Time Out answers all the questions you have in this Rogue One: A Star Wars Story preview, as it is released in cinemas in Dubai
Accept it. You are going to see the new Star Wars movie this Christmas. Whether you like it or not. And if that prospect either fills you with joy or makes you panic about having to later discuss why that evil man with the funny black hat was doing those nasty things to that bunch of weird creature-people with fish-faces and silly names (because you haven’t got the foggiest either), we’re here to help. This is our essential guide to this new trip to the galaxy far, far away. Never again will you confuse your Ackbars with your Wookiees.
Great, another Star Wars movie. I loved the last one. But will Luke Skywalker actually do something in this one? No. He’s not in it. What? We waited for the whole of the last movie just to get to him! Yes, but that was Episode VII. You’ve got to wait until next December’s Episode VIII to see the next bit of that story.
Erm… So what “Episode” is this one then? Well, technically it doesn’t have an episode number. It’s the first in a new series of standalone Star Wars movies, with new stories and characters. But, in terms of the general chronology, it’s essentially Episode 3.5.
Oh, good grief. What does that mean? It means – pay attention at the back – that this movie’s story takes place after Episode III, which was the one from 2005 when Anakin Skywalker turned into Darth Vader, and immediately before Episode IV, which was the first Star Wars movie ever made, back in 1977. Honestly, who comes up with this stuff? It was George Lucas who created this whole universe. And he sold his company, Lucasfilm, to Disney back in 2012, for more than US$4 billion (Dhs16.6 billion). So have a little respect.
Don’t get punchy with me, sunshine. Sorry. We just get a little sensitive about this stuff sometimes. How come I’ve seen Darth Vader in the trailers? He’s dead, isn’t he? You’re right, you have seen him. But we don’t think he’s going to be in this movie much. With this a prequel to the first-ever Star Wars movie, this one has him and his goons building the evil Death Star, but it’s much more about our hero Felicity Jones and her fellow rebels trying to stop them.
Felicity Jones? What, her out of that Stephen Hawking film? Yes, that’s her. She is seriously good. And, get this: not only was she Oscar-nominated for her role as Hawking’s wife in The Theory of Everything, she starred in it with Eddie Redmayne, who played Hawking himself. With him as the lead in this season’s other juggernaut, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the ex-Mr and Mrs Hawking are basically taking over the box office.
Good trivia. Thanks for that. No problem, we’ve got loads. Like, for instance, the guy who’s directing all this is a young Brit called Gareth Edwards. Just six years ago the 41-year-old was a visual effects artist, before he made his stunning low-budget debut, Monsters. That was so incredible that for his next movie Warner Bros. gave him an enormo-budget to reboot Godzilla for them, with what turned out to be a smash hit in the summer of 2014. From that, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy came knocking on his door. “I still pinch myself,” says Edwards. “I am directing a Star Wars movie! It’s just incredible!”
What about the beach Stormtroopers? I think that’s where I went last summer… It might well be, if you went to the Maldives. That’s where the battle sequence was shot.
Is it going to be any good? Edwards has described this one as a war movie. “Apocalypse Now meets Star Wars,” he says. So it could be epic.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is in cinemas across Dubai from Thursday December 15.