Rogue One: a Star Wars story (a 15-Minute Force production): Chapter Five: The Cheese Stands Alone (So Does Jyn Erso)

 

darthvader

1:00:01 – 1:15:00

Less than a minute ago, Captain Cassian Andor and Imperial cargo pilot/defector Bodhi Rook were still climbing the ridge to get to an Imperial research facility on the planet Eadu. Semi-mystical words by the blind warrior Chirrut Imwe, and a casual observation by repurposed Imperial droid K-2SO about Cassian’s rifle, led Jyn Erso to the correct assumption that Cassian was planning to kill her father, Imperial weapons designer Galen Erso. As we ended our previous chapter, Jyn had left K-2, Imwe and hirsute mercenary Baze Malbus on their crashed starship while she went in pursuit of Cassian and Bodhi.

Now, just a few seconds later, Chirrut Imwe tells Baze Malbus that he’s going to follow Jyn. Baze tells him good luck. Imwe says he doesn’t need luck: He has Baze. This is enough to get the mercenary to go with his blind companion.

K-2 is left alone in the crashed starship. Talking to himself, he wonders where everyone is going, and then says if Cassian returns, they will leave without them.

Jyn seems to have passed Cassian and Bodhi somehow. She decides to climb up to a landing platform that looks to be about fifty stories overhead. Meanwhile, Cassian and Bodhi have reached a vantage point where they are using binoculars to look at the figures gathered on the landing platform. Looking through binoculars is a time-tested Star Wars trope. Bodhi identifies Galen Erso for Cassian, who must be contemplating using his sniper rifle to complete his mission. The two men are startled suddenly by an Imperial shuttle coming in over their heads for a landing.

Cassian orders Bodhi to go find a ride for them out of there. Director Krennic arrives with his squad of deathtroopers and is met by Galen Erso on the platform. Krennic tells Galen that the battle station is complete, then tells him to gather his engineering team because he has an announcement.

Jyn continues to climb…

Cassian is running somewhere. I’m assuming to get into a better position to kill Galen. Maybe he’s looking for the book depository.

In front of the gathered engineers, Krennic makes his announcement. “Gentlemen,” he says, “One of you betrayed the Empire.” Here is a man who knows how to win friends and influence people. During a cutaway, we see that Cassian has Galen Erso’s head centered in the crosshairs of his scope. His head exploding like one of Gallagher’s melons would have been an interesting punctuation to Krennic’s announcement.

One of you,” Krennic continues, “has conspired with a pilot to send messages to the Rebellion.” This merits a quick reaction shot from Galen Erso, whose head is still intact.

Krennic urges the traitor to step forward, and when none does, he says he will consider it a group effort, then. His deathtroopers have already moved into position to carry out the expected order from the director.

During Krennic’s “Ready—Aim—Fire!”, Galen steps forward and shouts for them to stop. He also admits that he was the traitor, not his engineers. Meanwhile, Cassian Andor is still not assassinating Galen. Maybe it’s because Galen’s moving around too much. Come to think of it, Galen was standing still long enough before this, but he was partially blocked by a column of some sort.

As Galen is confessing his treachery, however, Cassian has the perfect shot lined up. His finger momentarily tightens on the trigger. But, then— He purposefully does not take the shot. He is disobeying a direct order from the Rebel Alliance. I guess when you have a team comprised of rebels this sort of thing happens all the time.

Krennic orders the deathtroopers to kill all of the engineers anyway. Then, he bitch-slaps Galen, causing him to slump to the landing platform. Cassian sees all of this through the binoculars rather than his rifle scope.

As Director Krennic berates Galen, we see that Jyn Erso finally reaches the platform as she climbs over its edge. She quietly disarms one of the white stormtroopers and sends him plummeting to his death. There was no Wilhelm Scream here, but it was the perfect spot for one. Cassian, still on the binoculars, now watches Jyn approaching Krennic and Galen’s position with her newly-acquired rifle.

K-2 calls Cassian. The comms are working again, but there’s a problem. The Rebel squadron we watched take off during the last chapter is approaching Eadu. Cassian says to tell them to hold off; Jyn is on the landing platform. I’m not sure that the Rebel Alliance considers Jyn that indisposable, but I could be wrong about that.

Krennic continues to verbally harangue Galen by telling him that the weapon he helped build was used to wipe out Jedha City and Saw Gerrara and his band of terrorists.

You’ll never win,” Galen says.

We cut to General Draven at the Rebel Alliance command HQ. K-2’s message to hold off on the squadron has made it through, but it’s too late: They’ve already engaged.

This turns out to be true. As we cut back to the landing platform, the Rebel bombing raid begins. As explosions are happening all around them, Krennic orders the soldiers to get to their stations and begin firing back. Sounds like keen military advice. Shoot back.

