The Atlantic

Rogue One and the Challenge of the New(ish)

The first Star Wars “anthology” spin-off tries to stand on its own, and succeeds intermittently.
Source: Lucasfilm / Disney

Not long after Disney acquired the Star Wars universe in 2012—insert evil empire joke here—the studio announced that in addition to the sequel trilogy that began with last year’s The Force Awakens, it would produce occasional “anthology” films. Though set in the same cinematic universe, these stories would not be tied directly to the characters and story arc of the new and original trilogies.

How this would work in practice was always a bit of an open question, and now, with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, we have the beginnings of an answer. The movie, directed by Gareth Edwards (Godzilla), is largely free of the weight of myth and expectation that were borne by The Force Awakens, and this turns out to be

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