Warning: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
Rogue One vs. The Force Awakens-
For these recent takes on the Star Wars universe the question inevitably arises, “Which one was better?” Overall Rogue One was better, but it did fail in two major elements compared with Episode VII. Here is the layout.
Why it was better-
- It had no comparable expectations.
The reason that it is difficult to produce a successful sequel or prequel to the Star Wars original episodes is because expectations are so high. No matter what anyone tries to produce it simply will not be able to reproduce the formula for success that the original movies contained. Therefore, since this was a “sidequel” (yes, I just coined a new word) that was not directly in line with the plot of the episodes the audiences expectations were not set as high.
- It had no major restrictive boundaries.
This “sidequel” had no major boundaries that could restrict it. There were certainly objectives that it had to meet, but nothing restricting it in what way it could go. TFA on the other hand had to include elements that continued from Return of the Jedi and would progress the Luke, Leigh, Solo story line further.
- It didn’t mimic, but included components of all three originals.
One of the major failings of TFA, in my opinion, that hindered it from being as great as the originals was the fact that it essentially mimicked A New Hope. It wasn’t innovative but a variant twist on the original film. However, where Rogue One succeeds is expertly creating its own story while including elements from all three of the originals- A. Escape and The Death Star B. Large Ground and Space Fighters C. More Exotic Planets
- It expanded the SW universe while deepening our understanding of the Empire and the Rebellion.
- It was directly linked with one of the best episodes while amplifying the story of a proven hit.
- It was genuine and gritty in contrast with the “episodes” which are far more romanticized.
Why it was worse-
- The characters had no development or presence.
The main characters, with the exception of Chirrut Imwe the Jedi admirer and Director Krennic the primary antagonist, were tedious and their demise came as no surprise or disappointment. However, they did carry the story along effectively. The film simply had no romanticized characters like in the originals or TFA with whom everyone fell in love.
- There was no focus on the Jedi, Sith, or Force.
The main thread that tied all of the episodes together and gave them such appeal was the struggle of the Jedi vs. the Sith and the Force which was their common but unique utility. Although, it would be difficult to include much of this element into this film due to A New Hope establishing that there were no longer Jedi (except Obi Wan), certainly imaginative writers could have skirted this issue in some way. Surely, in a galaxy as large as the one this world exists in there could have survived rogue Jedi students who made a living as bounty hunters, smugglers, or pirates. After all, whatever happened to the concept of the Dark Jedi?