Movie Write-Up: Rogue One

I saw Star Wars: Rogue One this weekend.

Jyn Erso’s father, Galen, helped to design and construct the Death Star for the Empire.  Because he hates the Empire, he placed a design flaw within the Death Star.  The Rebel Alliance rescues Jyn from the Empire so that she can bring her father to the Alliance.  A hologram of her father tells Jyn that he put a design flaw in the Death Star and informs her where to get the plans for it.  The Rebels are hesitant to go get the plans because they fear war, so Jyn and others form Rogue One to do so.  Rogue One includes the rebel Cassian, the robot K-2SO, the blind monk Chirrut Imwe, and the mercenary Baze Malbus, who looks out for Chirrut.  The Rebels eventually help out Rogue One, and Rogue One delivers the plans to them.  Barely escaping the pursuing Darth Vader, the Rebels get the plans to Princess Leia, who says that the plans contain “hope.”

Here are my reactions to the movie:

A.  In Rogue One, both the rebels and the Empire seem fully aware that the Death Star has a design flaw, and this is why the Empire does not want the rebels to get a hold of the plans.  That appears to contradict what we see in Episode IV: A New Hope.  Two quotes indicate that the Empire was unaware of a design flaw, or at least it did not think it was a sure thing.

Tagge, an officer for the Empire, states: “And what of the Rebellion? If the Rebels have obtained a complete technical readout of this station, it is possible, however unlikely, that they might find a weakness and exploit it.”

Tagge says “possible, however unlikely.”  That’s different from both sides knowing for certain that there is a deliberate design flaw in the Death Star, which seemed to be the case in Rogue One.

General Dodonna of the Rebellion is presenting the plans of the Death Star to the Rebel pilots, and he says: “Well, the Empire doesn’t consider a small one-man fighter to be any  threat, or they’d have a tighter defense. An analysis of the plans provided by Princess Leia has demonstrated a weakness in the battle station.”

That is different from saying that a renegade scientist deliberately placed a design flaw in the Death Star.  Here, the design flaw is attributed to an oversight, or the Empire not considering a small one-man fighter to be a threat.  Yet, if I recall correctly, Dodonna in the movie attended meetings where there was discussion about the Death Star containing a deliberate design flaw.

B.  While I did not feel attached to many of the characters, the characters did say things that I found interesting.  Chirrut Imwe walks into a squad of storm-troopers and boldly says, “I fear nothing.  All is as the Force wills it.”  That reminds me of Christians who fear nothing because of their strong belief in the sovereignty of God.  Chirrut also frequently recited the mantra, “I am one with the Force, and the Force is with me,” even as he lays down his life for the Rebellion.  And his faith inspires his friend, the mercenary Baze Malbus.

Galen and Jyn were separated from each other when Jyn was a little girl, as the Empire took Galen away so he could work for it.  Galen, via the hologram that was shown to Jyn years later, said that he could only think about Jyn when he was strong enough.  If he thought about her when he was weak and discouraged, that would only amplify his discouragement.  I can identify with that: I prefer to think about certain things only when I am strong enough.

Jyn’s father was just shot by a Rebel, and Jyn is upset with Cassian.  Cassian says that Jyn has just recently come to hate the Empire, but he has been a victim of the Empire since he was six years old, and he has had to make sacrifices and moral compromises for the cause of the Rebellion.  That was a poignant scene.

C.  There were pieces of the movie that I found difficult to follow.  It was unclear if the Rebellion regarded Galen as a secret sympathizer for the Rebellion or as one working willingly for the Empire.  Right after many in the Rebellion expressed unwillingness to go get the plans for the Death Star, Bail Organa (father of Princess Leia) and Mon Mothma, a leader of the Rebellion, discussed getting the plans to Princess Leia, so that she could get them to Obi-Wan Kenobi.  Was Rogue One not so rogue, after all, since the leadership of the Rebellion wanted to get the plans?  Or perhaps I misunderstood the scene and Bail and Mon Mothma merely wanted Princess Leia to enlist Obi-Wan’s help in the coming war against the Empire.

D.  The scene at the end in which Darth Vader single-handedly takes on a Rebel army with his light-saber and Force-powers was powerful.  Wow!  Yet, as this article points out, that is rather incongruous with the beginning of Episode IV, which takes place soon after the end of Rogue One.  If Darth Vader could take on a group of Rebel soldiers by himself, why did he send storm-troopers ahead of him at the beginning of Episode IV?  On the question of how Darth Vader could be so adept with a light-saber in Rogue One yet slow with it in Episode IV, see this YouTube video.

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About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. I study the History of Biblical Interpretation at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio, as part of its Ph.D. program. I have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting.
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