Phil Haddad
Phil Haddad

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from Star Wars to startups:
my thoughts on movies, marketing, and emerging technology.

3 reasons I'm expecting you to be just as excited about Rogue One: a Star Wars Story as I am

It's mid-October 2016, clowns are terrorizing our country, we're weeks away from one of the craziest Presidential elections we've ever seen, and Disney is about to kick marketing for their latest entry in the Star Wars series into full gear. I wrote a bit about why Rogue One is even a thing back in April, and with the newest trailer dropping today, I wanted to share some of the things that are setting this up to be one of the best Star Wars films to date. Just a reminder - this is NOT a sequel to The Force Awakens, it is the first of the Star Wars Story movies, films that take place in various places and times outside of the roman-numeral designated core series.

That cast

Death Star? Check. Vader helmet? Check. Floating heads? Check. Must be a  Star Wars  poster.

Death Star? Check. Vader helmet? Check. Floating heads? Check. Must be a Star Wars poster.

One of the things that has impressed me most with Disney's acquisition of both Marvel and Lucasfilm is the level of talent they attract to their films. With The Force Awakens, we were treated to a cast of familiar favorites and new faces (who were amazing, I might add), and with Rogue One, Lucasfilm is taking the talent up a notch. 

To name just a few: Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything, A Monster Calls), Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal the TV show, Casino Royale), Ben Mendelsohn (Bloodline, The Dark Knight Rises) and Riz Ahmed (Jason Bourne, The Night Of) are all some of the top rising talent in Hollywood. These are names that will become more and more recognizable. If Rogue One doesn’t live up to the hype, I’m confident it won’t be for lack of acting talent.


Along with acting talent, Marvel and Lucasfilm are attracting the right directors to lead these movies. Instead of looking for directors with an extensive history helming blockbusters, Disney has gone after directors who are great at telling stories, knowing that action and special effects talent can be brought in to support these storytellers.

Gareth Edwards, the director of Rogue One, has only one larger film under belt: the widely-liked 2014 Godzilla movie. When his selection was initially announced, it was made clear that he was brought in to deliver a gritty, grounded war movie in the Star Wars universe. Various supporting unit directors and effects talent on Rogue One have also worked on movies like Saving Private Ryan and Zero Dark Thirty to name a couple.

What gets me most excited so far about Edwards’ style, though, is the use of beautiful landscapes and the sense of scale he is introducing to the Star Wars universe. Yeah, we know the Death Star is the size of a moon, but that’s not exactly easy to visualize while it’s just hanging out in space. With giant Jedi statues and in-atmosphere Star Destroyers, Edwards is adding a feeling of scale we’ve never seen in Star Wars to date. Check out some stills from the trailer to get a idea of what I’m talking about. 


Lastly, Darth-freaking Vader (and yes, James Earl Jones is back again for voice talent). While I doubt he will have a ton of screen time, I'm hopeful we’ll get to see him live up to his reputation in this film, something we never really got in the original trilogy.

darth vader star wars rogue one

Watch the full trailer here: