00:30:01 – 00:45:00
Now that we are fully one-half hour into Rogue One, we are beginning to sense the shape of the story. Not having watched this before, I am going to assume that we are nearing the end of the first act and most of our main characters are on-stage. Let’s take a moment to reflect upon what we know so far.
We’ve been introduced to a lot of characters. Since there seems to be a lot of moral gray areas in this movie, I’m not going to separate them into “good” and “bad” guys, which feels a little unusual in a Star Wars movie. I’m going to list them in order of introduction.
Jyn Erso, as a young girl, is the first character we see. It becomes apparent later that she’s the main character in the movie. Her parents, Galen and Lyra Erso, are introduced in short order, although it seems that Lyra doesn’t survive the first sequence. Galen continues to be a very important part of the plot. Thirteen years later, the little girl becomes Felicity Jones.
Saw Gerrera, the Rebel’s rebel, is first shown on a little communication monitor in the Erso household, and then at the hatch of the hobbit hole at the end of the Young Jyn sequence. Thirteen years later, he has robot legs and some serious asthma.
Imperial Director Orson Krennic, who we can assume is a truly bad guy since he shows up to press Galen Erso into the service of the Empire (and because he shows up with a squad of black stormtroopers that Wookieepedia tells me are called death troopers), comes next. So far, he feels a lot like the Christoph Waltz German officer in Inglourious Basterds.
Captain Cassian Andor is introduced on the Ring of Kafrene outpost. He is a Rebel intelligence officer who kills an informant after learning of the Imperial pilot defector and a rumored “planet killer” weapon.
We first meet Bodhi Rook, the Imperial defector, on the Imperial-occupied moon of Jedha, while he is being escorted Taliban-style to meet with Saw Gerrera.
K-2SO first appears during the prison breakout sequence on Wobani, although we don’t learn his name until later. He’s a lanky, repurposed Imperial droid.
Back on Yavin-4, we meet some of the Rebel leaders. Or meet again, in the case of Mon Mothma and Bail Organa. My sources tell me (and always assume “my sources” are Wookieepedia or random Google searches) that Jan Dodonna from the first trilogy is also there. He was one of the guys I was just not quite nerd enough to recognize. General Davits Draven is one of the characters new to me, and seems a little mean, especially when he secretly orders Captain Andor to assassinate Galen Erso.
Speaking of reintroductions, Grand Moff Tarkin, my favorite Moff, makes an appearance with Krennic while overseeing the construction of the Death Star.
At this juncture, I’m going to assume that Bor Gullet, the tenacled telepathic interrogator in the service of Saw Gerrera, isn’t a major character. I just like to write “Bor Gullet.”
As we ended our last chapter, we had been introduced to the blind beggar Chirrut Imwe, who I assume is a major character only because he appears on the DVD cover. Speaking of this cover, there appears to be one more character I haven’t seen yet, so maybe this film’s Scooby Gang hasn’t been fully assembled yet.
Thank you for indulging me in this quick recap. What I understand of the plot so far is that Jyn Erso is being used by the Rebel Alliance to get access to Saw Gerrera, who raised her and is the leader of Rebel extremists. Saw has Bodhi Rook, the cargo pilot who defected from the Empire and has knowledge about the secret Imperial weapon. It turns out that Bodhi was sent by Jyn’s father Galen, who is working on this weapon. The Rebel Alliance wants all this information badly. A subplot—or perhaps side-plot—is that Captain Andor has also been ordered to assassinate Galen Erso. That should complicate matters.
I find this to be exciting stuff, and I’m looking forward to forging ahead into this chapter.
Which picks back up on Jedha, with Jyn Erso walking away from Chirrut Imwe at Captain Andor’s urging. The blind beggar tells Jyn, as she’s leaving, that “The strongest stars have hearts of Kyber.” They’re really hard-selling this Kyber crystal thing.
Andor reminds Jyn that they aren’t there to make friends, which is true, I guess. In the long shot, I see the other character from the DVD cover standing behind Chirrut Imwe, so maybe I have met all the main characters now.
When Jyn asks who these people were, Andor says that they are the Guardians of the Whills, Protectors of the Kyber Temple, which sounds impressive but really says nothing. Andor adds that there’s nothing left to protect (the “temple ruins” he mentioned in the last chapter, I assume) and now they’re just causing trouble for everyone. Evidence of DVD covers aside, you don’t give characters this much backstory unless they’re going to be important to the plot.
Jyn mentions that Andor seems extra-tense all of a sudden. “We have to hurry,” Captain Andor says. “This town is ready to blow.”
We cut to a squad of Imperial stormtroopers moving through the streets of Jedha City along with some kind of armored vehicle or tank. A voice over a loudspeaker denounces Saw Gerrera as a terrorist while extolling the virtues of the Empire. Jyn and Andor see obvious signs of a rebel ambush, which happens suddenly and explosively with a firefight in the streets.
While they take cover, Jyn tells Andor, “Looks like we found Saw’s rebels.”
