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Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Major Scenes Cut from 'Rogue One'

When you watch Rogue One, it doesn't really seem like a mess of a movie that underwent tons of behind-the-scenes changes fairly late in the game. It's only until you exit the theater and think back to the film's trailers that you realize how many scenes must have been cut.
Yes, every blockbuster has a few notable trailer scenes that are missing from the final cut, but Rogue One takes it to a new level. This wasn't just a few unnecessary seconds of action; they must have reworked and redone entire sections of the film, especially towards the end. Heck, most of the footage from April's first teaser trailer seems to have been completely scrapped.  

On one hand, this was kind of a nice thing. Many fans complained about the trailers and TV spots spoiling too much of the film's action sequences and plot, so it was refreshing to have so much previously-unseen footage. But it's also a huge indication of just how different the original cut of the film was, which isn't exactly a good thing. 
We're going to look through all the footage from the trailers, TV spots, and featurettes for Rogue One to see which scenes ended up on the cutting room floor, and what they can tell us about how the plot was changed.

Jyn rebels

"This is a rebellion, isn't it? I rebel." Jyn's line from the teaser trailer, as she met with Mon Mothma and other Rebels in the Yavin 4 base, instantly defined her character. Whether you loved it for its attitude or hated it for its cheesiness, you couldn't deny that this quote was iconic. 
In the final cut, Jyn's entire first scene in the Yavin 4 conference room is different. Most of the dialogue between her, Mon Mothma, and General Draven was changed at some point. 

They must have realized that Jyn came off as volatile and unlikeable in the original cut, so this was one of the key scenes that needed to be reworked. The Hollywood Reporter actually has a whole article about how Jyn ultimately falls flat as a lead character, quite possibly as a result of the reshoots. 

"What will you become?"

"What will you do if they catch you? What will you do when they break you? If you continue to fight, what will you become?" These thought-provoking words of caution were spoken by a bald Saw Gerrera in the teaser trailer. 
When we later saw images of the character with a full head of hair, we were assured that this wasn't a major discontinuity or a result of the infamous reshoots; it was simply his appearance at two different times in his life. 

Although we did indeed see a bald Saw at his introduction in the film's prologue, these words never came up. And in the below shot of him in the teaser trailer, he's bald and appears to be in his hideout on Jedha, while in the final cut, he has hair by the time we see his hideout. 
Furthermore, there's a shot from the Celebration Reel that shows an adult Jyn talking with a bald Saw outside his rocky base of operations – none of which makes any sense. Saw has hair by the time Jyn's an adult, and they never once speak outside. 
What we can deduce is that, for whatever reason, most of Saw's scenes were redone and his hair was one of the major changes. It's also worth noting that his voice in the teaser was a lot more natural than his accent in the later trailers, so maybe the filmmakers decided that he should be more of an eccentric character, with the voice and wild hair to match.

Jyn gets lit 

The shot of Jyn Erso in her Imperial disguise, gradually illuminated by a series of lights in a round corridor, was the final shot of the teaser trailer and the film's most iconic piece of imagery. News sites loved to use this as a header for their Rogue One articles. It was beautiful, visually impressive, and incredibly gif-able. 
So it came as a disappointment when this shot didn't end up in the film. The round corridor was seen in the background as the passage to the vault that contained the Death Star plans, but we never actually got to see it light up. Maybe this corridor was a more important location in the original cut. Or maybe this shot had no significance whatsoever. 

For a single shot like this, it's possible that they built this hallway as part of the set, realized how cool it looked with the lights slowly turning on, and just took some spontaneous footage of Felicity Jones. And then later, someone from the marketing team could have found it and decided that it would make the perfect final shot for the teaser trailer. 

