It's no wonder Rogue One has taken so long to get here.
After the release of the prequels, which left most fans straddling the fence of approval, #StarWars lost a bit of the timeless glimmer that made it so enjoyable. Comebacks take time to build, and the controversy surrounding #Disney's acquisition of the Star Wars rights added more hours to the clock. When The Force Awakens finally dropped, it smashed box office records and made Star Wars a hit again. Disney had the chance to play things safe—which was arguably the smartest move, considering the track record of Star Wars—but the next installment in the new trilogy was scheduled later to make room for something else.
Enter Rogue One, an anthology film. A smaller, concept based story. A completely new take from completely new writers. One of the biggest risks Disney has taken in recent years.
Already, Rogue One has followed #TheForceAwakens in monopolizing the box office game, and it's set to take over all the other Christmas releases. This isn't just a record-breaking win for Disney. Rogue One shines a light on the smaller films, the stranger films, and the films that dare to take risks. It's a force that could lead to big changes in Disney's future operations, and not just for Star Wars.
WARNING: SPOILERS FOR ROGUE ONE AHEAD.
Rogue One Was A Gamble
But is it a true catalyst for change?
The Star Wars team bet heavily on Rogue One, and instead of throwing all their chips on the most profitable aspects, they put them on the smaller details. The biggest divergence from other Star Wars movies is the story direction. #GarethEdwards, director of Godzilla and Monsters, led Rogue One down a darker path. In addition to the widespread fatalities and heavy themes—which don't often bode well with audiences, especially when endings are concerned—Rogue One took old characters and painted them from a new angle. The story direction is a microscopic twitch on a compass compared to everything else in the film, but the smallest steps pull just as much weight.
Admittedly, on first viewing, Rogue One doesn't seem like the movie to usher in a new era. A few of those bets didn't work out, including some of the plotting fumbles that led to the extensive reshoots. Even the multi-cultural casting decisions stirred controversy. But Rogue One, imperfect as it is, played its cards right in one special place. It's simply different.
It's a blockbuster that doesn't behave like other blockbuster, and people are accepting it because it's different. Where will Disney take this?
Changes for Star Wars
The success of Rogue One will rebuild the future of Star Wars. After The Force Awakens snowballed into one of the most hyped movies of all time, you can imagine the pressure Disney executives put on #JJAbrams and his crew. Did that same pressure exist for Rogue One? From nearly all reports, even those concerning reshoots, it appears that Disney gave Gareth Edwards the wheel. How did it turn out?
It turned out beautifully.
With the next movie in the anthology on the horizon (come quick, Han Solo), you can bet that Disney will be giving directors more freedom with story development, art design, and even casting decisions. Uniqueness is the key factor. Even the new Star Wars trilogy could see some of the same developments, but Star Wars isn't the only Disney kingdom Rogue One might renovate.
Changes Trickling Down To The Live Action Remakes
Disney has two lethal weapons in hand. In the left hand, there's Star Wars, a universally loved piece of science fiction and fantasy. In the right hand, there are the live action fairy tale remakes. Disney's favorite children. The trees with roots that grow deep. Yes, Star Wars and fairy tales are separate entities, but apple trees and peach trees grow into each other when they're in the same orchard, right?
The live action remakes, such as 2015's #Cinderella and the critically acclaimed #TheJungleBook, have made a stunning amount of cash for Disney Studios. How long can the momentum last? Cinderella celebrated traditional Disney magic in its storytelling. The Jungle Book followed suite, staying close to both the book and the 1967 animated classic. The first winds of change are sweeping in with the upcoming remake of #BeautyandtheBeast, in which Belle is the inventor. It's a small twist in a sea of unchanging parts, but paired with the dark tone of the trailer, it electrified everyone's excitement for the film.This exponential kind of growth parallels—and follows—the success Rogue One and just goes to show that if Disney revamps the live action lineup with unique, diverging pieces of storytelling, they'll see some of the biggest financial and critical returns yet.
It only takes a spark to light a forest fire.
Even if Rogue One doesn't spread flames across the land, it's still a blinding light. Disney played its cards right by letting the production team make big decisions for story, casting, and art production. Given the success of the film, it's only logical that they keep the winning theme of difference and let it trickle down to other parts of the studio. Only time will tell, but keep your eyes on the horizon for the changes, the spread-out bets, and the outright risks.
What do you think: Will Rogue One be the movie to inspire riskier film making in Disney Studios?