At the same time, we get shots of Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus, who both seem to be a safe distance away and watching the current events. So is Cassian, in a different location. He gives an anguished, “Jyn. No.” He seems to have become attached to Jyn pretty quickly. First, he didn’t kill her father as ordered. Now, he’s worrying that she’s going to die in a Rebel bombing raid, the victim of friendly fire. Maybe it’s love. Stranger things have happened.

Jyn calls out to her father. Galen hears her. But, so does Krennic. The Imperial director is about to shoot someone—Galen, I think—just as a bomb explodes in their midst.

Cut to, TIE fighters taking off, Imperial gun turrets beginning to shoot X-Wings out of the sky. More explosions. Lots of fire and explosions.

Cassian is running towards the fight with his rifle. K-2 and someone, I’m assuming the pilot Bodhi Rook, are carrying stuff out of the wrecked starship. Probably carrying it to whatever ship Bodhi managed to steal, would be my guess.

Jyn is lying unconscious, or semi-conscious, on the landing platform. She begins to come out of her daze. Krennic’s deathtroopers gather him up to evacuate in their shuttle. Chirrut Imwe’s staff turns into some sort of longbow blaster, which he uses to shoot down a TIE fighter. That’s an impressive staff. Gandalf-level science-magic. Jyn crawls across the platform towards her father, and is nearly knocked off by the force of Krennic’s shuttle’s thrusters. Just nearly, though. She manages to save herself and get to her father’s side.

In just enough time for him to call her “Stardust” one last time, remind her that the Death Star must be destroyed, and then die. Stardust again. Okay, okay. We get it.

Cassian shows up, shoots a couple of stormtroopers, and tells Jyn they gotta go. They seem to have worn out their welcome at this party. Jyn is reluctant to leave her father behind, but Cassian forces her to come with him. From a covering position, Baze Malbus uses his rapid-firing rifle to prevent Cassian and Jyn’s capture by a squad of stormtroopers who suddenly appear. Then Bodhi Rook and K-2 show up in their stolen ship, using its weapons to kill more stormtroopers running after Jyn and Cassian. With Imwe and Malbus hot on their heels, all of our heroes manage to climb into the getaway ship.

As they are flying away, Jyn takes a moment to accuse Cassian of trying to kill her father. He tells her that she’s in shock and doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Jyn presses her point, saying that “they”—meaning Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus—know. Cassian lied about why they came to Eadu, and why he went alone up the ridge. In his defense, Cassian says he had every chance to pull the trigger, but did he?

Considering the fact that Galen Erso is dead anyway, this might not be the best defense.

Jyn agrees with me. She says Cassian might as well have pulled the trigger. Those were Alliance bombs that killed him.

Then Cassian admits that he had orders to kill Galen, but he disobeyed the orders. He also accuses Jyn of being a latecomer to the rebellion. He’s been fighting since he was 6 years old, and Jyn isn’t the only one who lost everything. This doesn’t seem to mollify Jyn. Her father just died. Go figure…

Cassian tells K-2 to head for Yavin-4, and to be sure to let them know they’re coming in with a stolen ship. He then challenges the rest of the passengers in the ship to say something to him, but no one does. He’s being a bit defensive, I’d say.

Director Krennic’s shuttle lands on the familiar orangish planet of Mustafar, where we last witnessed Anakin Skywalker getting the Freddy Krueger treatment. The shuttle touches down at a large black fortress surrounded by lava rivulets. A black-cowled servant announces Krennic’s arrival to a figure in what appears to be a private bacta-chamber. The familar respirator sound tells us who this probably is. As Krennic nervously awaits, the imposing figure of Darth Vader in full armor approaches.

Vader—in a beautiful James Earl Jones voiceover—tells Krennic that he seems unsettled. Krennic says that he’s just pressed for time. Vader apologizes, which can never be a good sign, and says that, yes, Krennic does have a lot to explain…

And that’s where we’ll leave this chapter. Galen Erso is dead, and, as far as I can tell, nothing of importance was learned on Eadu. Our heroes were very nearly wiped out by friendly fire. Cassian’s top-secret mission is now common knowledge, which can’t be good for team spirit. Our heroes are headed back to the rebel base. Our chief villain, Director Krennic, has traveled to meet Darth Vader at his fortress on Mustafar. Forget for a minute the absurdity of Vader having his personal castle on the planet where he became more machine than man, and where he lost his great love. He would have to hate seeing all of that lava from his bedroom window every day. There is a certain degree of masochism in Vader’s psyche. A self-loathing Sith Lord.

This chapter included a nice little battle scene that moved the plot forward only incrementally with Galen’s death. But, the Alliance is looking no more “good” than the Empire at the moment. Especially from Jyn’s point-of-view. And the cheese stands alone. Um…in this metaphor, Jyn would be the cheese. Hi-Ho, the Derry-O.

Anyhoo, looking forward to more Vader…Until next time, Always Build Your Castle at the Site of Your Greatest Tragedy, and May The 15-Minute Force Be With You.

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