More Vader

Part of what made Darth Vader's role in Rogue One so perfect was that his last scene wasn't teased whatsoever in the marketing. His massacre of the Rebel troops would have been great trailer material, but they successfully kept it under wraps. 
However, of the Vader shots that we did see in the marketing, about half of them were missing. There was the shot of his reflection spreading across a glass floor (which was the very first Vader tease from the Celebration-exclusive trailer), and a similar shot of his back turned as he looked at a diagram of the Death Star (which capped off the first official trailer). Clearly, one major Vader scene was cut.
His final, violent scene, for all of its glory, was probably part of the reshoots. If you think about it, it was kind of an awkward way to end the movie, since all of the main characters had already died and the action was quickly winding down. This is exactly the kind of scene that Disney executives would have requested, because they knew how much it would thrill audiences.
So maybe the less action-packed scene of Vader examining a Death Star diagram was originally intended to be his final scene. It could have ended with him declaring that he would follow the Tantive IV on a Star Destroyer, instead of boarding the Rebel command ship in order to seize the plans in person.

The Battle of Scarif

These are by far the most notable missing scenes from the film. The climactic shot of the teaser trailer was Jyn – carrying the Death Star plans – charging across the Scarif beach with the rest of the Rogue One crew as an AT-ACT opened fire on them. It was the focus of the teaser poster, and it was supposed to be one of the key action sequences in Rogue One.
In the final cut, Jyn, Cassian, and K-2SO never made it onto the battlefield. They went directly into the facility to steal the Death Star plans, where Kaytoo died, and then Jyn and Cassian transmitted them to the Rebel command ship from the top of the tower and descended onto the beach to prepare for the blast wave to obliterate them.

Even more curiously, the teaser trailer had a shot of Krennic striding onto the beach with stormtrooper bodies littering the ground. Behind-the-scenes footage from the Celebration Reel showed the same shot from a different angle. In the version of the film that we saw, he also never appeared on the battlefield, choosing instead to deal with the Rebel agents inside the facility.
This all points to an extremely different version of the film's climactic battle. Jyn and Cassian would have had to run somewhere else to transmit the plans. On the way, she might have gotten some satisfying revenge on Krennic. He and Kaytoo definitely would have had different death scenes. 

Jyn and Cassian's final beach scene may have actually been the same, but it would have made more sense since they would have already been on the beach and not at the top of a tower crawling with stormtroopers. 
This large section of the film was probably reworked because it was deemed "too dark." Something about the intense trench warfare with bodies constantly hitting the ground may have been a little too much for a Star Wars movie.

However, none of these scenes cut from Rogue One are necessarily lost forever. The DVD/Blu-ray release will definitely have at least a few deleted scenes. Disney may decide to include a whole alternate cut of the film due to the boost it would give to sales. It would be embarrassing for them to admit how much the reshoots altered, but there are many fans who would pay to watch an alternate version of the film.
Which of these scenes would you like to have seen in Rogue One? Tell me in the comments or tweet to @SithObserver, and may the Force be with you all.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Remembering Carrie Fisher, Our Princess

Carrie Fisher, best known as Princess Leia in the Original Trilogy and The Force Awakens, died today at 60 following a massive heart attack on Friday. The legendary actress, writer, and activist was a beloved member of the Star Wars community. She brought a wit and strength to Leia that made her a truly iconic heroine. 
And Carrie herself shared these characteristics. She was widely known for her sense of humor and brutal honesty, particularly when observing the film industry into which she was born. As the daughter of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher (essentially the Brangelina of the 1950s), she had a unique perspective of Hollywood:
"Acting engenders and harbors qualities that are best left way behind in adolescence. People-pleasing, going on those interviews and jamming your whole personality into getting the job, ingratiating yourself to people you wouldn't f***ing spit on if they were on fire."
Acting clearly wasn't Carrie's passion, but writing may have been. In 1987, she wrote a semi-autobiographical novel, Postcards from the Edge, as well as the screenplay for the film based on the book, starring Meryl Streep. She published Wishful Drinking, a book based on her autobiographical one-woman play of the same name, in 2008. Her latest memoir, The Princess Diarist, hit shelves last month. 

