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ROGUE ONE - A STAR WARS STORY

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, or simply Rogue One, is a 2016 American science fiction film directed by Gareth Edwards and written by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy, based on a story by John Knoll and Gary Whitta. It was produced by Lucasfilm and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is the first installment of the Star Wars Anthology series, set immediately before the events of the original Star Wars film. The cast includes Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Riz Ahmed, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Jiang Wen and Forest Whitaker. Rogue One follows a group of rebels on a mission to steal the plans for the Death Star, the Galactic Empire's superweapon.

Based on an idea first pitched by Knoll ten years before it entered development, the film was made to be different in tone and style from the traditional Star Wars films, including omitting the conventional opening crawl. Principal photography on the film began at Elstree Studios near London during early August 2015 and wrapped in February 2016. The film went through extensive reshoots and additional filming in mid-June 2016, with Gilroy joining for these. The film premiered in Los Angeles on December 10th, 2016, and was released in the United States on December 16th, 2016.

Rogue One received generally positive reviews, with praise for its acting, action sequences, musical score, and darker tone, although some criticism was directed at the characterization and the film's use of computer-generated imagery to recreate the likenesses of some actors. The film has grossed over $1 billion worldwide, making it the second highest-grossing film of 2016 and 22nd overall unadjusted for inflation. It received two Academy Awards nominations for Best Sound Mixing and Best Visual Effects.

Rogue One is set between the films Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, during the Age of the Empire. The film revolves around a group of resistance fighters who unite to steal the plans to the Death Star, the Galactic Empire's deep space mobile battle station that is capable of destroying entire planets. The theft of the plans was first referenced in the opening crawl of A New Hope, which described the event as the Rebel Alliance's "first victory against the evil Galactic Empire." The crawl further states that, "During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans" to the Death Star. The opening scenes of A New Hope deal with that battle's aftermath, with Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan fleeing from the Empire with the plans in order to deliver them to the Rebel Alliance. The Death Star is ultimately destroyed in A New Hope after the princess and her companions, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Chewbacca, and the droids R2-D2 and C-3PO, deliver the plans to the Rebellion and a weakness in the station is discovered.

The title Rogue One refers to a callsign, but is also intended as a pun, as the film is the first canon live-action film that is not part of the saga and is therefore the "rogue" one. Unlike the previous live-action films, Rogue One does not revolve around the Jedi. Rather, the film is about a group of people who do not have the ability to use the Force and have to find a way to bring hope to a galaxy ruled by the Empire. Also unlike the original trilogy, which provided a black and white view of good and evil, Edwards stated at Celebration Anaheim that Rogue One "is gray" and that the film could be described as "Real...This is a real place that we're really in..." Finally, unlike all other Star Wars shows and movies (including Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels) it does not feature the traditional Star Wars title crawl, further asserting itself as the "rogue one".

Producer Kathleen Kennedy explained that the stand-alone films would not cross over with the films of the sequel trilogy, stating: George was so clear as to how that works. The canon that he created was the Star Wars saga. Right now, Episode VII falls within that canon. The spinoff movies, or we may come up with some other way to call those films, they exist within that vast universe that he created. There is no attempt being made to carry characters (from the stand-alone films) in and out of the saga episodes. Consequently, from the creative standpoint, it's a roadmap that George made pretty clear.

John Knoll, visual effects supervisor for the Star Wars prequel trilogy, first pitched the idea for the film 10 years before its development; after the Disney acquisition he felt as if he had to pitch it again or forever wonder "what might've happened if I had".

In May 2014, Disney announced that Gareth Edwards would direct the film and Gary Whitta would write the script. Cinematographer Greig Fraser revealed in October that he would work on the film.

In January 2015, it was revealed that Whitta had completed his work on the script, and would no longer be with the project and that Simon Kinberg was considered as a replacement. Later in the month, it was announced that Chris Weitz had signed to write the script for the film and by March 2015, the title was announced. Edwards stated that the style of the film would be similar to that of a war film, stating, "It's the reality of war. Good guys are bad. Bad guys are good. It's complicated, layered; a very rich scenario in which to set a movie."

