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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Who Will Die in 'Rogue One'?

When we walk into theaters to see Rogue One in three months, we'll already know how the movie will end: the Rebel team will succeed in stealing the Death Star plans, which will eventually end up in the hands of Princess Leia – and later R2-D2 – in A New Hope. Unlike other action movies, there's not even a chance that the good guys will lose. (Don't let K-2SO's line about "a 97.6 percent chance of failure" confuse you.)
To accommodate for this, the film is building stakes in a different way: it's introducing us to a group of complex, relatable characters, and giving us no guarantee that any of them will survive. In this way, Rogue One's status as a standalone movie actually gives it an advantage over most other mega-blockbusters, in which you know that most of the protagonists will live on to star in the sure-to-happen sequel. No matter how popular the film is, there'll be no Rogue Two.
If that doesn't convince you to expect some serious deaths, consider this: the filmmakers specifically picked original characters for most of the major roles. And in this case, "original" means expendable. There's a reason why none of these brave, skilled individuals pop up to lend a hand in the Original Trilogy.

So who will die, and who will live on to fight (off-screen) another day? Let's take a look. A major *SPOILER ALERT* should be assumed.

Jyn Erso

As the main character of the movie, Jyn's death would be felt the hardest by the audience. The second trailer showed her stubbornly limping towards an antenna (perhaps to transmit the Death Star plans to the Rebellion) as a TIE fighter rose to presumably shoot her down; chances are, one of her friends will end up lending her a hand in that scene, but it's an indication of how much Jyn is willing to risk to complete her mission.
But what if – somehow – this actually isn't the last we see of her? After all, if any of these characters could become popular enough to deserve a reappearance, it would be her. This could be in the Han Solo movie, another installment in the Star Wars: Anthology series down the line, or even in Episode VIII or IX. (Jyn/Rey theories, anyone?) 
That's not to say that Jyn is definitely going to come back. But from the perspective of Lucasfilm/Disney, she's already a fan favorite with tons of merchandise potential, and Felicity Jones is quickly on her way to the A-list. (In the next few months she'll also be starring in Inferno, alongside Tom Hanks, and the critically acclaimed A Monster Calls.) You don't throw away a character like that unless you have a really good reason.

Consensus: No, Jyn probably won't die.

Cassian Andor

More than anyone else here, Cassian actually could just remain a part of the Rebellion – without ever crossing paths with Luke, Han, and Leia – after the events of Rogue One. The other new heroes are specialists in some field or another, but although Cassian is certainly an experienced and efficient Rebel agent, there must be dozens of other intelligence officers in the Yavin IV base alone. 
Plus, we know that he has Mon Mothma's trust; Cassian is the one who first intercepts the Imperial transmission about an "imminent weapons test." Mothma must have been doing some important Rebel work off-screen during most of the Original Trilogy (she doesn't show up until Return of the Jedi), so who's to say that Cassian wasn't with her during that time? 

Consensus: He definitely could die, but he's one of the less likely candidates. 

Chirrut Ïmwe

Okay, it's time for a throwback to Celebration Europe in July. During the original, live-streamed Rogue One panel (the version currently on the Star Wars YouTube channel is cleverly edited), Jiang Wen was talking about his character, Baze, and casually mentioned that Baze's best friend, Chirrut, will die. Wen was speaking in pretty broken English, but based on the cringing reactions of the rest of the cast, we can guess that he was indeed spoiling a major plot point.
To be fair, Chirrut's death was one of the likelier ones anyway. Wouldn't the blind, devout warrior who literally says "I fear nothing, all is as the Force wills it" be the perfect candidate to sacrifice his life for the rest of the team? Especially if it were on Jedha, his home planet and a sacred place for all Force believers, not to mention a potential target for the Death Star's first demonstration. 

Consensus: Yep, Chirrut's not going to make it.

Baze Malbus

Let's go back to Jiang Wen's Celebration Europe slip-up. He specifically said that Chirrut's death will inspire Baze to "do something better," meaning that he'll live through the film. It also makes sense in terms of basic storytelling; watching Baze mourn his best friend, and figure out his place in the galaxy without him, adds even more weight to Chirrut's demise.
So what will "something better" be? Joining the Rebellion in a permanent position, or just roaming the galaxy alone, putting his weapons expertise to use? Either way, he's not going away anytime soon.

