I have my reservations about some of things I've seen so far, ranging from the ships looking somewhat fake to my speculations that none of these characters will be fleshed out enough for me to truly care about them and even the possibility this muddles with canon in ways that are upsetting to me. However, since I'm a big fan of the series, I'm also geeking out so much over some different things I'm really hoping we get to see at some point in the film.
Thus, I figured I'd write out a list of ten things I really want to happen during Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, although I'll admit that some of them aren't essential to the film's success or failure in the grand scheme of things. A few of them are minor touches that I feel could really spice things up and make a lot of difference in the overall enjoyment of the film, but if they aren't included, it doesn't mean the movie is doomed, so you won't see anything on the list like "a good plot" and "great actors" or anything substantial like that.
In no particular order, here's my list:
1. Illustrate Darth Vader's True Power
For being the biggest badass in the galaxy, Darth Vader doesn't have a great track record on film. Sure, if you count The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels along with the comics and novels, he's beyond an imposing threat, but in the movies, he's yet to come off as that same type of monster. He's always fumbling around and getting beaten as Anakin Skywalker and by the time we see him in the original trilogy due to the limitations of filming several decades ago, the action is quite awful. Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi essentially don't even duel, he holds back considerably against a wildly untalented Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back and he's somehow beaten by that same untrained kid in Return of the Jedi.
This movie needs to show him at the height of his powers as an unstoppable force (no pun intended) nobody can even dream of matching up with. Please don't give me Jyn Erso taking him down with a blaster just to make her look cooler. Don't waste Vader on two or three talking scenes where he does nothing but storm out of a hallway. Have him go on a kill-crazy rampage mowing people down, slaughtering rebels left and right. He should be the final boss fight beyond even the Star Destroyers and AT-ATs. Darth Vader should be that presence on the battlefield where as soon as he starts getting down to business, everybody panics and realizes they have to flee or possibly even sacrifice themselves to take him down.
Vader shouldn't be defeated, he should only be stalled after something huge. I'd love to see the rebels reach a point where they blow up an entire ship just to attempt to slow him down and he gets injured just enough for him to need the bacta tank we've seen in the first teaser, allowing them to jump to hyperspace and escape. That way, we can understand going into A New Hope that this badass just took all they could give him and is still recuperating, which is why he's so slow, but if he were to fully recover, he'd be able to take on the entire army himself like in Rogue One.
2. The Exhaust Port
One of the big criticisms of the destruction of the Death Star is how the exhaust port machinations make any sense. Why would they build this structure and leave it with such a huge vulnerability?
The first answer is pretty simple: what huge vulnerability? They make it a point to say how it's an impossible shot that you'd only be able to reach with a small fighter to begin with, and you'd never make it past the turrets and the enemy ships, and even then, it has to be an exact hit to cause the chain reaction. It's one air vent on a battle station the size of a moon!
However, there should be steps taken in this film to make it even harder for people to complain. We know Galen Erso is working on the Death Star and that he isn't an Imperial empathizer by any real means, so why not have him explain that he purposely added this into the plans as a failsafe?
He can clarify that no great inventor makes something without knowing how to destroy it and with such a dangerous weapon, he needed to apply the same philosophy, but he was also under close watch, so he needed to do it in a way that wasn't suspicious. If it were a glaringly obvious killswitch button, they'd never allow it, but something small like this exhaust port is exactly the type of thing they would overlook. Are the odds of destroying the Death Star monumentally against the Rebel Alliance? Sure. But a small chance is better than no chance, right?
Galen should pass that information on with the plans that R2-D2 ends up with so when the rebels retrieve it from Leia and company in A New Hope, they basically just open up the folder and read the technical layout which explains where to find the exhaust port and such.
3. References to Star Wars Rebels
I don't read the novels or the comics as I have way too many things on my plate to be able to spend the time and money on them, but I do watch Star Wars Rebels and as such, I want to be rewarded for my efforts. That show is canon and they can't keep everything under lock and key where it doesn't leak elsewhere into the movies. There are limits within reason, of course, so I don't expect Ezra Bridger to be Snoke or for anything huge like that, but since the show takes place roughly around the same timeline as this film, why not throw us a bone here and there?
Saw Gerrera is popping up, which is amazing and exactly the type of content I'd like to see apply to Star Wars Rebels. Why not have a character mention that they would send Captain Syndulla and her crew on The Ghost for the mission, but they're already on the other side of the galaxy doing something else. That way, the only character we know sticks around is Hera, but we can lose anybody else on the show or they can still be alive and it's left for the TV show to figure out. We're not pigeonholing ourselves with something super over the top like seeing Zeb and company all appear, spoiling any potential deaths that could happen on the show, but we're getting a nod that those characters are actually important members of the rebellion. Maybe Commander Sato is at the war room conversing with Bail Organa and Mon Mothma? That would be awesome. What if Director Krennic mentions past failures of Agent Kallus?