Even more impressively, Carrie was one of the most talented script doctors in Hollywood. She fixed the screenplays for 1990s classics such as HookSister Act, and Lethal Weapon 3. In the Star Wars franchise itself, she worked on the scripts for parts of the Original Trilogy (as seen in the image below) and was later hired by George Lucas to polish dialogue for the Prequel Trilogy as well. She received no credit for any of these contributions. 
Fisher's notes on a page from the Empire Strikes Back script
The greatest indication of Carrie's bravery in the face of the scrutiny of Hollywood is her famous outspokenness about her bipolar disorder and history of cocaine addiction. In 2005, Harvard College gave Fisher its Annual Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism:
"Ms. Fisher's work humanizes a popular culture obsessed with celebrity, and helps readers laugh at the absurdity of contemporary society and relationships. Her forthright activism and outspokenness about addiction, mental illness and agnosticism have advanced public discourse on these issues with creativity and empathy."
Fisher with her daughter, Billie Lourd (Lieutenant Connix) on the set of The Force Awakens
Fortunately, Carrie's work – in particular, her contribution to Star Wars – isn't over yet. She finished filming her scenes for Episode VIII several months ago. Next December, we'll see her take the screen as General Leia Organa once again, though it'll come with a certain bittersweetness, as well as some reservation about how the franchise will handle her death. 




On and off the screen, Carrie Fisher was a symbol of fortitude, fearlessness, intelligence, humor, feminism, and general badassery. She will always be our Princess, and she will be missed dearly.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Top 10 'Rogue One' Quotes

Like any Star Wars movie, Rogue One has lots of memorable quotes, lines of dialogue that make you want to laugh, cry, and generally just put shivers down your spine. We're counting down the top 10 best quotes from the film:

10. "They call it the Death Star. There's no better name for it."

In his hologram message sent to Saw – and tearfully watched by Jyn – Galen names the Death Star for the first time in the film. This comes as no surprise to the audience, but it marks the first time that a Rebel hears the name of the sinister superweapon (with the exception of Saw, who must have watched it himself before showing it to Jyn). 
And Rogue One really does show us why it's called the Death Star. In A New Hope, we saw it destroy Alderaan, but we didn't know a single character who died or even what the planet looked like. In this movie, it has some serious victims; it kills Saw Gerrera on Jedha and later annihilates Jyn, Cassian, and Krennic on Scarif, as well as whatever's left of Kaytoo, Bodhi, Chirrut, and Baze.

9. "I've got a bad feeling abou-"

When Jyn, Cassian, and K-2SO enter the Imperial facility on Scarif, always-pessimistic Kaytoo starts to say "I've got a bad feeling about this," a classic Star Wars line that appears in every movie. However, Jyn and Cassian shush him before he can finish. It's a funny little bit for the audience, and it partially sets a precedent for how another regular Star Wars element will be used in the Anthology series. 
Ironically, this is the first time in the franchise that "I've got a bad feeling about this" has been said with such accuracy. Kaytoo's fears are fully justified because they all die. You laugh when you hear this in the film, but looking back on it, it's like he foresaw the moment when his robotic eyes would go dark for the last time. 

8. "It's not a problem if you don't look up."

When Saw asks Jyn whether she's okay with Imperial flags reigning across the galaxy, this is her tragic response. During the years in-between getting abandoned by Saw and getting recruited by the Rebels, Jyn just was just keeping her head down, not really caring about the Empire or feeling any need to stop their tyranny. 
This quote could also be interpreted as a reference to the Han Solo movie, intentional or not. It takes place during the earlier years of the Empire's reign, and we know that Han, Chewie, and Lando are similarly not "looking up," since none of them get roped into the Rebellion until the Original Trilogy.

7. "May the Force be with us."

Yes, we've heard this line many, many times throughout Star Wars, so its use in Rogue One doesn't exactly blow any minds. But this is the first time that this line (or its more popular variant, "May the Force be with you") has been said without the slightest whiff of a Jedi presence nearby. Instead, Jyn says this to the tough soldiers of the Rogue One crew as they prepare to leave the Yavin 4 base for Scarif.
Bail Organa and Mon Mothma know that there's a certain veteran Jedi living on Tatooine, but as far as Jyn is concerned, the Rebels are on their own. This quote establishes the Rebellion's belief in the Force, something that will only grow when Luke Skywalker joins.

6. "Your father would be proud."

Cassian's last words to Jyn, as they prepare for a blast wave from the Death Star to utterly obliterate them, are meant to assure her that this mission was worth the cost of their lives. 
Jyn's whole motivation for capturing the Death Star plans is to make sure that her father's secret plot to insert a fatal weakness in the battle station won't have been in vain. Thanks to her, the weapon that Galen has created now stands a chance of being destroyed. She's protected the legacy of her family, as well as the galaxy itself. 

