The lights dimmed and the curtains pulled back from the screen, a series of goose bumps ran across my body as I moved further down in my seat, the screen filled with the all too familiar Lucas film logo – here it was, the first spin off film of the Star Wars franchise, Rogue One.

Rogue One is the story of the audacious and highly risky plan for the rebels fighting the Empire to obtain the plans of a secret weapon in development called the Death Star passed on by Empire fighter pilot Bohdi Rook (Riz Ahmed). The story follows the character Lyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and the rebel team Cassian Landor (Diego Luna), K-2SO (Alan Tudyk), Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen) and Baze Malbus (Wen Jiang) on their adventure to talk to Bohdi and have his message passed on to Lyn, before the rebels find him, and then locate Lyn’s father Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen) and finally to obtain the detailed blue prints of the Death Star and pass these onto the rebel alliance.

Rogue One does not disappoint, either the franchise of Star Wars or as a standalone Star Wars story, the energy is fast paced, the story is deep enough to keep you interested and the visual effects, as is expected from Star Wars is everything you would want – and then more.

Rogue One expands the Star Wars universe and fans are treated to never before seen worlds within the universe – from Darth Vader’s home planet and citadel on Mustafah (the same planet from Star Wars III where Darth Vader was horribly burnt) through to the Jedi world of Jedha where kyber crystals are mined (these power the Death Star and lightsabers).

The film had so many standout moments for me, the beautiful music score that had slight variations and twists on the iconic score written by John Williamson all those years ago, for the first Star Wars trilogy’s. Seeing Darth Vadar back onscreen again and visiting his home planet and citadel, the incredible scene of Vadar in a bacta tank was reminiscent of Luke in Star Wars floating in his own bacta tank after being attacked by a monster on Hoth in the Empire Strikes back.

Two of the most standout moments, and the 2 most talked about elements from Rogue One was the return of Governor Tarkin (Guy Henry) who was elevated to Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars a New Hope played by Peter Crushing – Cushing passed away in 1994 and is replaced by a digital reconstruction in Rogue One – and unless you had not known this information you would have assumed the digital character on screen was the real Cushing.

The Second was the moment we saw Princess Leia Organa (Carrie Fischer) towards the end of the film, digitally recreated as herself from the original A New Hope film in 1977 – Leia wasn’t as successful as Tarkin in its creation – probably since Fischer was, at the time, alive and very recognisably stemming from the release of The Force Awakens.

None the less, Rogue One is a fantastic film, and being a massive Star Wars fan, going in to see this knowing the story and what the ultimate ending was going to be, didn’t detract from how amazing the experience it was, thief film, for me at least has risen in to 4th place within the 8 films that have so far been released in its epic scale and brilliant story telling.

As the first spin off story from the core franchise, I am incredibly excited and salivating with anticipation of the future ones to come – most notably the Han Solo origin stories that are currently underway.

If you haven’t yet got to Rogue One – get into cinemas and see it – it’s really the best way to experience any Star Wars film.

5 stars

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A founding member of Melbanight with a huge obsession on Melbourne, art, film, fashion & style. I can usually be found in a bar or cafe around Melbourne, or behind a computer writing & designing for Melbanight. Feel free to follow me or read more about me.