taken as a bit of a puzzle, so we had a look around to see how the geniuses are getting on.
We’ve put together our review, below.
Let’s get this one out the way first. We don’t think Darth Plagueis is actually new big-baddie Sith Snoke. Several theories depend on this so we’ll get it cleared up now.
This is one for you extended universe fans who are hoping for some confirmation that your favourite book is still full canon. Unfortunately, I don’t think we’re seeing that here. The theory goes that big bad supreme Snoke of Force Awakens is in fact previous big-bad’s mentor back in pre-Jar Jar Binks times. Darth “Plagueis” (I’m sure he’s had quite enough jokes about his name) was the apparently legendary dead figure Senator Palpatine recounted to seduce Anakin Skywalker to part-time child-murdering with his self-built buddy C-3PO. He was an immensely gifted force user able to extend life forever, or even to restore it; something that would one day strike a terrible need with the young Darth Vader when his murderer sought a new apprentice.
Why do we not think it’s going to happen? Honestly it’s difficult to imagine reversing an event that elevates an established figure like the Emperor. Darth Plagueis worked because it was focusing entirely on this tiny stage which creates a great character portrait of the young Sith Lord. We see the pieces and events that fall into place to perfectly create a Galactic Emperor. We think it is an example of something that can be salvaged to live as complimentary to the movies, but only if its main resolution isn’t revealed as a trick.
Why are people insisting on this for Rogue One? In the trailer, a hooded figure stands next to a large gas filled tank. Keen eyed fans have made the connection to the Bacta tank, floating hospital bed for Vader and Luke on occasion. These medical wonders are known to heal wounds so could they not possibly be used for hibernation or a medical coma? Why not Darth Plagueis? We know Plagueis was a master of life and undeath, could he not one day awaken (in Rogue One) and go on to become Supreme Leader Snoke (In Force Awakens)? Plagueis was basically a god among force users, able to create life simply using the force (he may be the reason Anakin’s mother got pregnant) and claiming to hold the secret to resurrection, a useful skill for a man apparently obsessed with the legacy of Darth Vader.
We don’t buy it for the above reasons but we are not beyond the idea it could happen. The identity and history of Snoke is driving us wild and this is being a possibility is really starting to get to us!
Phasma and Rey
Next we have Captain Phasma, the militarised Boba Fett of the new universe. Clad in golden armour and towering over everyone in the movie not being transmitted on a projector, Phasma was a major hype figure ahead of Force Awakens. Of course when the movie came along she didn’t seem to get to do much (so much like her inspiration in that way) but she is clearly main cast level.
With Rogue One set before the original trilogy, the opportunity is rife to fill in the back story of characters like Phasma. What We Know about “Jyn Erso” is that she’s highly competent, a bit of a loner and a born fighter; what we know about the movie’s theme is that there will be falls to the dark side. Could Rogue One be the beginning of a dark path that leads to Force Awakens? Could our plucky rebel herone one day serve the Sith?
Wishful thinking, but we think a second theory is more likely: Jyn Erso is Rey’s mother. The brilliant but unstable Jyn Erso, hero of the rebellion following Rogue One, would definitely leave her daughter with fellow hero Luke Skywalker when the time came. The parallels with Luke go further, from shared history with the death star to their early ambivalence of the Empire, making a possible convergence on the mentorship of Rey particualrily delicious. It also anchors Rogue One with a family connection we didn’t know we needed, giving us another exploration of legacy in the Star Wars universe with a twist more interesting than simple saviour and damnation.
What’s the evidence? Admittedly light. This one rests mostly on feeling the family theme will carry through all Star Wars movies, as well as continuing the trend of lead male and female of each movie series being blood relations while keeping it completely open for them to run into each other some day. It also isn’t outside the realm of possibility in the timeline, allowing a bit of fudging for the age of each character – Rey would be too old if conceived around the time of Rogue One so we have to assume Jyn survies her debut and hangs around until after Return of the Jedi before starting a family.
Could it happen? Absolutely. Do we want it to be true? Yeah probably. Is it? Almost certainly not.
Knights of Ren
Our personal favourite. Based on a dissection of the Concept Art from Force Awakens, we think this is honestly too good to ignore.
Over at the hives of scum and villainy known we know as the hype machine, leaked materials and art have been put together to produce an interesting parallel. Force Awakens’s Kylo Ren is known to lead a band of dark Jedi referred to as the “Knights of Ren” responsible for murdering a generation of Jedi. We know there is five of them, from the concept art, all fitting comfortably into a role in the death squad. Are they even force sensitives or talented operatives? Or maybe both?
What if, the theory goes, they are the cast of Rogue One gone dark side? We know the movie is exploring corruption and a morally ambigious era of Star Wars history, but we wrongly assumed it would be a token evil teammate. What if it is the entire squad and we end up with villain protagonists?
Evidence for this is heavily reliant on concept art notes and some slight reaching on behalf of the fan community. The Knights of Ren as named by this art are The Sniper, Armory, Heavy, Monk and Rogue. While we could normally discount the parallels with our Rogue One cast as simply archtypes (what Video Game special forces squad doesn’t have a demolitions expert, a priest and a sniper?) we think Disney is just a bit too good at controlling its properties for this to be an accident. The use of “Rogue” where it would ordinarily be unnecessary confusion with another movie, the presence of a “Heavy” and an “Armory” character (these are usually the same character), even common details on the clothing of the Rogue members. If Disney aren’t connecting The Heavy with Jiang Wen’s character there must be some seriously dedicated artist at Disney fighting the good fight for single pauldrons and thick banded gloves.
We for one welcome out Rebel-turned-Empire overlords.