5. "There are no Jedi anymore, only dreamers, like this fool."

After Chirrut takes out a squad of stormtroopers with only a staff, Jyn ask if he's a Jedi. This is Baze's response, a short yet extremely powerful quote that also establishes his skepticism of Chirrut's faith. 
We know that Baze is inherently wrong – there are still Jedi in hiding and even more will come in the future – but Rogue One does, for all intents and purposes, exist in a galaxy without them. Everyone in the Rebel Alliance is a "dreamer" like Chirrut, because they need to be. 

4. "Be careful not to choke on your aspirations, director."

Sith Lords make puns, too! Darth Vader strides away from Krennic after ending their meeting in his castle on Mustafar, but Krennic takes it one step too far by suggesting that Vader speak with the Emperor about keeping him in command of the Death Star. Krennic starts gasping for air and falls to the floor. Vader slowly turns around and utters this line, inflicting his signature Force choke on the director.
Many fans are perplexed by a cold-blooded killer like Vader making a joke, but you can't deny that this is his most iconic quote from the film as he demonstrates both a dark sense of humor and the Dark Side of the Force. (Though to be fair, Vader has few quotes to choose from; even his epic final scene in the film is devoid of any dialogue from him.) 

3. "I'm one with the Force, the Force is with me."

Chirrut's personal mantra is a memorable one. First, he chants this as he sacrifices himself to flip the master switch for Bodhi. Baze repeats it as he avenges Chirrut and gets shot down himself, paying respects to his best friend and finally accepting his faith at the same time. And then the audience members can't help but repeat it themselves as they exit the theater.
Chirrut was a truly great Star Wars character, perhaps more so than any of the others introduced in Rogue One. We probably won't see him again, so it's fitting that we'll always have this quote to remember him by. 

2. "Save the Rebellion! Save the dream!"

Saw Gerrera's last words are a passionate encouragement to Jyn he prepares for a wave of rubble to annihilate him. He's asking her to save a dream of freedom and hope, a dream that transcends time; for Saw, it started during the Clone Wars on his home planet of Onderon, but you can find it throughout all of Star Wars.
With this final cry, Saw is passing on the torch to Jyn, telling her to make sure that the Rebellion doesn't back down or surrender, that they continue to fight for what they hold most dear. Heroes like Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa end up working for the Alliance for a much longer time, but it's Jyn who steps in at a critical moment and truly saves the Rebellion from succumbing to its own fears. 

1. "We have hope. Rebellions are built on hope."

Cassian first tells this to Jyn early on in the film, and she repeats it later while proposing an attack on Scarif to the Rebel Alliance council. It's a direct reference to Rogue One's tagline, "A Rebellion built on hope," and it's a perfect representation of the film's key themes. 
This quote is applicable to the real world, too. All rebellions – whether they be in Star Wars or world history – are founded on the hope that they can succeed and restore freedom. One could argue that with these words, Jyn is creating – or at least, contributing to – the "new hope" that Episode IV is named after. 

Honorable Mentions

"Jyn, whatever I do, I do it to protect you." - Galen's promise to a young Jyn as he prepares to confront Krennic.

"Trust the Force." - Lyra, to a young Jyn, before she leaves her forever.

"The strongest stars have hearts of Kyber." - Chirrut.

"Are you kidding me? I'm blind!" - Chirrut, when Saw's men put a bag over his head before taking him to their hideout.

What's your favorite Rogue One quote? Tell me in the comments, and may the Force be with you all.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' Review and Discussion

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is finally hitting theaters, bringing hope – and rebellion – back into our galaxy with the epic tale of how the Death Star plans were stolen. More importantly, as the first installment in the Anthology series, Rogue One decides how a Star Wars film can function outside of the main saga, and whether it still has the potential to be a financial and critical success.

I'll be reviewing and discussing Rogue One in great detail, including the plot and characters, so a *MAJOR SPOILER ALERT* should be assumed. 

