Warning: tons of photos! Click here for the photos from the comic con earlier in the year.
A video of the functional R2-D2:
See here for first viewing thoughts.
1. I was wrong about Director Orson Krennic as the Very Bad White Male Villain being the one to kill the Spunky Female protagonist’s, Jyn Erso’s, father, Galen Erson…and I’m kind of glad for that. That would’ve been too predictable. Instead, Galen was collateral damage during a Rebel bombing raid; so Galen’s death was directly the result of the group Jyn was (sorta) working for. I mean, sure, Krennic killed Jyn’s mom right in front of her, and he conscripted Galen back into the Empire’s service, so he’s at large responsible for Jyn’s revenge motive…but it’s really all on the Rebellion’s side since they wanted Galen gone in the first place.
2. I’ve taken a liking to Riz Ahmed’s Bodhi Rook as the desperate Vaguely Ethnically Diverse Defector from the Empire. After he gets past his paranoia, he’s a heads-down, get-the-job-done kind of guy.
3. Everyone dies. That didn’t change from the first viewing. It was marketed as a guerrilla war movie, which it was, but it’s still uncomfortable to experience that in a Star Wars setting. You might find a weird coping mechanism in thinking they all somehow deserve it one way or another, but those of us who aren’t suited for extreme cynicism and misanthropy might shrink away from that. Still, though…
Minor spoilers below…
1 – It was good, with some great moments and mildly cringy moments—par for the course for the franchise.
2 – As expected, the production values were top shelf. Some faces, to match the age of the actors seen almost 40 years ago in Episode IV: An New Hope, had to be CGI, and they were pretty much flawless renderings. Grand Moff Tarkin and Princess Leia were the most obvious, and I believe Garven Dreis (“Red Leader, standing by…”) was spotted.
3 – Forest Whitaker and Wen Jiang as Saw Gerrera and Baze Malbus, respectively, were excellent, and Alan Tudyk’s voice work for the resigned, deadpan K-2S0 was top notch. On the antagonist side, Ben Mendelsohn as Director Orson Krennic, the Chief Very Bad White Villain, kept pace with the obvious fan-favorite focus on Darth Vader. Not an easy task. Felicity Jones’ Jyn Erso, the Stock Female Badass Protagonist With Eyeliner, gave an average performance, but in some scenes she had her moments.
4 – As it relates to the Star Wars universe in general, the film was intentionally darkwashed and feminized—two of the film’s writers said so, going so far as retconning the Empire into a white supremacist organization. Fighting against racial imperialism is actually a good thing, but note that nearly no white supremacists/imperialists exist—being pro-white (or pro-any-race) is nowhere near the same thing as being pro-white-racial-imperialism. If you can’t parse that difference, or feel the need to special plead for certain demographics, you’ve been successfully propagandized.
Check the trailer below. We know that Darth Vader dies in Return of the Jedi, so he’s out. Vader’s outfit is completely black and he’s voiced by a black actor, so I’m not even sure he counts in the first place. There’s K-2SO, voiced by Alan Tudyk, but he’s in dark metallic plating, and Rebel-affiliated droids are notoriously hardy.
So that leaves Galen Erso and Director Krennic. I’m going to double down and say both will be killed: Krennic because he’s the only higher-up evil white guy (but I repeat myself) that the protag, Jyn Erso, needs to defeat (usually by justified homicide), and Galen because he’s the protag’s father. If Krennic kills Galen it would supercharge Jyn’s motivation and provide a good opportunity for megafeels when she gets her revenge.
I jest in my half-satire. I’ll enjoy this as much as every other Star Wars-related movie. There’s a good cast and story, and it looks to be something grittier and more adult-oriented than past franchise installments.