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Prequel Problems: Rogue One

Iopgod

Well-known member
I may have said this before, but it turns out the thing what you need in a film for it to be a Star Wars film is a proper theme-tune-over-text-crawl and the contents of the rest of the film doesn't really matter very much. R1 didn't have one, therefore logically must be terrible and not worth watching.
 

Alex Richards

A musical Hubble Space Telescope
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If we're talking comparisons between iterations, the Clone Wars TV series premiered on Cartoon Network with 4 million viewers, largely retained through the show. The Thrawn Trilogy had combined sales of 15 million when it was released, so that's probably about 5 million people who bought the book.

So honestly any major character in the Clone Wars is approximately as well known as literally the biggest character in the EU novels.
 

Hendryk

The sunlit uplands are just around the corner
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The Death Star’s fatal flaw exploited by the Rebels in ANH, its unshielded exhaust port, is a genuine oversight, with the novel Death Star further hinting it was karmically caused by the Empire’s mistreatment of its slave labour – it was spotted during construction, but never fully reported and corrected due to a slave falling ill.
As an adult who has found out how large-scale projects are put together, I find the idea that the Death Star's design flaw was a genuine oversight rather than deliberate sabotage a lot more convincing than I did as a kid. I'm also forgiving of the idea that its construction lasted years longer than initially intended because it kept running into fresh problems. Frankly, these days I'm more impressed by projects that are actually completed at all and don't immediately fall to pieces.

I was more thinking of (as I hinted above) how Rogue One, especially the earlier parts, is way too dark – I don’t mean in the edgy way, I mean literally. It goes to more planets than most Star Wars films, and an awful lot of them feel confusingly, indistinguishably dark.
I think it makes sense that a lot of the planets we get to see are only marginally inhabitable--if they were better suited to large scale settlement, they would already be settled, and when you've seen one space age megacity, you've seen 'em all.
 

Charles EP M.

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"The exhaust port is intentional sabotage" does seem a big flaw to me - like @Hendryk says, these sort of oversights happen and it was a difficult target to hit (one surrounded by guns too so the Empire seems to have known about it). Once it's a cunning plan of sabotage, there are questions like "did nobody notice he was doing that", "why did he pick something that you need high-level skills and the Force to hit" etc.
 

Hendryk

The sunlit uplands are just around the corner
Published by SLP
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"The exhaust port is intentional sabotage" does seem a big flaw to me - like @Hendryk says, these sort of oversights happen and it was a difficult target to hit (one surrounded by guns too so the Empire seems to have known about it). Once it's a cunning plan of sabotage, there are questions like "did nobody notice he was doing that", "why did he pick something that you need high-level skills and the Force to hit" etc.
I'm coincidentally reading about the 1931 Nautilus Arctic expedition, which intended to see whether the polar regions are navigable underwater. The submarine left harbor in June and it was only in August, as it was reaching Arctic latitudes, until anyone saw fit to check if the diving planes were installed. Of course they weren't, and without them the ship was impossible to control while submerged.

As the well-worn saying goes, don't assume malice when incompetence will do.
 

Hendryk

The sunlit uplands are just around the corner
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I have a bit of trouble picturing anybody else building their most important and complicated superweapon - stealth bombers, supercarriers, etc - with slave labor, but so be it.
Well the Nazis did, so there's that.

I'm not sure if the Soviets relied on forced labor for the actual construction of their weapons, but many of their aircraft were designed by engineers who had been convicted of some wrongthink or other and were working from special sections of the Gulag system called sharashkas.
 

Ncw8

The Nixonian Royalist - I’ve got them on my list
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"The exhaust port is intentional sabotage" does seem a big flaw to me - like @Hendryk says, these sort of oversights happen and it was a difficult target to hit (one surrounded by guns too so the Empire seems to have known about it).
It’s worth listening to what the Death Star architect has to say:


“Do you know how much exhaust is created by a moon size battle station? It housed a laser that blew up planets. It needs a lot of ventilation. The fact that I was able to keep the exhaust port to the size of a womp rat should earn me some goddamn respect around here!”
 

Ncw8

The Nixonian Royalist - I’ve got them on my list
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The earliest description of the stealing of the Death Star plans was in the 1981 NPR radio adaptation of ANH (or Star Wars, as it was then known). This adaptation started a bit before the events in the film. In episode 2, Points of Origin, the Death Star plans are obtained after a Rebel attack on an Imperial convoy. Rebel agents then transmit the Death Star plans from the planet Toprawa to the Tantive IV.

Edit: Just noticed that the radio drama does get mentioned in the article. That’ll teach me to avoid posting without reading carefully.
 
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Thande

UP THE WORKERS & Ukrainians
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The earliest description of the stealing of the Death Star plans was in the 1981 NPR radio adaptation of ANH (or Star Wars, as it was then known). This adaptation started a bit before the events in the film. In episode 2, Points of Origin, the Death Star plans are obtained after a Rebel attack on an Imperial convoy. Rebel agents then transmit the Death Star plans from the planet Toprawa to the Tantive IV.

