Disney’s first attempt to make a Star Wars movie outside of the episodic structure utilized by George Lucas, is a surprising success. So surprising, in fact, that it may be the best Star Wars film made since the release of Return of the Jedi in 1983.

‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ Blu-Ray Review

Rogue One takes place in the immediate moments leading up to the events of Episode I, Star Wars: A New Hope. Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) is a rebel wanderer with a secret – her father, Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen) is an important engineer on the Death Star project. Galen, in an attempt to save his daughter, abandoned her at a young age and has worked for the Empire ever since. Now with the Death Star completed, he has sent an important message to his old pal and rebel fighter, Saw Garrera (Forest Whitaker), in the hand of an Empire-defecting cargo pilot, Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed). Jyn, Bohdi, Saw, and comrades, Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), Chirrut Îmwe (Donnie Yen), Baze Malbus (Wen Jiang), and sassy droid K-2SO (Alan Tudyk) set out to retrieve the blueprint plans of the Death Star and return it to the Rebel Alliance in the hopes of destroying the Empire’s most deadly weapon.

Unlike Star Wars: The Force AwakensJ.J. Abrams‘ Episode XII , Rogue One ventures much further from the original trilogy’s themes and plot points. This divergence should not be seen in a negative light. Instead, the film’s unpredictability sets it apart and above its most recent predecessors.

The biggest difference between Rogue One and all other Star Wars films is that it isn’t about the Skywalker family. As such, there aren’t any Jedi. While still very obviously a science fiction film, the lack of Jedi makes Rogue One feel a little more gritty and a little more grounded.

The battles are devastating – while Jedis are more focused in their attack, Rogue One‘s battles are filled with chaotic blasters sending lasers zipping through the universe, TIE fighters and X-Wings tumbling from the sky onto beaches of sand and explosions, and hand-to-hand combat that is less graceful and more brutish. It is all very satisfying.

At the center of Rogue One are the new rebel characters. Every one of them is worth fighting for and there is never a moment that any of them feel safe – again, the unpredictability is very welcomed. Chirrut, a monk-like follower of the ways of the Force, is by far the most intriguing character. Blind at birth, Chirrut’s devout faith in the Force allows him to sense nearly everything around him. He occasionally fights hordes of Storm Troopers with nothing but a wooden staff. His relationship with the machine gun wielding Baze is a friendship matched only by the friendship between Han and Chewy.

With humor and depth, Rogue One proves that their is hope yet for the Star Wars Disney spin-offs to come.

Also, speaking of Han, Disney’s next foray into the ‘Story’ format will be a Han Solo origin story, staring Alden Ehrenreich as the title character.

The Blu-ray edition of Rogue One is overflowing with extra features including character explorations into Jyn, Cassian, K-2SO, Baze and Chirrut, and Bohdi and Saw, as well as a look into how Carrie Fisher‘s Princess Leia was put into the film.

Even if you have already seen the film in theaters, the Blu-ray features on Rogue One are enough material to make the film feel completely fresh. Watch the Blu-ray trailer below.

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