Consensus: Baze is pretty much the only one of these characters who we know (or at least, we're pretty sure) won't die.

K-2SO

Kaytoo's first line of dialogue in the trailer (telling Jyn "The Captain says you are a friend, I will not kill you,") established what we already knew from cast interviews: he's completely loyal to Cassian, since he was the one who reprogrammed the droid for the Rebellion's use. Where Captain Andor goes, K-2SO follows. 
However, this powerful, durable droid – who can certainly withstand more blaster bolts than a fleshy human – also seems kinda likely to meet a noble end. Kaytoo wouldn't hesitate to sacrifice himself to save his beloved Captain. Since he's bound to be one of the standout characters, watching him get torn to shreds as he holds off a squad of stormtroopers would evoke the tragic, heartbreaking tone that the film could very well be aiming for. 

Consensus: This might be the most tearjerking sacrifice of a non-human character since Groot. (Except this time, there'll be no baby K-2SO dancing in the end credits.) 

Bodhi Rook

Unlike Cassian, Bodhi's X-Wing piloting skills would logically require him to appear in the Original Trilogy, helping to destroy at least one Death Star, if he were alive during that time. And yeah, one could argue that Bodhi just wasn't mentioned by name when he fought during the Battle of Yavin or the Battle of Endor, but it would still come off as a kinda sloppy plot hole.
Another important point to consider is that he's had a relatively small presence in the marketing so far. We've heard that he's part of the core team, but Bodhi appeared in only a single shot in the trailer, while everyone else got mini-introductions paired with pieces of dialogue. Maybe the marketing team is trying to give us low expectations for him, so that we don't feel angry or misdirected when he dies after only a handful of scenes.

Consensus: Don't get too attached to Bodhi, and don't be terribly surprised if you see people complaining that Riz Ahmed (who recently gained fame from The Night Of and Jason Bourne) is incredibly underused in Rogue One

Director Krennic

This one's pretty simple. Orson Krennic is the Director of Advanced Weapons Research for the Empire. He's in charge of the Death Star, and he'll do everything in his (formidable) power to stop the Rebels from ruining his plans. He'll inevitably fail, of course, and then he's suspiciously absent in A New Hope, with Grand Moff Tarkin taking his position.
You know who really doesn't like it when Imperial officers fail him? Darth Vader. And for a blunder as big as Krennic's, not even his impressive rank will make Vader think twice about Force-choking him. Krennic better hope that he gets an honorable death at the hands of a Rebel during the film's climax, rather than surviving the battle and facing the Sith Lord's wrath.

Consensus: Sorry, Orson. At least you'll be remembered for your stylish white capes. 

Saw Gerrera

Saw's an aging, scarred warrior who depends on his suit to keep him alive, still keeping up resistance on the streets of Jedha. His days are numbered no matter what. So when his old friend Jyn shows up at his door, asking him for help and shining with the same hope and strength that his late sister had, wouldn't Saw have reason to join her and go out in a blaze of glory?
Well, it depends exactly what his role in the movie is. Saw's not part of the central team and we haven't seen him interacting with anyone else besides Jyn. Chances are, he and his allies (including Edrio Two Tubes) will end up swooping in last-minute during the climactic Scarif battle to give Jyn a hand, so it may not make sense for him to suddenly die at that point. 

Consensus: One way or another, Saw will be biting the dust around the time of Rogue One, but we probably won't be seeing it on-screen.

Galen Erso

As the parent of a young, spunky protagonist in a Star Wars movie, Galen is pretty much doomed. And it doesn't help that he's a genius who invented a certain planet-destroying laser. If Jyn somehow managed to free him from the Empire in Rogue One, the Rebellion would surely hit him up for all the juicy Death Star details, which would kinda defeat the whole purpose of stealing the Death Star plans. 
Alternatively, it's possible that Galen died before the majority of the film takes place. The only footage we've seen of him has been on the Erso farm in a key flashback sequence. The Empire is undeniably coldhearted and logical enough to dispose of Galen as soon as they don't need him anymore. It would be an emotional, truly touching moment if we saw Jyn storm an Imperial facility to find her estranged father, only to discover that he's already long dead.

