I need to get this off my chest. And you may hate my guts but I’m going to say exactly what I feel with no regrets. I cannot love Rogue One. Yes, I LOVE Star Wars. And I would have loved Rogue One except one glaring issue: the reshoot.
As someone who was in AWE of the teaser, I found the subsequent trailers to be lacking. So I never paid them any mind. Little did I know. What is in the teaser trailer is NOT in the film: that fight, that resolve, that courage “If you continue to fight, what will you become?” that line was what made me fall in love with this film, and it wasn’t in the final cut.
Now, I know there are naysayers who probably are like “get over it, they reshot the film and it’s fabulous…” But really. Take a GOOD HARD LOOK at Jyn’s arc and you’ll find the threads I’m pulling on.
In the final version that is showing, Jyn’s arc is fragmented. I couldn’t place it the first time I watched it, I just knew something was off, and I didn’t love it. So I went again. And at one moment, it clicked. About halfway, after her father dies, suddenly Jyn has gusto and courage and poise and SOMETHING WORTH fighting for— BUT, it seems out of place with her passive first half.
Let me backtrack and walk you through this. As a writer I love characters and their arcs, how they grow and change and move throughout the story. In the first half of Rogue One Jyn is passive, point blank. When she tells Saw Gerrera that you don’t see the Imperial flags if you keep your head down, that shows you a passive person avoiding conflict. Whereas in the teaser, you get the feeling she was the person stirring the Rebellion. The final version also doesn’t work because of her catalyst for change: her father dying. Earlier in the final version she says she liked to think he was dead… so think on that for one moment. It is a huge change in her character to go from a passive mindset to one where they will risk their life for the Rebellion. Yes it is possible to make that change, but it doesn’t work here. It feels false, at least for me. If in the original version, that we will never get to see, Jyn is fighting for something, for her father, THEN I’d say that catalyst is on point and that final push for a dying rebellion is earned.
That’s my main beef with this film right now. I want to love it. Rogue One is stunning visually and that ending is incredible, but Jyn’s character arc is driving me crazy.
Let me give you one more reason why her arc is problematic for me, and it involves Cassian.
I LOVE Cassian as a character and as a story, I think he stole the show. Which is problematic since Disney was trying to make a female-centric lead, but Jyn’s arc is squashed and fragmented, furthering Cassian’s overwhelmingly stronger arc. I think his transformation is justified, he has a purpose, he changes, he has a past, and he believes in what he is doing.
But, have I applauded the NON-romantic thread yet? NO? YAAASSSSSS! It wasn’t about building a “relationship” it was about building trust and friendship and relying on others to build you up, despite the odds set against you.
Rogue One is an incredible movie, but I cannot love it like I love the rest of the Star Wars films (The Force Awaken included— I dare you to fight me!). It was a reality check that I feel is needed. We romanticize war and rebellion nowadays it seems, so it was refreshing to have reality take it toll on our hearts for once. We can fight as hard and long as we can, but in the end, it’s about how you accept the inevitable: with open arms, or fear.
So there you have it. Why I can’t love Rogue One but think it’s incredible all the same. Will I buy it? Of course. Will I marathon all 8 films over the summer? Absolutely. Do I want to see the original cut of Rogue One? Yes, a thousand times over, because I have a feeling it’s a much stronger film.
XOXO and May the Force be with you.