Jyn saves a child caught in the crossfire in the streets. While she is pinned down in the street, she is about to become collateral damage as a rebel high above is going to throw a grenade at the armored vehicle. Captain Andor shoots the rebel to keep this from happening, which is witnessed by the Gerrera lieutenant I recognize from a previous sequence, when I said he looked a lot like Darth Vader without his helmet. Of course, Jyn and Andor are shooting a lot of stormtroopers as well, but I’ll bet Andor shooting the rebel will have lasting consequences.
The purpose of the raid seems to be the theft of Kyber crystals from the armored vehicle. Kyber crystals are everywhere all of a sudden. Lightsabers, Death Stars, armored Imperial vehicles.
The rebels seem to have everything well in hand when suddenly stormtrooper reinforcements arrive along with one of those improbable-looking Imperial chicken-walkers. Yeah, I know it’s an AT-ST, but “chicken-walker” is much more visual. The rebels, including, now, Jyn and Andor, are at a disadvantage again. The two are pinned down by flanking stormtroopers. Jyn reveals that not only did she have a blaster that “she found,” but also a rather effective baton—which made me think of the “Traitor!” stormtrooper from Episode VII—that she uses to take out several soldiers. She also shoots a droid that looks just like K-2SO, but is revealed to not be K-2 when it falls to the street and K-2 is behind it.
“Did you know that wasn’t me?” the real K-2 asks.
“Yeah. Of course,” Jyn lies.
Cassian Andor says that he thought he told K-2 to stay on the ship. The droid responds, “You did. But, I thought it was boring, and you were in trouble. There were a lot of explosions for two people just blending in.” As he’s saying this, K-2 catches a grenade thrown by a stormtrooper, then tosses it back over his shoulder, taking out another squad. “You’re right. I should just wait on the ship.”
As you might expect since my own brand of humor is heavily sarcasm-based, I’m enjoying the humor in this movie so far. It doesn’t seem forced, which is a sign of good writing. And, I’ve always liked Alan Tudyk.
In the tradition of all Star Wars movies, our heroes—now three—go from one apparently hopeless situation directly into another one. K-2SO attempts to pass himself off as taking Jyn and Andor to the prison after a stormtrooper assumes he’s just another Imperial droid. The attempt is a lame one, however, and the “prisoners” are being taken off his hands so they can run diagnostics on this weirdly behaving droid. The three are saved by the blind beggar Chirrut Imwe, who states, correctly it seems, that the Force is with him just before he begins kicking some serious stormtrooper butt with his staff and some fancy martial arts. He takes out an entire squad on his own, using techniques that would make Daredevil proud. Suddenly, another squad of stormtroopers shows up, but they are instantly gunned down by Imwe’s large companion, the final piece of the DVD cover. He is a shaggy man with a graying goatee, and he appears armed to the teeth. I haven’t heard his name yet.
Freed of their restraints, Captain Andor and Jyn approach the two men after Andor orders K-2 to return to the ship and await his orders (no gratitude here). Andor asks the bigger man if Imwe is a Jedi.
“There are no Jedi here,” the man says. “Only dreamers like this fool.”
Just as Jyn asks the two men if they can get them to Saw Gerrera, Gerrera’s men appear out of nowhere and surround them. They are led by the alien wearing the breathing apparatus. Imwe mentions that they are no friends of the Empire, and apparatus-guy says to tell that to the one who killed their men. Meaning Cassian Andor, I assume. See? Told you that would have repercussions.
Jyn plays her Galen Erso’s daughter trump card, and Saw’s rebels throw bags over the heads of our DVD box cover heroes to escort them to Saw. Our heroes are now four in number, not counting K-2SO, who is now conveniently back at the ship. As the heads are bagged, Chirrut Imwe says, “Are you kidding me? I’m blind.” I like this guy.
We see the Imperial Star Destroyer leaving the Top of the Rock in the distance as the Gerrera terrorist cell is escorting our heroes across the same terrain we saw in a previous chapter with Bodhi Rook. If we’re still thinking of this story in terms of Aristolean three-act structure, which I am, then this is beginning to feel more like the end of the first act. We’re almost 38 minutes into the movie at this point. In a two-hour movie, that sounds about right. Maybe the true transition doesn’t occur until we meet up with Saw and Bodhi, though.
At Saw Gerrera’s HQ, Cassian, Chirrut and the other guy are forcibly tossed into a cell while Jyn is escorted to meet Saw. With all of the aliens around, and background “business” going on, this seems like the movie’s cantina scene. There’s gambling, holographic dancing girls. I saw one alien who looked a lot like what I think was a concept sketch for wookiees from the pre- original trilogy days. I could be wrong, but he certainly seemed familiar.
Back in the cell, Imwe is chanting his mantra, “I’m one with the Force, the Force is with me,” over and over again. Imwe’s large companion says that the blind man is praying for the door to open. Imwe tells Andor that it bothers his friend because he knows that it’s possible. The large man snickers.
Then, Imwe gives us a little backstory on his companion. And a name.
“Baze Malbus was once the most devoted Guardian of us all.” So, the final member of the DVD box cover gang is named Baze Malbus. This was perhaps a little clumsily-executed as exposition goes, but it is nice to get a name.