In January 2015, The Hollywood Reporter stated that numerous actresses, including Tatiana Maslany, Rooney Mara, and Felicity Jones were being tested for the film's lead. In February 2015, it was announced that Jones was in final talks to star in the film, while Aaron Paul and Édgar Ramírez were being eyed for the male lead role. In Jones was officially cast in March 2015 and in May, Ben Mendelsohn, Riz Ahmed, and Diego Luna were added to the cast in the lead roles. Forest Whitaker joined the cast in June 2015, and in July, Jonathan Aris was cast to play Senator Jebel. Model Eunice Olumide revealed she had a part in the film the following February and Genevieve O'Reilly was cast as Mon Mothma, reprising her role from Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. James Earl Jones was confirmed to return as the voice of Darth Vader in June 2016.

CAST OF CHARACTERS

Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso
The young renegade woman who is detained for her crimes against the Empire until she is freed by the Rebel Alliance. She has used many aliases during her life such as Lianna Hallik, Tanith Pontha, and Kestrel Dawn, while her father affectionately calls her "Stardust". Beau and Dolly Gadsdon play the young Jyn Erso at different points in her life.

Diego Luna as Cassian Andor
Rebel Alliance Captain and Intelligence officer.

Ben Mendelsohn as Orson Krennic
Director of Advanced Weapons Research for the Imperial Military.

Donnie Yen as Chirrut Imwe
A Zatoichi-esque blind warrior who believes in the Force. He is said to be one of the Guardians of the Whills. The studio had only two choices to play Chirrut: Donnie Yen and Jet Li. Yen was approached first because of his salary of $4 million against Li's $10 million. To gauge his interest and as a secondary plan, director Gareth Edwards also offered him the other role of Baze. Yen expressed interest in playing Chirrut but was hesitant in accepting it, because it required him to be away in London for five months. However, it was his young son's love of the Star Wars films and comics that wore down his reluctance, and it was his idea to make his character blind.

Mads Mikkelsen as Galen Erso
Jyn's father and a research scientist.

Alan Tudyk as K-2SO
A Rebel-owned Imperial enforcer droid who was reprogrammed by Cassian Andor. Alan Tudyk played pilot Hoban "Wash" Washburne in the TV series Firefly (2002) and its feature film sequel Serenity (2005). The Star Wars movies were one of Joss Whedon's influences behind Firefly/Serenity. The series was about a crew of former galactic war veterans turned space pirates doing legal or illegal jobs as they try to make a living and whilst evading an interplanetary government. The droid K-2SO can be heard saying the classical Star Wars phrase "I have a bad feeling about this" while entering the train towards the imperial base with Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor. The phrase is first uttered by Luke Skywalker in Episode IV and then again by Han Solo, Princess Leia, C-3PO, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Anakin Skywalker in all of the other Star Wars movies.

During the production of Rogue One, Tudyk had a chance to meet Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) and compared notes on their respective droid experiences. On an appearance on Conan, Tudyk recounted that Daniels "went on about the suit that he had to wear, and that originally they ‘put screws in my head and they closed it,’ and he had to be on this thing. He said ‘wait a minute, are you wearing an actual robot costume or are they doing it in motion capture?'" According to Tudyk, he confirmed that K-2SO was a motion capture performance, to which Daniels responded, "you shit." Tudyk ran into Daniels again during the Rogue One premiere and asked Daniels to tell him how he did as a droid after the screening was over. "I saw him at the party afterwards, and he came up and said, ‘F*ck you.’ And that’s one of the best compliments I got!"

Riz Ahmed as Bodhi Rook
A former Imperial cargo pilot who defects to the Rebels under the influence of Galen.

Jiang Wen as Baze Malbus
A Rebel warrior, mercenary and longtime companion of Chirrut Îmwe.

Forest Whitaker as Saw Gerrera
A veteran of the Clone Wars and a friend of the Erso family who had mentored Jyn in her later childhood years.

James Earl Jones as Darth Vader
Jones reprises his role from previous films as the voice of Darth Vader, who is physically portrayed by Spencer Wilding and Daniel Naprous, replacing David Prowse who played the role in the original films. Darth Vader is first shown living in a castle-like fortress that appears to be built on an active volcano. This is based on an unused concept created by Ralph McQuarrie after Star Wars (1977) was filmed but before the plot of Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) was developed. The planet is Mustafar, the place where Anakin Skywalker made his final transformation into Vader (and where his body became extensively injured) in Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005).