The Plot

The film opens on an Imperial shuttle soaring through space and landing on the planet Lah'mu. Out steps Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) and his Death Trooper squadron, who confront Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen) at his homestead. Lyra, Galen's wife, is shot and killed after attacking Krennic with a blaster. Their daughter, Jyn, hides in a nearby cave and is later rescued by Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker), an old friend of the Ersos. 

13 years later, an adult Jyn (Felicity Jones) is freed from an Imperial labor camp by the Rebel Alliance and taken to their base on Yavin 4. The Rebels have discovered that Imperial defector Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed) has a secret message from Galen about a superweapon he's built for the Empire, and he's taking this information to Saw on Jedha, a desert moon that's now occupied by the Empire due to its large quantity of Kyber crystals. Jyn split from Saw several years ago, but she's the Alliance's best chance at reforming their relationship with the rebel extremist.
Jyn arrives on Jedha's capital city with Captain Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) and reprogrammed Imperial droid K-2SO (Alan Tudyk), who is ordered to stay on their U-Wing transport. Unbeknownst to her, Cassian has been ordered to assassinate Galen, rather than bring him back to the Rebel base, due to the threat that his research poses. They're soon caught in the middle of guerilla warfare between Saw's rebels and the Empire. 
After Jyn and Cassian are arrested by stormtroopers, blind warrior Chirrut Îmwe (Donnie Yen) – a Guardian of the Whills and a devout believer in the Force – and his best friend, sharpshooting assassin Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen), come to their aid. More of Saw's soldiers appear and capture them, taking them back to his hideout outside of the city.

Jyn reunites with Saw, who now relies on a mechanical suit to survive after sustaining many injuries over the years. He shows her the hologram of Galen that Bodhi delivered; Galen explains that he agreed to build the Death Star with Krennic, but only so that he could insert a fatal weakness in its design. Meanwhile, Cassian speaks with Bodhi in an adjacent cell and convinces him to help them.
Krennic and Grand Moff Tarkin order a test run of the newly-finished Death Star on the Jedha's capital city. The city is obliterated and Jyn, Cassian, K-2SO, Chirrut, Baze, and Bodhi narrowly escape the ensuing rubble on the U-Wing. Saw decides to stay behind and face his death. The team heads to the planet Eadu and crash-lands near the Imperial research facility where Galen resides. Krennic also arrives at the facility to find the source of the information leak.
As Galen, Krennic, and the other engineers meet on the facility's landing platform, Cassian decides not to kill Galen from afar with a sniper rifle. Against Cassian's orders, Jyn climbs up to the platform to find her father just as Rebel X-Wing and A-Wing squadrons begin to bomb the facility. 
Galen is mortally wounded by an explosion while Krennic escapes. Jyn manages to briefly reunite with her father before he dies in her arms. The team returns to the Yavin 4 base on an Imperial cargo shuttle. Meanwhile, Krennic travels to Mustafar and meets with Darth Vader to discuss the Death Star.

Jyn relays Galen's message to the Rebel Alliance council. She proposes that they launch an attack on the Imperial base on Scarif to steal the Death Star plans, but the Rebel leaders are too afraid of the Empire's new power and refuse. Mon Mothma privately suggests to Bail Organa that he contact his old Jedi friend who went into hiding. Organa says that he'll send his most trusted messenger.
Jyn and the team, along with many other Rebel soldiers frustrated with their leaders' decision, take the stolen cargo shuttle to Scarif. Bodhi uses the ship's clearance code to get through the Shield Gate that protects the planet. Jyn and Cassian put on Imperial disguises and enter the facility with K-2SO, while Chirrut, Baze, and the other Rebels place charges around the facility. Krennic also arrives at the base to investigate Galen's transmissions. 

The resulting explosions draw out most of the stormtroopers and allow Jyn, Cassian, and K-2SO to gain access to the data vault. Chirrut, Baze, and the others face off with Imperial troopers and AT-ACT walkers on the beach; the Rebel fleet arrives and X-Wing squadrons destroy the walkers before the Shield Gate is closed. 
K-2SO is overwhelmed by stormtroopers and destroyed while defending the vault. Jyn and Cassian manage to steal the Death Star plans and then get separated when Krennic and his Death Troopers enter the vault and open fire. Outside, Chirrut sacrifices himself to activate the master switch, allowing Bodhi to contact Admiral Raddus from the cargo shuttle and tell him that they need to destroy the Shield Gate.
Baze mourns Chirrut's death and then takes on the Death Troopers, sustaining multiple laser burns before a grenade finishes him off. Bodhi also dies when a grenade is thrown into the cargo shuttle, destroying it. Above the planet, Admiral Raddus orders a Hammerhead Corvette to ram into a Star Destroyer and send it crashing into another Destroyer, rupturing the Shield Gate in the process.

