About a month ago at a family gathering the topic of conversation turned to upcoming movies. As a self-professed professional amateur when it comes to all things cinema, I was excited to share my otherwise useless knowledge about upcoming releases. However, the conversation turned to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and every adult in the room outside of me and my wife had the same question about it: “Why are Rey and Finn not in the movie trailers?”
I had to explain to my family that this film was an ‘anthology’ film (more on this later) and that it has nothing to do with The Force Awakens except for the fact that it exists in the Star Wars universe. They appreciated my explanation and the conversation went onto a different subject.
This experience actually worried me a little, mostly because I wondered if others had the same confusion. I decided to test my theory by first using Google to see if this misconception is a common search. Spoiler alert: it is, as you can see below.
Then I decided to subtly ask my friends on Facebook to see if the confusion extended to them. It did, and I was shocked by their responses:
When it was announced that Disney purchased Lucasfilm from George Lucas for the ungodly sum of $4 billion, they announced that they would be releasing a Star Wars film every year for the foreseeable future. Their strategy is that they plan to release a saga film every other year (these are the ‘Episodes’ that follow the lineage of Anakin Skywalker) and then in the off years release what they have dubbed as ‘anthology’ films.
The term ‘anthology’ usually refers to a collection of either songs, short stories, or poems that relate to each other. The reason they are called ‘anthology’ films is that although they are still ‘Star Wars Stories’, they exist outside of the regular timeline where the saga continues following Rey, Finn, Poe, and Luke Skywalker.
These anthology films open up some pretty great possibilities like exploring Han Solo’s youth, what Obi-Wan Kenobi did in between Revenge of the Sith (Episode III) and A New Hope (Episode IV), or maybe even some stuff from the Old Republic. They have even considered a Boba Fett and Yoda films, apparently.
Rogue One is the first of these anthology films, and the Han Solo solo film is the second, being released in 2018. Rogue One follows a new cast of characters who are in charge of stealing the Death Star plans in order to deliver them to Princess Leia. The word on the street is that Rogue One ends about 10 minutes before A New Hope begins, which is why this brilliant meme is so amazing.
I’m super excited for the movie. The trailers have been great and it looks at least to be the most beautifully shot Star Wars film to date. However, I think the confusion that surrounds this film is a problem for Lucasfilm. I predict its Cinemascore is going to be shockingly low. And supposedly Lucasfilm has openly said that they don’t feel the need to explain how the new movie is different. To put it mildly, I’ve Got a Bad Feeling About This.