Let's talk about 'Star Wars: Rogue One'

I was recently accused of sleeping on Rogue One. I denied this fact, but you know what?

I was sleeping on it.

Between Episode 8 announcements and Han Solo prequel rumors, I was fixated on everything BUT the shockingly fast-approaching "Star Wars: Rogue One." Seriously, this movie is scheduled to release Dec. 16 OF THIS YEAR.

The Cast

Felicity Jones

Her most recent role as Stephen Hawking's wife, Jane, in "The Theory of Everything" impressed the hell out of me. I mean, not that this is the end-all-be-all, but she was nominated for a Golden Globe, SAG, BAFTA, and an Academy Award for Best Actress. Nerds might recognize the actress from her role as Felicia Hardy (Black Cat) in the Amazing Spider-Man 2, which is still the most underrated and my favorite comic book film to date. So that's something. She's probably going to be a Rebel soldier, so hopefully everyone can get her merchandise on the shelf with the boys promptly.

From SlashFilm.com:  "Edwards says that Felicity Jones plays a rebel soldier. “We wanted to see fear, humor, and warmth” in the character, he said, not just a cliched image of a warrior."

Diego Luna

Hey, it's the guy that does the Spanish narration of that National Geographic documentary. He's been in 2008's "Milk" with Sean Penn and 2004's "The Terminal" with Tom Hanks and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Luna looks like a perfect Biggs Darklighter, if you ask me. From the mustache to the haircut in the teaser image, I'm betting on that. There's a tie to Tatooine and Luke that makes this character special.

Riz Ahmed

A 33-year-old Brit, who acts and raps. He will reportedly play "Bodhi Rook" in Rogue One and fans will most likely recognize him from the grossly underrated "Nightcrawler." He played Rick in the 2014 flick and picked up a number of nominations for best supporting actor.

Ben Mendelsohn

Nerd alert: Mendelsohn played Roland (John ?!) Daggett in the Dark Knight Rises. He was the dude who put Bane and Selina to work on effing up Wayne Enterprises so he could take over. Bane kills him (spoiler alert) by breaking his neck for speaking up. The 46-year-old Australian actor was named GQ Australia's Actor of the Year in 2010. OH! and he was on the Netflix OG series "Bloodline," and his performance has been highly regarded by critics, so far. Rumor has it that he will be playing a bad guy.

Alan Tudyk

One of my personal favorite character actors from my upbringing. From Steve the Pirate in Dodgeball to Wash on Firefly to Tucker McGee from Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, Tudyk has literally played every character there is to play. He's all over the place, and I love it. For the nerds, outside of the obvious Firefly and Serenity, you nerdlings might recognize his voice from the Injustice video game where Tudyk provided the voice for the Green Arrow and as Superman in the animated Justice League: War.

Forest Fucking Whitaker

If you don't know who Forest Whitaker is, then just leave. He's been in "Platoon," "Good Morning Vietnam," and most recently "The Butler." He's an Academy-Award-winning actor, and represents someone -- like Felicity Jones -- who gives non-Star Wars diehards a relatable face to care about.

How is this movie connected to the Star Wars franchise?

(You are entering possible spoiler territory)

The movie is reportedly set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, so it makes sense that the rumor mill is saying Darth Vader will be heavily featured in Rogue One.  As you can imagine, the Death Star is being constructed, and the Age of the Empire is truly finding its footing. The official plot description states: "A band of resistance fighters unite for a daring mission to steal the Death Star plans."

All right, then. I think we get the picture.

But, how is this connected to like Jedis, Siths and stuff?

It's not, at least not directly. This is a Jedi-free film. This film has regularly been referred to as a "period piece" or even a "war movie" by its creators and people over at Lucasfilm and Disney.

Rogue One will revolve around Rebels who try to get their hands on the plans for the very first Death Star as seen in a New Hope.

This is clearly going to be a different type of Star Wars film, and I to that I say, thank you. Rogue One will revolve around normal people fighting the Empire and trying to stop the Death Star. Not Luke Skywalker or any other Jedis, but normal fighter pilots, droids and people.

At a teaser event, the director said that this movie is not highlighted by "warriors with magical powers," but highlighted by the fact that there are none to save the day.

"It’s about the fact that God’s not coming to save us,” said Edwards. “The absence of the Jedi hangs over the movie.”

Rogue One will tell the stories that most Star Wars fans have dreamed of seeing on the big screen. This plays right into the Han Solo prequel flick, as well. This is an anthology film and not directly connected to the happenings about to take place in Episode IV.

Also, seeing Darth Vader and (possibly) Boba Fett in a movie that takes place prior to A New Hope should be uber exciting for fans. These characters are rumored to appear and have absolutely not confirmed by anyone involved with the movie.

Enough with the rumors, let's get back to what we know:

Gareth Edwards, from the Godzilla remake with Bryan Cranston, will direct Rogue One. He's an indie darling who got his chance at a big budget flick who isn't known by a lot of casual fans. He's British, in his early 40s and is reportedly set to do more Godzilla sequels following Rogue One.

Edwards is also a huge fan of the series. Check out the evidence below:

Um, freaking Christopher McQuarrie was reportedly brought in to fix/edit/help with the script of Rogue One. This dude directed Jack Reacher and Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation -- both are awesome -- and wrote The Usual Suspects, Rogue Nation, adapted Jack Reacher into a feature film and my personal favorite sci-fi flick from the past decade, Edge of Tomorrow.

He didn't write Rogue One, but this is about as good as news regarding the scripts as we can get. This is someone you want involved. With anything. Period. Gary Whitta wrote the script then bounced, then Chris Weitz -- Cinderella -- came in after an abundance of rumors. So, it's been a little hectic when it comes to the writing staff, so this is real good to hear.

Shit, no John Williams?! What!

Now, there is no good way to tell a Star Wars fan that John Williams won't be doing the score for a Star Wars film. There is no way around it, BUT, there is a way to calm the nerves, cool the jets and oil up the whatevers.

That's where Andre Desplat comes in.

Desplat worked with Edwards on Godzilla so a little chemistry never hurts, he also did The Imitation Game with Felicity Jones and he won an Academy Award and blew my mind on The Grand Budapest Hotel.

We're going to be OK.

This nerd's take:

Writing this and doing all the research necessary has made me that much more excited for Rogue One. It's the Star Wars movie that's not really a Star Wars movie. Instead of seeing nothing but the story behind Jedis and only getting a peek at life at the Rebel base, we're going to get an entire Rebel base-esque movie. These are the stories we've wondered about for nearly 40 years now.

The cast is great, I'm a believer in the director, a little nervous about the instability of the writing staff, but, all-in-all I'm excited. I mean, they seemingly covered all the bases with Rogue One. Neil deGrasse freakin' Tyson consulted the production team on astronomy. If that's not taking your job as a filmmaker serious, then I don't know what is.

Amazing. Weitz's reply is even better:

"ah! Thank you! Grand! I am all Non-Disclosured so must take this to a DM. May I?"

Rebels stealing the blueprints to the Death Star, Darth Vader taking shape, a young Han Solo and Boba Fett, Shadow Stormtroopers. Holy shit. Keep an eye out for trailers as the rumor with the most traction is that it will surface around the time Captain America: Civil War drops in May.

Next up and sometime in the near future, I will give this treatment to the Han Solo prequel, Civil War and any other upcoming nerdcore flicks.

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