Grand Moff Tarkin and Princess Leia Organa
Tarkin and Leia are played by Guy Henry and Ingvild Deila, respectively, with the digital likenesses of Peter Cushing and Carrie Fisher superimposed. Henry also provides the voice for Tarkin, while archival audio of Fisher is used for Leia. Carrie Fisher (the original Princess Leia) passed away over a week after the film's cinema release in the United States. She was able to see the film before her death and reportedly squealed with joy at seeing the younger version of herself at the end of the movie.

Henry previously played Sherlock Holmes in Young Sherlock: The Mystery of the Manor House (1982) during the 1980s, using Cushing's role in Sherlock Holmes (1964) as his model. The highly ranked Imperial officer Tarkin was designated in Star Wars promotional materials as "Grand Moff Tarkin," but in the film Star Wars (1977) he was named only as "Governor Tarkin." He was called that by Princess Leia when she was brought to his presence. In this film he is again referred to as "Governor Tarkin." The title "Moff," which according to printed materials is a kind of Admiral, has never been spoken in Star Wars live action movies. Printed sources beginning in the late 1980s gave Tarkin the first name Wilhuff, which has also never been spoken on film.

When Leia appears, it continues the tradition of at least one "Skywalker" character appearing in each movie's closing shot before the credits. Anakin appears in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999) and Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002). Luke appears as a baby in Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005), later as an adult (with Leia) in Star Wars (1977), Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980), and Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983) and alone in Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015).

Angus MacInnes and Drewe Henley are featured as Gold Leader Dutch Vander and Red Leader Garven Dreis, respectively, via unused footage from A New Hope; MacInnes returned to record new dialogue for Vander and Henley's new dialogue was assembled from archival material as Henley had died.

David Ankrum, who voiced Wedge Antilles in A New Hope, reprises his role in a vocal cameo. Ian McElhinney, Michael Smiley, Andy de la Tour and Tim Beckmann play General Jan Dodonna, Dr. Evazan, General Hurst Romodi and Captain Raymus Antilles, respectively. Warwick Davis plays Weeteef Cyubee, a member of Saw Gerrera's Partisans. Jimmy Smits, Genevieve O'Reilly, and Anthony Daniels reprise their roles from previous films as Bail Organa, Mon Mothma, and C-3PO, respectively. The appearance of Anthony Daniels as C-3PO makes him the only actor to appear in every movie in the series thus far.

Additionally, Alistair Petrie plays General Davits Draven, Ben Daniels plays General Antoc Merrick, and Valene Kane plays Lyra Erso, Jyn's mother. Jonathan Aris, Fares Fares and Sharon Duncan-Brewster appear as Senators Nower Jebel, Vasp Vaspar, and Tynnra Pamlo, respectively. Simon Farnaby plays a member of Blue Squadron. Jonathan Stephens appears as Rebel Alliance member Corporal Tonc. Nick Kellington plays Bistan, the door gunner on a U-wing during the battle on Scarif. Ian Whyte plays Moroff, a member of Saw Gerrera's Partisans. Rian Johnson and Ram Bergman, director and producer of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, respectively, have a cameo as two Death Star technicians. Richard Franklin plays one of the Death Star engineers.

Principal photography on the film began at Elstree Studios, in Hertfordshire, on August 8th, 2015. Much of the other photography was completed at or near Pinewood Studios at Buckinghamshire, England where huge sets were built to complement scenes filmed elsewhere in the world. The film was shot using Ultra Panavision 70 lenses with Arri Alexa 65 large format digital 6K cameras.

Filming locations were used around the world. In Iceland, the crew shot in Reynisfjara, and around the mountains of Hjörleifshöfði and Hafursey at Mýrdalssandur, which were used to represent Lah'mu and Eadu. Also used were the Krafla area with its volcanic crater and around Lake Mývatn's rock formations. The islands of Gan and Baresdhoo of the Laamu Atoll in the Maldives, as well as RAF Bovingdon, were used to represent Scarif. Wadi Rum in Jordan was used to represent Jedha. Pymmes Park in Edmonton, London was also used for location filming, and scenes set on Yavin 4 were filmed at RAF Cardington. Gareth Edwards selected the London Underground's Canary Wharf station as a location for a chase scene in an Imperial base; the location shoot took place between midnight and 4 am, when the station was closed to the public.

