FFPC8 - Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Intro by Ben Harrison

I consider the original Star Wars film among my favorite movies ever and in my youth it puzzled me why they didn't just always make Star Wars films, given how great the first three were. In 1995 I ran out and spent a lot of allowance money on the VHS box set of the three films when the advertisement for them said they were being made available "one last time". I thought that meant we would never have another chance at getting home video copies of these movies. In a way that was true because two years later all three films were back in theaters and chockablock with computer-generated diarrhea.

But I was 14 years old and frankly was just happy to get a chance to see these films on the big screen because my introduction to Star Wars had come in the form of network television rebroadcast that I had watched with my parents on our 13" television. I was perfectly happy to have these adulterated versions of the films because Star Wars was an extremely scarce resource and I was a diehard science fiction enthusiast. It is hard to remember what that was like these days in our Galaxy's Edge Mandalorian Clone Wars New-movie-every-year too Star Wars present. The post-scarcity future is here and the scarcity we have eliminated is Star Wars stuff.

That has been a double edged blade for Star Wars because while Disney was able to realize the huge and heretofore underserved market-demand for Star Wars things, the new mega-corporation owner of Lucasfilm has applied a mega-corporate ethos to the way it has decided what to greenlight. That seems to be why the first of the new trilogy films was such a close paint-by-numbers reboot of what we now call Episode IV: A New Hope and why a film like Solo: A Star Wars Story fell into so many of the same pitfalls as the infamous prequel trilogy.

And the fan culture surrounding the franchise has metastasized some truly ugly splinter groups, including avowedly racist and misogynistic people angered by the slightly more diverse cast of the new films, and even one that has gone so far as to attempt to raise $200 million to remake episode VIII because they were so mad at the idea that Luke Skywalker would have any regrets, or something.

Somehow above the fray in all this has been the first of what are called the anthology films, and that is the film we are here to talk about today. Friendly Fire is a war movie podcast and the producers went into today's film with the express desire to make it feel like a World War II spy adventure.

It tells a story we already sort of know, it is contained in the title crawl of the original film, but it also does some interesting things to complicate the original film and humanize the rebellion as a group of freedom fighters who have had to make really hard sacrifices to advance the cause they believe in, in some cases at the expense of their own sense of morality, and it blurs the line of what it means to be in the rebellion because we learn in this film that the architect of the Death Star built an Achilles heel into the space station intentionally.

It doesn't ruin the surprise of Darth Vader's relationship to Luke or Luke's relationship to Leia or anything, and it even uses some prequel characters and some Episode IV characters to good effect. It takes place in the universe and it tells its own interesting story without undercutting the universe or the stories of the other films. It is a prequel that doesn't suck, and it is a war film. "Congratulations, you are being rescued! Please do not resist!" Today on Friendly Fire: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

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