Is Rogue One the next blockbuster disaster?
It’s been a bad year for blockbusters. With but few exceptions—pretty much just Deadpool and Captain America: Civil War—blockbusters have disappointed and underperformed, with the carcasses of more than one disaster strewn behind summer’s unforgiving wake (see also: Warcraft, Independence Day: Resurgence). We’re about to find out what the Suicide Squad story will end up being as that movie enters its second week, but eyes are already turning to the next potential savior of the year in blockbusters: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story—HATE that subtitle, by the way.
The “official” trailer for Rogue One—the other one wasn’t official? What do words mean anymore?—debuted during the Olympics last night, and it shows off more of the new characters, including Diego Luna and Donnie Yen speaking, and a new droid, K-2SO, voiced by Alan Tudyk. There’s also Riz Ahmed and Forest Whitaker, and Ben Mendelsohn’s fantastically be-caped bad guy. And then Darth Vader is shoe-horned in at the end in a blatant, “COME SEE THIS MOVIE” ploy. Marvel did the same thing with Spider-Man in the second Civil War trailer, but they had to begin winning people over to the third iteration of the character in less than ten years. Darth Vader isn’t changing—James Earl Jones will be voicing him and this is all the same continuity. All they’re doing with Vader here is reminding us that we know who he is, and so we should care about this movie because of him.
Is that enough? Probably. A lot of people will see Darth Vader and go, “I know that guy!” and then go see the movie. There’s no question Rogue One will have a huge opening weekend. But like Superhero Face Punch and Suicide Squad, the real question is what happens in the long run. Does the movie work? Do people like it and embrace the new characters? Will it live up to its potential and expectations?
We shouldn’t be doubting a Star Wars movie because Star Wars is as much of a sure thing as you get in Hollywood. But we’ve heard about the behind the scenes drama, which is all too similar to the drama on Suicide Squad (and, I’ve heard, the drama that’s beginning to infect Wonder Woman—please no, not Wonder Woman, too). The trailer certainly looks good, with plenty of tension and Rebels giving each other inspiring looks. I’m into the look of Felicity Jones and the grime and grunge of the Rebels and their base. And Gareth Edwards has such a great eye for action. But. After Superhero Face Punch, after Suicide Squad, and with all the same sort of rumors, do you trust it? How much faith do you have in Rogue One?