Jyn heads to the top of the Imperial tower to transmit the Death Star plans to the Rebels. She's cornered by Krennic, who declares the Empire's inevitable victory before getting shot from behind by Cassian. Jyn successfully transmits the plans to the Rebel command ship. The Death Star exits hyperspace over the planet and Tarkin orders the destruction of the compromised base. Jyn and Cassian, both wounded, make their way down to the beach and embrace as the blast wave obliterates them.
The Rebel fleet begins to jump to hyperspace as Darth Vader's fleet arrives. He boards the command ship and mercilessly slaughters several Rebel troops, but the Rebels disembark on the Tantive IV and narrowly escape with the Death Star plans. Captain Raymus Antilles hands the data card to Princess Leia, who recognizes that they now possess what the Rebellion needs the most: "Hope."

Review

Rogue One is not a disappointment. We were promised a true war movie, and we got a true war movie. No Jedi this time, just people with guns shooting other people with guns. And even though the good guys still won, it came at a huge cost: they all died.
Like, seriously, everyone died. Jyn, Cassian, Kaytoo, Chirrut, Baze, Bodhi, Krennic, Saw, Galen...all dead. We knew that at least a few of the new characters in Rogue One wouldn't make it to the end, but it seemed doubtful that none of them would. They won't get as much as an offhand mention in the Original Trilogy that follows, but for us, they'll go down as the unsung heroes of the Rebellion.
In the past, Star Wars has kept a pretty clean line between the Light Side and the Dark Side. The good guys are all good, and the bad guys are occasionally redeemable (see: Darth Vader) but mostly just evil. Rogue One delves deeply into the gray area in-between. Saw fights for freedom but endangers innocent civilians (including children) in the process, while Galen is a literal architect of destruction who's still regarded as a hero in the end.

Rogue One will not be the critical darling that The Force Awakens was, but that doesn't mean that it's any less important. While The Force Awakens made Star Wars mainstream again, Rogue One tells us that it can be different, too. It can take risks, it can be darker, it can tell stories that don't have totally happy endings, and it can still be good, not to mention financially successful.
Now let's review the many, many characters of Rogue One, including how they progressed over the course of the film and what they could mean for the Star Wars universe:

Jyn

Jyn was every bit the strong, badass heroine that we were promised. She was an excellent warrior and an inspiring leader, but she also wasn't without her vulnerabilities. The loss of her parents and later abandonment by Saw left her as an abrasive, hardened shell of a woman, without any real purpose in the galaxy.
It wasn't the Rebel Alliance that gave her a purpose, but rather, the dreams of her parents. They believed in hope and freedom and – at least in Lyra's case – the Force. Jyn fought so hard to steal the Death Star plans so that she could finish her father's dream of exploiting the superweapon's secret flaw – a dream that Luke Skywalker would later finish.
Family is one of the most important themes of Star Wars, particularly the idea of following in the footsteps of one's ancestors. Luke became a Jedi because his father was one. Kylo Ren worships his grandfather, Darth Vader, and even explicitly promises him, "I will finish what you started." Jyn's no different, except that she doesn't have the Force.
The story of Jyn Erso is an epic one, but she doesn't quite reach the heights of Rey. Jyn's character arc is far less satisfying; Rey received The Force Awakens' most applause-worthy moment when she used the Force to summon the Skywalker family lightsaber and wield it against Kylo Ren, while Jyn was denied both a true reunion with her father and proper revenge on Krennic.

Felicity Jones apparently has a second film in her contract, but that's not an indicator that they have immediate plans for Jyn; more likely, Disney/Lucasfilm knew how popular her character would be and wanted some insurance in case they ever had a reason to bring her back. More likely, we could see Jyn in novel form, along the lines of the Star Wars: Ahsoka book.