That's all I need. Just give me something that definitively proves these characters aren't going to exist solely on the animated show.
This one is very, very simple: you need to show Alderaan. All we've seen of the planet so far is the quick shots in Revenge of the Sith and its explosion in A New Hope. Give us some time on the planet's surface itself so we can see the people there who will be meeting their doom very soon. Hell, give us a scene where there's a bunch of children playing happily so it makes us feel awful as we know their time is so extremely limited. It will make the scene where Tarkin orders the destruction all that more painful to watch in the future since we'll have a better connection to the billions of lives that were lost.
5. Where is Snoke? Where is Palpatine?
I would love to see Emperor Palpatine show up in a scene, even if he's a hologram speaking to Vader, and I also would like to see that there's at least an attempt to give us a rationalization for how Supreme Leader Snoke could witness the events that transpired over the films that preceded The Force Awakens. I'm certainly not expecting a scene with Snoke, so I won't be shocked if that doesn't happen, but considering the ease of how you can film a quick scene with Ian McDiarmid, I'll be annoyed if Palpatine doesn't make some kind of appearance in some fashion. Ideally, I'd love to see Vader talking to Palpatine and when they hang up talking to each other, we can have another quick scene where Palpatine converses with Snoke, but I'll settle for just the two Darths talking.
6. Explain Chirrut Imwe
All it takes is one or two lines of dialogue to explain how Chirrut Imwe was able to survive Order 66 and the subsequent Jedi Purge and I'll be happy. I don't want there to be leftover Jedi hanging out in the galaxy by the time Luke is told he's the last of his kind save for Kenobi and Yoda, so that means if Imwe is a true Jedi like Ezra and Kana Jarrus, all three of them need to be killed by the end of this film, but there's some wiggle room if you make Imwe not a true practitioner.
The Force Awakens introduced this concept of The Church of the Force. Why not have him be one of the founding members of this? Maybe he was a Padawan who wasn't particularly skilled enough to train at the Jedi Temple, but was still imbued with some power (hence being able to see despite being blind) and those people are the ones we see like Jocasta Nu working in the archives and doing work on other planets. Jedha is going to have some kind of significance, so why not make that an ancient planet they used hundreds of years ago as a monk-like training ground for less advanced recruits who could dedicate themselves less in the fighting skills and more in the meditation practices or whatever?
I just don't want them to have this random Jedi on the team who never appeared before, was lucky enough to survive being hunted just because they wanted a Jedi to appear in this story, and all sorts of other writer-driven coincidences like that.
7. The Crawl
I know it's already been confirmed that we won't have it, but I think we need it more than ever. So many casual fans are utterly confused about the time this film takes place, making it the perfect example of a movie that needs exposition to be told to you from the onset.
They most likely are starting this film off with a flashback, which is kind of jarring, but I'm okay with it. Here's how you get around it. Do the "a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away..." and have that fade into your cold open flashback sequence. When you're done with that, pan the camera up to the sky and the stars and then have STAR WARS pop up on the screen, give us the crawl to set everything up and explain the time jump, and then pan the camera back down from the stars into a ship flying by a planet. Done.
8. The Imperial March
I know this is the first time John Williams won't be composing the music for a Star Wars film, but if we don't get The Imperial March throughout the film, I'll be well past frustrated. I shouldn't even need to explain this, and hopefully, Michael Giacchino doesn't just want to put his own spin on things and abandon all previously established themes. Some new themes are necessary, but we need to hear some of the familiar ones as well just to make sure it still feels like a Star Wars film, and The Imperial March is an absolute must.
9. These are the Droids I'm Looking For
Artoo and Threepio need to make a cameo in just one scene or even one shot. They've been in every film so far and there's no reason why we shouldn't see them aboard the Tantive IV at the end of the movie or something like that. If we don't have R2-D2 and C-3PO, as annoying as the latter can be at times, I'll feel like something was missing.
10. A Sense of Direction
By that, I mean I want to fully see that the creators know where these characters are going and where they fit in the timeline going forward. I don't want to leave everything open ended where we have to read about it in books and get no closure at all. I don't want to wonder where these new ships and Death Troopers and everything went and disappeared during the original trilogy. Jyn Erso can't be someone who becomes the hero of the rebellion and then just never shows up or is heard from again unless she dies or they give her a reason to not be involved anymore. Director Krennic either needs to die or he needs to be sent to the outer reaches of space as punishment for failure to explain why he isn't sitting at the table in the Death Star in A New Hope. Don't create new plot holes, use this movie to patch up the ones from before.
That's what I have on my mind, but what would you like to see in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story? Is there anything I didn't add to my list you think needs to be included in the mix?
Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!