Consensus: Galen's not making it through the film. The only question is whether or not he'll get a tearful reunion with Jyn before he dies. 
Are all of these predictions going to turn out to be true? No. But if there's one thing that's become clear after analyzing these characters, it's that you better plan on bringing tissues when you see Rogue One in theaters, because any one of these lovable guys could be meeting their end. 

Who do you think will die in Rogue One? Tell me in the comments or tweet to @SithObserver, and may the Force be with you all.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

International 'Rogue One' Posters Revealed

The official Star Wars Twitter account has given us Rogue One's first two international posters. Although the posters feature some pretty obvious Photoshop and neither shows us anything particularly jaw-dropping, they're still elegant additions to the film's marketing campaign. 

The South Korean poster gives us the familiar Rebel team in an ominously lighted hallway, the exact same environment in which Jyn Erso stands in the iconic closing shot of the film's first teaser trailer. The only thing to notice here is Jyn's blaster, which looks different than the weaponry that we've seen her use before.
The Japanese poster is much more simple, borrowing from the official teaser poster released in July. Jyn poses with her pistol on the Scarif beach, with the Death Star emerging from the clouds in the background. If you needed one image to describe the premise of Rogue One, this would be it: you've got a rebellious-looking heroine and a huge, infamous superweapon behind her.
Another cool thing to see here? Unlike the typical action movie poster with the female lead presenting her chest and/or posterior towards the viewer, Jyn's almost completely covered up, as an incognito Rebel agent naturally would be. She doesn't look unattractive, but she's also not overly sexualized. 

Rogue One's theatrical poster probably won't be released until the third and final trailer in October (The Force Awakens did the same thing). What do you think of these posters? Tell me in the comments or tweet to @SithObserver, and may the Force be with you all. 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

'Rogue One' Promo Art Showcases Darth Vader

Rogue One is now less than 100 days from release (98 days, to be precise) and the marketing campaign is starting to hit lightspeed. Pyramid International's merchandising catalog has provided several new pieces of promotional art, giving us a new look at the heroes and villains of the film – including Darth Vader.

First, the good guys. We've got the central heroes looking ready for battle (notice Chirrut's crossbow-like gun), plus "Space Monkey" Bistan and large-mouthed Pao. 
And now, the bad guys: Director Krennic strikes a pose while flanked by his Death Troopers. Imperial starships (including the new TIE Striker) fly above them, and Darth Vader looms in the corner, reminding us where the Empire's true power lies.
The gang's all here in this mash-up of the previous posters. Interesting that Vader is placed in the middle; it suggests that there's still conflict within him regarding his shift to the Dark Side of the Force. However, since we're expecting to see the cruel, Imperial officer-choking Darth Vader that we all know and love, chances are Vader's placement is just a coincidence.
This beautiful poster shows the Death Star, X-Wing silhouettes, and Jyn Erso's profile. Too bad this wasn't an official release; it would have made a great teaser poster for the film.
This piece gives us more Vader, along with some TIE fighters and a hint of the Scarif palm trees. The scratchy, retro style (seen in the Rogue One Celebration panel intro video) is meant to establish this as the gritty war film that it is.
These stormtroopers have some pretty sweet firepower backing them up. Although a LEGO set already strongly hinted at this, we now know for sure that the stormtroopers on Jedha will have a classic AT-ST transport at their side, along with the new tank that we saw in the trailers. 
But enough of those boring, basic stormtroopers. The badass Death Troopers continue to blast their way to the forefront of Rogue One's marketing campaign. Here we see them stalking the Scarif beach, while an AT-ACT and TIE Striker target an X-Wing behind them.  
This awesome recruitment poster features the three major stormtrooper classes of Rogue One, with the Empire's brand-new symbol of power behind them. (The Death Star and Imperial symbols ironically form Disney's Mickey Mouse logo.)
These sure look like the Death Star plans themselves – or at least, a piece of them – which drive the entire plot of Rogue One. If anyone has Jyn's email address...well, let's just say this would save her a whole lot of trouble. 
And finally, the standout artwork: Darth Vader (and his shiny red eyes) looking stern in front of yet another Death Star diagram. Curiously, this resembles the final moments of the Celebration-exclusive trailer, which showed Vader's upside-down silhouette on a similar red display. 
What do you think of this artwork? Which piece is your favorite? Tell me in the comments or twee to @SithObserver, and may the Force be with you all.