Cassian

Most of the marketing for the film presented Cassian as just your typical male lead, so it came as a surprise when he shot an informant in the back in his first scene. He wasn't a perfect human being, he was a Rebel agent who had to make tough calls all the time.
And the next tough call came when he was ordered to assassinate Galen, which he ultimately refused to do. That's what his arc was about: learning the difference between being a good soldier and being "no better than a stormtrooper," as Jyn accused him of. (Or maybe he was just afraid of how pissed Jyn would be if he killed her dad.)
There were so many times towards the end of the film when Cassian and Jyn were standing close together and definitely would have kissed had this been a more generic movie, but they didn't. Even when facing their imminent, unavoidable doom, they only hugged. And after seeing Rey and Finn's platonic relationship last year, that was a really nice thing, to once again have a young man and woman in Star Wars who are friends and partners, but not lovers.

K-2SO

Kaytoo was the not-so-surprising standout of the Rogue One crew. He was the comic relief, the funny and blunt droid who offered the film's biggest laughs. And as predicted, he went out like a champ, holding off squadrons of stormtroopers while Jyn and Cassian stole the Death Star plans.
One could argue that since Kaytoo's a droid, there could be backups of his memory somewhere, meaning that he could be uploaded into another body at a later point. However, since Cassian seemed to be the only Rebel who actually cared about him (except for the other teammates, who also died), Kaytoo probably won't be coming back.

Chirrut

When you have a legendary martial arts star like Donnie Yen in your movie, you're obviously going to let them play a character that kicks ass. But Chirrut was more than just a Daredevil-type cliché; he was the moral and spiritual center of the group. 
Jiang Wen actually spoiled Chirrut's death back in July, but that didn't make it any less dramatic as he murmured his personal chant of "I'm one with the Force and the Force is one with me" and walked out onto the battlefield, lasers whizzing by, to flip the master switch for Bodhi. He wasn't a Jedi but the Force was with him.

Baze

Baze wasn't the most memorable character or the most central character to the plot; he mostly just served as the no-nonsense foil to Chirrut. It was clear that he had a serious grudge against the Empire, but we never learned exactly why.
The moment that Baze finally came into his own as a character was also, unfortunately, his last scene. After witnessing Chirrut's death, he began to repeat his chant ("I'm one with the Force and the Force is one with me"), finally accepting his best friend's religion, as he gunned down the remaining Death Troopers. Taking out the Empire's most elite squadron is a pretty cool way to die. 

Bodhi

He was never anywhere close to the forefront of the marketing (that's what happens when you don't have any cool action scenes), so it was surprising that Bodhi had such a key role. He was the link between the Rebellion and Galen, and they simply couldn't have completed the mission without him.
Unfortunately, Bodhi also had the least honorable death out of all the characters. A grenade was just tossed in the cabin of the cargo shuttle and then he was dead. It was like the filmmakers just wanted all the main characters to die but couldn't think of a cool final scene for Bodhi. We saw him use the shuttle's cannons on stormtroopers earlier in the film, so he could have at least lended a hand to his Rebel friends before getting blown up.

Director Krennic

It's not easy being the primary villain in a movie that also has Darth Vader. But Krennic was still cruel, menacing, ambitious, and about as good as a non-Force-sensitive villain could get. He barked orders like he was getting paid to do it (which he was, if you think about it), and he wasn't afraid of dirtying his signature white cape. 
Cassian's laser bolt was the crippling blow to Krennic, but the fact that his demise was from the Death Star blast makes for some truly poetic irony. He spent so many years working on this project, hoping that it would be the ticket to get him into the Empire's highest circle, and it ended up blowing him up.