The film spent a total of $265 million and received a $45 million subsidy from the United Kingdom's film incentive program. On February 11th, 2016, Disney executives stated that the film was "virtually completed". Several weeks of pre-scheduled reshoots began in mid-June 2016. In August 2016, The Hollywood Reporter wrote that Tony Gilroy had spearheaded the reshoots, in lieu of Edwards, and that Gilroy would have just as much say in the final cut of the film as Edwards. Gilroy was initially brought on in order to retool the ending of the film, which was not coming together as hoped, under Edwards's direction. Fearing that Disney would require the survival of at least some of the new characters, an alternate, happier ending was conceived with characters Jyn and Cassian escaping the destruction of Scarif; when it became apparent that Disney would accept the deaths of those characters, the producers opted for the more tragic ending they had envisioned. At least some footage from the unused ending was produced and made it into early trailers.

Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) produced the film's visual effects. ILM used CGI and digitally altered archive footage to insert Peter Cushing's likeness over the body of actor Guy Henry. Lucasfilm secured permission from the late actor's estate to include him in the film. The team reportedly searched through countless hours of Cushing footage in order to find suitable material to build from, then Henry provided the motion capture and voice work with the reference material augmented and mapped over his performance like a digital body mask. Cushing's family were heavily involved with the creation and had input right down to "small, subtle adjustments". Cushing's mannerisms, including his manner of speaking and facial tics, were studied by the visual effects artists and applied to the digital Tarkin. A similar process was used in the portrayal of Princess Leia; Carrie Fisher's appearance as Leia in the first film was superimposed over Norwegian actress Ingvild Deila's face and archival audio of Fisher saying "Hope" was used to voice the character.

The space battle features the Blue Squadron of X-wings (as well as Red Squadron and Gold Squadron already known from the original Star Wars (1977)). Blue Squadron was supposed to be in the original film, but because the blue color on the fighters created issues with the blue screen technique that could not be overcome with the technology available in 1977, the color was changed to Red. Gareth Edwards and his creative team discovered some old film canisters while rummaging around the Lucasfilm warehouses. When he asked what they were, an employee said they were old Star Wars (1977) footage. The discovery led to the inclusion of unused Episode IV material featuring Red Leader and Gold Leader in this movie.

Post-production wrapped on November 28, 2016.

Alexandre Desplat, who had worked with Edwards on the Godzilla reboot, was originally to serve as composer for the film. Desplat commented that "[Edwards and I] had a great partnership on Godzilla, and I can't wait to be starting with him. It will be in a few weeks from now, and it is very exciting and frightening at the same time because it's such a legendary project. To be called to come after John Williams... it's a great challenge for me." However, in September 2016, it was announced that Michael Giacchino would be replacing Desplat as composer, after the film's reshoots altered the post-production schedule, and reportedly left Desplat no longer available.

Giacchino only had four and a half weeks to compose the music for the film, beginning almost immediately after finishing production on Doctor Strange. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly in November 2016, Giacchino stated: "It is a film that is in many ways a really great World War II movie, and I loved that about it. But it also has this huge, huge heart at the center of it, and that was the one thing I just didn't want to discount. Yes, it's an action movie, and it's a Star Wars film, and it has all the things that you would come to expect and love about that, but I didn't want to forget that it was also an incredibly emotional movie as well. That was what really pulled me in."

Giacchino incorporated John Williams' themes from previous films into the score and the official soundtrack was released by Walt Disney Records on December 16th, 2016. This is the 2nd time composer Giacchino has composed the score for a film in a series whose popular theme music had been compsed by John Williams. The first was "Jurassic World" (2015) from the "Jurassic Park" franchise.

Costume designer David Crossman stated that some of the original costumes used in Star Wars (1977), Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983) were reused for Rogue One.

Darth Vader's appearance in this film is meticulously patterned after his look in the original "Star Wars". Whilst Vader's chest plate is uncovered in later installments, his costume initially had his Sith robes draped over his shield, as well as red lenses in the eye holes of the mask. Considering this film takes place mere days before the original film, the costume designers recreated Vader's look down to the detail.

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Trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, in which Jyn Erso leads a group of unlikely heroes to steal the plans to the Death Star, the Empires ultimate weapon of destruction.
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Rogue One premiered at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles on December 10th, 2016 (shipped to theaters under the name "Los Alamos.") and was released in certain European countries on December 14th, 2016, and in North America on December 16th, with China getting the film on January 6th, 2017.