Edit: Just noticed that the radio drama does get mentioned in the article. That’ll teach me to avoid posting without reading carefully.
It does, but I'm not too familiar with it (someone has since Questionably Legally uploaded it to Youtube, so I'm thinking of listening to it) so thanks for the information. I only know about it because it was quoted a lot in the earliest-published Star Wars encyclopedias (the ones that still acknowledge 'The Glove of Darth Vader' and all that rubbish) as a beta canon source.

People above make some good points about problems with the 'it's a deliberate flaw' change. I suppose one could argue that Galen had some clever way in mind to exploit the flaw that doesn't involve the Force or a trench run, but died before he could tell them?
 
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Ncw8

The Nixonian Royalist - I’ve got them on my list
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It does, but I'm not too familiar with it (someone has since Questionably Legally uploaded it to Youtube, so I'm thinking of listening to it) so thanks for the information. I only know about it because it was quoted a lot in the earliest-published Star Wars encyclopedias (the ones that still acknowledge 'The Glove of Darth Vader' and all that rubbish) as a beta canon source.
It’s a long while since I listened to them. They were broadcast in the UK on Saturday mornings on Radio 1, which is a bit outside their usual remit. Normally you’d expect a drama series to be on Radio 4. Presumably it’s a sign of the on-going popularity of the first movie that the BBC put it somewhere where a larger (and more importantly younger) audience would be more likely to hear it.

As for canonicity, well it’s an authorized adaptation featuring some of the original cast. So it’s not surprising that, pre-Disney, it would be treated similarly to the Big Finish Doctor Who episodes as far as canon is concerned.
 

Ciclavex

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If we're talking comparisons between iterations, the Clone Wars TV series premiered on Cartoon Network with 4 million viewers, largely retained through the show. The Thrawn Trilogy had combined sales of 15 million when it was released, so that's probably about 5 million people who bought the book.

So honestly any major character in the Clone Wars is approximately as well known as literally the biggest character in the EU novels.
It should probably be further noted that Saw Gerrera was not only a major character in an arc of the full Clone Wars series - putting him at only a slightly lower level than, for example, Katee Sackhoff’s character, the Mandalorian warrior Bo-Katan Kryze, who plays a significant role in The Mandalorian while featuring in multiple arcs of Clone Wars - but he was also an arc character in the later, less popular Rebels animated series — which was contemporary to Rogue One. Indeed, Gerrera’s increasing extremism and detachment from the Rebellion was a significant plot element in that series, and he was ultimately played by the same actor as in the film.

Rebels bringing this all back in together full circle because it was also Rebels that in practice - and, in my opinion, quite effectively - reintroduced Grand Admiral Thrawn into the post-Disney canon.
 

FriendlyGhost

Trying to write more than my AH.com alter ego :-)
I'm thinking of listening to it
It's available on archive.org too; go to the 'Old Time Radio' section (https://archive.org/details/oldtimeradio) and search for 'Star Wars Original NPR Drama.'
TESB and RotJ are there too, but through 'Community Audio' (https://archive.org/details/opensource_audio); search for 'empire strikes back audio drama' and 'Original Radio Drama Return Of The Jedi' to find them.
I've been inspired by the comments above to download them, but haven't listened to them yet - that might wait for a long car journey!
 

Makemakean

Mr Makemean
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Personally, I took a far less cynical view on the "edgy and gritty" aspect than you did with respect to Rogue One.

I didn't really think of it in terms of, "Well, the directors just want to be modern, ever since Batman Begins, every time they revisit an old franchise, they must nowadays be dark and edgy and gritty!" (after all, Star Wars had already reached peak edginess when they had Anakin kill all those, err... younglings).

Rather, to me, it felt like they were just exploring what it must have been like living in the rebellion, for the person down on the ground, so to speak. That if you weren't Han, Luke, or Leia, if you weren't protected by being the Protagonists, life must be quite less squeaky clean. In a rebellion, trying to escape the Empire being after you at every turn, you have to be willing to compromise some of your principles from time to time as a matter of survival. And, in the end, it's not like Cassian isn't tortured internally for what he has done. Indeed, he only volunteers for the suicide mission to Scarif partly to atone for what he's done, partly, as he himself explicitly puts it, so that he didn't do what he did for nothing.

What Rogue One really did for me, and why I like it so much, was what I would term "implicit worldbuilding." Much like how the Lower Decks episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation received a lot of praise because that episode made the Enterprise seem less like, "there's the crew on the bridge, and then there are hundreds of people lacking personality or history and literally just exist to be killed from time to time," and more like every single individual on that massive ship were the protagonist in their own story, had their own background, their own motivation, etc. It added that texture, made you for one moment feel that those houses on the matte painting were more than just the hasty work of an underpaid art student intern, but rather homes where people lived, worked, met with friends, called theirs. So too Rogue One made you feel that in such a heavily Protagonist-centric universe as the Star Wars Saga actually takes place in, everyone has their own story.
 
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