With Rogue One set to hit theaters in less than two weeks, Disney held a huge press junket for the film in San Francisco a few days ago. Unlike Star Wars: The Force Awakens where they had us conduct interviews with the cast without seeing anything but the trailers, since Rogue One involves new characters and takes place before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope, Disney showed us almost thirty minutes of the film at Skywalker Ranch so reporters could learn more about the story and characters. Like I said on Twitter and during a Facebook Live chat (which you can watch here), the footage was fantastic and left all of us wanting more.
Without going into spoiler territory, the thing that made me most excited is how even though Rogue One takes place before the events of Episode IV, it feels completely unique and original and looks and feels like a war movie that happens to take place in the Star Wars universe. In the footage we saw plenty of scenes showing how the Empire is trying to take control of the universe and the brutality that happens when you try and resist. Part of the reason it feels like a war movie is because that’s what director Gareth Edwards set out to make. As you can see him explain in this interview, he shot Rogue One like a documentary embedded in a war zone. And after seeing the footage, I can say he succeeded.
During my interview with Felicity Jones she talked about what she learned about Jyn Erso’s backstory, the highlight of the production, if she noticed any deleted scenes after watching the movie, how Rogue One is different from previous Star Wars films, the additional photography and more.
Finally, one of my big problems with the Star Wars universe is for a galaxy so vast, we always seem to meet up with the same characters. While I had a great time watching R2-D2, C3P0, Han, Luke, Leia and Chewbacca in The Force Awakens, I was even more excited to meet the new characters and visit different worlds. When Lucasfilm announced they were making spin-off/anthology movies that took place in the Star Wars universe I was ecstatic. We’d finally get to visit new worlds and meet new characters. Rogue One hopefully is a great example of what’s to come. In the footage I saw we traveled to plenty of interesting new planets filled with characters I’ve never seen. I can’t wait to see the finished film and explore what’s still to come.