Promotion of Rogue One was initially delayed by the release of the film Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation in July 2015, because the titles are similar. Paramount Pictures registered and cleared the MI title with the Motion Picture Association of America in January 2015, well before Disney announced the title of its forthcoming Star Wars spinoff. Disney and Lucasfilm had to reach an agreement with Paramount over promotion in order to avoid any confusion in the public mind. Disney agreed to embargo promotion on Rogue One until after mid-2015, with the exception of a very short teaser which was screened at Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim that year.

A teaser trailer for Rogue One, released by Lucasfilm on April 7th, 2016, was praised by reviewers for its portrayal of strong female characters. The Daily Telegraph described Jyn Erso's character as "a roguish, Han Solo-style heroine", calling the film "progressive", while noting its painstaking faithfulness to the production design style of the original Star Wars trilogy. The Hollywood Reporter also noted the visual nods to the original trilogy, and examined the film's possible narrative direction, considering that the outcome is to some extent already revealed in the opening crawl of A New Hope. The Atlantic writer David Sims stated that the trailer brought "back some memorable pieces of architecture, from the lumbering AT-AT walkers to the Death Star itself, not to mention the glorious 70s costuming of Star Wars." He added that the trailer has "the look", blending the old with the new. The trailer was viewed close to 30 million times in its first 29 hours, at a rate of 800,000 views per hour, from Facebook and YouTube, which is 200,000 views shy of what the first teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens was receiving in November 2014.

In June 2016, Rogue One was promoted at the Star Wars Celebration Europe III event in London. During the event, a new official poster was unveiled, which depicts a battle taking place on the tropical planet Scarif, with the Death Star looming large in a blue sky, above which is printed the tagline "A Rebellion Built on Hope". A second teaser trailer was also unveiled, screened exclusively for the Celebration audience, and not streamed online. This new trailer was reviewed favorably by critics; The Daily Telegraph noted that the trailer revealed new locations such as the planets Jedha and Scarif, and that its most significant revelation came in the final seconds of the teaser, with the appearance of Darth Vader, reflected in a computer screen and accompanied by his classic breathing sound effect. Variety also hailed the Vader reveal, and noted that the emphasis of the production was much more on the kinetic depiction of large battle sequences and full-on warfare, comparing it to Francis Ford Coppola's 1979 Vietnam War epic Apocalypse Now. A showreel was also shown during the event, which featured footage from the film, cut with behind-the-scenes shots and interviews with the director and cast members. The second trailer was shown publicly during a broadcast of the 2016 Summer Olympics and received favourable media reviews; Wired stated that the trailer was "littered with nostalgic throwbacks to the original trilogy", while Rolling Stone described the CGI landscape shots seen in the footage as "eye-poppingly gorgeous".

A further trailer released in October 2016 prompted the Hollywood Reporter to comment that the newly revealed footage looked like "a trailer to a different movie than the one advertised earlier", remarking that Jyn Erso appeared to be portrayed as a more vulnerable character, and highlighting the appearance of Galen Erso as a protective father figure. Vanity Fair also commented on the emphasis given to Jyn's relationship with her father, suggesting that Rogue One was drawing on "the Star Wars franchise's greatest natural resource: daddy issues".

The film's publicity tour would begin in Mexico on November 23nd, 2016.

A downloadable expansion pack was released for the video game Star Wars Battlefront, titled Rogue One: Scarif, that allows players the ability to play through the various locations, characters and set pieces from the planet introduced in Rogue One. A free virtual reality mission for PlayStation 4 was also released alongside the expansion. Several characters and concepts from the film were also included in Star Wars: Force Arena, while the film's Death Troopers appeared in the season three finale of Star Wars Rebels.

In Asia, Disney focused marketing efforts on Donnie Yen, where his individual poster is used for marketing in territories including Japan, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong, China, Vietnam and Malaysia. The official Star Wars Facebook page of the respective Asian countries also featured clips and videos of Donnie Yen speaking various languages, greeting fans and telling them to support Rogue One. In addition, Disney also released various versions of international trailers with more footage of Yen.

A tie-in novel to the film, Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel, was released on November 15th, 2016. Written by veteran Star Wars novelist James Luceno, the story is set some years before the events of Rogue One, and provides a backstory to the 2016 film. The film's novelization was written by Alexander Freed, and was released on December 16th, 2016. Three months later Rogue One was released on Digital HD on March 24th, 2017, and on Blu-ray and DVD on April 4th, 2017.