Cassian Andor says that he’s beginning to think he and the Force have different priorities, as he is removing what appear to be lock-picking tools from his boot. No one searches prisoners as carefully as they should, it appears.
“Relax, Captain,” says Imwe. “We’ve been in worse cages than this one.”
“This is the first for me,” Andor says, which is difficult for me to believe. Someone who carries his own lock-picking tools has probably seen the inside of a cell before.
Imwe seems to be carrying the extra burden of Yoda-like cryptic utterances in this movie. He tells Andor, “There is more than one sort of prison, Captain. I sense that you carry yours wherever you go.” This causes Baze Malbus to scoff. I sense that this is dual-identity in the story. The blind warrior does quasi-mystical things and makes cryptic announcements, and Baze scoffs, the eternal Doubting Thomas who was once the most devoted Guardian of us all.
Cut to: emotional reunion of Jyn Erso and Saw Gerrera.
Saw seems genuinely pleased to see Jyn again as he hobbles towards her on robot legs with his walking stick. We find out that when they last saw each other, Saw had abandoned her in a bunker, leaving her only a knife and a blaster, telling her to wait until daylight.
“I knew you were safe,” Saw says.
“You left me behind.”
“You were already the best soldier in my cadre.”
And so on and so forth. She was only 16. She was the daughter of an Imperial science officer, and people were beginning to figure that out. People willing to use her as a hostage. In Saw’s mind, he was protecting her. In Jyn’s mind, he was dumping her. All very complicated and emotional. All of Jyn’s father-figures abandon her. It’s really amazing that she didn’t become a pole dancer.
Saw says there’s not a day that goes by that he doesn’t think of Jyn. But, he thinks her appearance on this day is a sign that all of this—the pilot, the message, her sudden reappearance in his life—is a trap. His own paranoia is the Admiral Ackbar of this movie.
After taking a hit from his oxygen mask, Saw—looking more than a little crazy, in my opinion—asks Jyn, “Did they send you? Did you come here to kill me? There’s not much of me left.”
Jyn explains the plot of the movie so far to her old mentor. The Alliance wants her father, and they think he sent Saw a message about a weapon. She is their leverage to get to Saw.
“So, what is it that you want, Jyn?” Saw asks.
Jyn says she just wants out. She doesn’t care anything about “the cause.” It’s only brought her pain. Saw says he has something he wants to show her, and there is no creepy Harvey Weinstein or Louis CK undertone in the comment, but we suddenly cut away to the Death Star again, so we’re left hanging for the moment.
Hey, it’s Grand Moff Tarkin and Imperial Director Krennic again, looking out over a reddish planet. Tarkin tells Krennic that the Emperor is awaiting his report. Krennic complains that one would think that the Emperor and Lord Vader would be here for such an occasion. Tarkin says he thought it prudent to save Krennic from potential embarassment. Krennic says all the Imperial forces have been evacuated and he stands ready to destroy the entire moon. Oh, I get it, this is Jedha. At any rate, Tarkin says that’s hardly necessary. They need a statement, not a manifesto. The destruction of the Holy City would be enough for today.
I think the Holy City is that big rock the Imperial Star Destroyer was hovering over. Where the ruined temple is located. Where Jyn and Cassian met up with Imwe and Baze Malbus. Where. . .OK, you get the point. They are conducting a test of the Death Star’s destructive powers, and they are going to use it on the big rock. Got it.
Wait a minute. Isn’t K-2SO still back there with Captain Andor’s ship? Is he about to be destroyed? Not likely. The droid may have stayed with the ship, but that doesn’t mean the ship is still at the Holy City, which Krennic does call Jedha City. I was confused for a minute there. I thought they were two different places.
We cut back to the cell where Andor, Imwe and Malbus wait. Andor hasn’t picked the lock yet, apparently. I’m not sure what he’s waiting for. The blind warrior asks who’s in the adjacent cell. Baze looks, and it is the Imperial cargo pilot who defected, of course. Bodhi Rook, which is a great name.
Baze Malbus decides, logically enough, to kill the pilot, but is stopped by Captain Andor. Cassian attempts to question Rook. It seems the cargo pilot’s session with Bor Gullet has left him a little worse for wear. Cassian asks if he knows the name Galen Erso. Rook becomes a little more lucid, admitting that he’s the pilot and that he brought the message. As Cassian asks where they can find Galen Erso, we cut back to the Death Star.
Where buttons are being pressed and things are charging up…
Back to Saw and Jyn. Saw shows Jyn the message he was sent. Galen Erso appears as a bluish hologram and gives his message to Saw.
“Saw. If you are watching this then perhaps there’s a chance to save the Alliance. Perhaps there’s a chance to explain myself and, though I don’t dare hope for too much, a chance for Jyn, if she’s alive, if you can possibly find her, to let her know that my. . .”
I know this is dirty pool, but this is where the current chapter of the Rogue Edition of 15-Minute Force ends. The remainder of Galen Erso’s heart-wrenching message will have to wait until Chapter 4, as will the fate of Jedha City. This is a true Flash Gordon-like cliffhanger.
Until next time. . .At 16, You Were Already The Best Soldier In My Cadre, and May The 15-Minute Force Be With You.