Saw

If you had to equate Saw to someone else from Star Wars, it would be Maz Kanata; they're both weird characters who hang around all kinds of freaky aliens and outlaws and have some inspiring pieces of advice that you can hear in the movie trailers. You get the feeling that they only gave Saw such a prominent role in the marketing because he's played by (arguably) the most recognizable actor here.
He's also the first original Clone Wars character to make it onto the big screen, so it's a shame that there wasn't a single reference to his origins on Onderon in Season 5 of the series. There's parallels between Jyn and Saw's sister, Steela, who died at the end of their episode arc. Considering how much Steela's death must have effected Saw and shaped his personality, it really would have been nice if he had mentioned her.
Fortunately, Saw is the only character here who we know we'll be seeing again soon. Today, Making Star Wars found a Star Wars Rebels poster that reveals that he'll have a role in the episodes to come, making for a great Rogue One tie-in. The poster even has Saw's personal tagline, which are also his last words: "Save the Rebellion. Save the dream."

Darth Vader

Vader only had a few scenes in Rogue One, but boy, did he make them count. The location of his first scene is fascinating on its own; the film casually reveals that Vader has a castle (a concept that was first seen in the Expanded Universe) on Mustafar – y'know, the site of his life-altering duel with Obi-Wan. The "bacta tank scene" comes to life as his servant informs him of Krennic's arrival and Vader's tank begins to drain, revealing his naked, limbless body. 
What director Gareth Edwards understood was that when Darth Vader has a scene, you make it art. He doesn't just casually stroll up to Krennic; first a giant door slowly slides up and then you see Vader's shadow spread out behind Krennic as he slowly appears from behind billowing smoke.
And in Vader's final scene – the scene that no one saw coming, the scene that everyone's talking about – he's even better than the cold-blooded killer that we all know and love. First you just hear his breathing, and then his lightsaber illuminates the dark hallway, and then...well, then it's just carnage. The way he kills those Rebels, using both his lightsaber and the Force, is simply pure joy for any Star Wars fan.
I thought that people would be disappointed with Vader's role in Rogue One. And even though he probably had less than five minutes of total screen time, there's no reason for anyone to complain when we had no idea that this scene was coming. Guys, let's be real: that scene was absolute savagery. Count your blessings and hope that Vader will appear again. 

Mon Mothma

Mothma has always been a criminally underrated Rebel leader. She was an ally of Padmé and Bail Organa during the Clone Wars, helped found the Rebellion, and off-screen, she was the first Chancellor of the New Republic following Return of the Jedi. But most people only know her as that Rebel lady who says "Many Bothans died to bring us this information" – if they know her at all, that is. 
Rogue One was the perfect opportunity for her to take the spotlight as the most prominent Rebel leader, and for Genevieve O'Reilly to finally play this role after her scenes as Mothma were cut from Revenge of the Sith. As far as we know, she's still alive (although pretty old) by the time of The Force Awakens, so perhaps O'Reilly can don some old-age makeup and lend a hand to the Resistance in the future. 

Tarkin

Oof. We were all fairly certain that Tarkin would have a role in the film, and there were rumors of some revolutionary digital recreation of the late Peter Cushing, but that didn't stop the shock and (to be honest) cringiness when he turned around and showed the audience his CGI face.
It's not like the visual effects were terrible. They just looked very out-of-place in comparison to the natural, human faces around Tarkin. The truth is, it'll take many, many years before an actor can be recreated like that and no one will bat an eye. The basic premise of the film demanded Tarkin's presence, and although they could have just put lots of makeup on a regular actor, it's cool that they tried something new and different.

Princess Leia

Her face only appeared for a few seconds, but you can bet that they poured thousands of dollars into this one shot. Like with Tarkin, they digitally recreated Leia's face from A New Hope. It looked pretty flawless, but that's probably just because it wasn't on-screen long enough for us to see how fake it looked. It also couldn't have hurt that Carrie Fisher, unlike Cushing, is still alive and may have been brought in to have her face mapped.
Leia's single word of dialogue was an incredibly effective one. Hope is undeniably the principal theme of the movie. In a way, it changes the meaning of the title of A New Hope; Luke was the new hope of defeating the Sith, but now we know that it was the Rogue One team that first brought new hope to the Rebellion. 
It is a period of Civil War. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire. 
During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire's ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet. 
Pursued by the Empire's sinister agents, Princess Leia races home aboard her starship, custodian of the stolen plans that can save her people and restore freedom to the galaxy...
What did you think of Rogue One? Tell me in the comments or tweet to @SithObserver, and may the Force be with you all.