In late November 2016, box office projections for the United States and Canada had the film grossing $100–150 million during its opening weekend. Disney chairman Bob Iger noted that Disney and Lucasfilm did not expect Rogue One to match The Force Awakens' total gross of $2.1 billion, nor its $248 million opening. Pre-sale tickets for the film went on sale at 12:01 AM EST on November 28, 2016. Within 10 minutes, ticket sale sites such as Fandango crashed, much like The Force Awakens had the year prior. In its first 24 hours, the film had the second-highest amount of pre-sale tickets ever sold, behind only The Force Awakens.

In the United States, the film made $29 million from its Thursday night previews, making it the highest grossing Thursday opening of 2016. On Friday, the film earned $71.1 million, earning the 12th highest grossing opening day of all-time. The film grossed $46.3 million on Saturday, securing a total of $155.1 million in its opening weekend, the third biggest debut of 2016.

It topped the box office once again in its second weekend, grossing $64 million (down 58.7%) over the three day weekend, and $96.1 million over the four day weekend. On Christmas Day, it grossed $25.9 million. It finished first at the box office again in its third weekend, grossing $49.6 million (-22.5%) over the three day weekend and $65.5 million over the four day weekend, becoming the seventh film of 2016 to top the box office three times, following Deadpool, Zootopia, The Jungle Book, Finding Dory, Suicide Squad, and Moana. In its fourth weekend, Sunday projections had the film grossing $22 million, besting newcomer Hidden Figures' $21.8 million. However, final figures the following day revealed the film tallied a weekend total of $21.9 million, falling to second place behind Hidden Figures' $22.8 million.

Rogue One grossed a total of $532.2 million in the United States and Canada and $523.8 million in other countries for a worldwide total of $1.056 billion. On January 21, 2017, the film became Disney's fourth movie of 2016 to earn $1 billion in ticket sales, joining Captain America: Civil War, Zootopia and Finding Dory. It is the second highest-grossing film of 2016, the second highest-grossing Star Wars film, and the 22nd highest-grossing film of all time, all unadjusted for inflation. It is also the third Star Wars film to gross over $1 billion worldwide, following The Phantom Menace and The Force Awakens. In the United States, it was the top-grossing film of 2016. Deadline.com calculated the net profit of the film to be $319.6 million, when factoring together all expenses and revenues for the film, making it the 3rd most profitable release of 2016.

Rogue One received generally positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 85% and the site's critical consensus reads, "Rogue One draws deep on Star Wars mythology while breaking new narrative and aesthetic ground - and suggesting a bright blockbuster future for the franchise." On Metacritic, the film has a score 65 out of 100 indicating "generally favorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.

IGN reviewer Eric Goldman gave the film 9/10, saying, "Rogue One is a movie crammed with fan service, but when fan service is done this well, there's little to complain about and much to adore." Peter Travers of Rolling Stone gave the film 3.5 out of 4 stars, writing, "this spin-off/prequel has the same primitive, lived-in, emotional, loopy, let's-put-on-a-show spirit that made us fall in love with the original trilogy." PopMatters wrote, "Rogue One seems to enjoy spending time on a whole new batch of moons and planets we haven't seen before, reveling in the clutter and clamor of far-flung settlements where anti-Imperial sentiments fester. But the film is bogged down in engineering the complex maneuverings of spy games, dogfights, and the most sprawling Rebel-versus-Empire land battle scene since the opening of The Empire Strikes Back." Justin Chang, writing for the Los Angeles Times, called Rogue One "a swiftly paced, rough-and-ready entertainment."

The New York Times wrote, "All the pieces are there, in other words, like Lego figures in a box. The problem is that the filmmakers haven't really bothered to think of anything very interesting to do with them. A couple of 9-year-olds on a screen-free rainy afternoon would come up with better adventures, and probably also better dialogue." Richard Brody of The New Yorker called the film "lobotomized and "depersonalized", and wrote it "isn't so much a movie as a feature-length promotional film for itself; it's a movie that is still waiting to be made." The Washington Post wrote "Rogue One represents an unobjectionable exercise in franchise extension. It's fine. It'll do. For now."

Peter Bradshaw, film critic of The Guardian says "Rogue One doesn't really go rogue at any stage, and it isn't a pop culture event like The Force Awakens, in whose slipstream this appears; part of its charm resides in the eerie, almost dreamlike effect of continually producing familiar elements, reshuffled and reconfigured, a reaching back to the past and hinting at a preordained future. There are some truly spectacular cameos from much-loved personae, involving next-level digital effects — almost creepily exact, so that watching feels at various stages like going into a time machine, back to the 80s and 70s".

Rogue One introduced many new characters into the Star Wars mythology, but most critics and general audiences have pointed out that Chirrut Îmwe, played by actor Donnie Yen, and K2SO, played by Alan Tudyk, were the highlights and stole the movie. Donnie Yen's performance, in particular, was also applauded by audiences worldwide. In an official poll on the Star Wars webpage opened in May 2017, which more 30,000 people voted, Chirrut Îmwe was voted as audiences' favorite Rogue One character.

While much of the computer-generated imagery (CGI) received plaudits, some news organizations published criticism about certain aspects, including the visual effects (VFX) that were used to revive Peter Cushing, who died in 1994, as Grand Moff Tarkin. The Guardian's Catherine Shoard, described the "resurrection" as a "digital indignity". Joseph Walsh of The Guardian raised legal and ethical issues about bringing a long-dead actor to life. However, Lucasfilm had obtained permission from Peter Cushing's estate before deciding to use his likeness. The Washington Times's Eric Althoff rejected the entire concept of using CGI to recreate a deceased actor: "Alas, what we get is, basically, not a simulation, but an approximation of a simulation - a dead character portrayed by a living actor inhabiting not the character, but imitating the dead actor."

Pictured below: Peter Cushing playing Grand Moff Tarkin in the original Star Wars (left) and his Rogue One CGI counterpart (right).

Some journalists also criticized the quality of the CGI that was to represent a younger Carrie Fisher in order to portray Princess Leia at an earlier time, as well as its suitability in movie-making. Eliana Dockterman of Time wrote that "there was something particularly plastic about this version of the young Carrie Fisher, so smooth and so perfect it couldn't be real, that pulled me out of the moment." Kelly Lawler of USA Today said: "...while Tarkin is merely unnerving, the Leia cameo is so jarring as to take the audience completely out of the film at its most emotional moment. Leia's appearance was meant to help the film end on a hopeful note (quite literally, as 'hope' is her line), but instead it ends on a weird and unsettling one." (We were thrilled to see Leia at the end of the movie and if the truth be told, got a little verklempt.)

Who's On First?
Rouge One featured a number of "firsts" in a Star Wars film...

This is the first Star Wars film in which no one mentions the name "Skywalker."

The first Star Wars movie to not feature a Lightsaber battle between two or more characters.

The first live-action, theatrical Star Wars movie to not include a Jedi as a main character. Darth Vader, who is a Sith and ex-Jedi, is a secondary character.

The first (and only to date) Star Wars film without any transition wipes.

The first theatrical Star Wars film to have dialogue in the closing scene.

This is the first live action Star Wars movie to not use scrolling text "crawl" at the opening of the movie. The animated film Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008) also did not feature a crawl. Though, it does still have the standard "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away..." opening text.

The first Star Wars film to introduce locations with on-screen captions.

This is the first full appearance of the original "jump to hyperspace" effect seen from the inside of a ship's cockpit since Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983), thirty-three years prior. The effect was seen in a trailer for Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015), but was not used in the final cut of that film. Instead, the effect is mostly obscured by the Rathtar that was clinging to (and subsequently torn apart on) the cockpit window of the Millenium Falcon. An animated recreation of the effect did appear in Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008).

Filmed with digital Arri Alexa 65 cameras using Ultra Panavision 70 lenses. This marks Rogue One the first Star Wars film, as well as the first Disney film since The Black Cauldron (1985), to be shot in the 70mm widescreen film format.

Despite being a character trademark, this is the first Star Wars movie that Darth Vader says the word "choke."

First Star Wars movie to feature a resort-like planet. Awash in leafy palms, sunny weather and clear blue seas, planet Scarif (aka the Maldives) was the designated storage location for the Empire's plans for the Death Star.

The first Star Wars movie in which all of the main characters die.

K-2SO is the first major droid character to be "killed" in a live action Star Wars movie.

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What was the original name of the first Star Wars movie when it went into production?

Star Wars: The Adventures of Luke Starkiller
The Star Wars
Adventures of Luke Skywalker
Adventures of Luke Starkiller, As Taken From the Journal of the Whills, Saga 1: The Star Wars

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