by Vivian Tran
Lifestyles editor

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… Lucasfilm announced that they will be making the first series of films that will concentrate on events and characters beyond the Star Wars saga and the integral focus on the Skywalker family. The title for the first film in this standalone series is Rogue One. The title for the film, along with its leading cast members, was announced on March 15, 2015. The film was shot during the summer of 2015 in London and is directed by Gareth Edwards and written by Oscar nominee Chris Weitz.

The cast consists of many acclaimed actors such as the lead actress Felicity Jones who was nominated for an Oscar for her role in The Theory of Everything; new Star Wars villain Ben Mendelsohn who was acclaimed for his role in The Dark Knight Rises. The cast is also comprised of a very diverse range of actors such as Mexican actor Diego Luna who spent a majority of his acting career in Spanish-language cinema and Hong Kong stuntman Donnie Yen who is known for his titular roles in many martial arts movies.

“I think that it’s great that there are more people of color in this movie. As a feminist, I also believe that it’s empowering that Rogue One has a female protagonist,” said senior Baylor Eaton.

The most recent, extended trailer for Rogue One was released on Nov. 28, 2016 and provided insight on the plot of Rogue One. Previous to the release of the trailers, limited information pertaining to the plot and the characters were presented; other than the fact that Rogue One is about a woman who joins the rebellion and leads the Rogue One team. The trailer has exposed a considerable amount of information on characters who will be featured in the film, new concepts, and the overall plot.

Star Wars fans can anticipate an action-packed movie about a team of unsung heroes banded together to retrieve the plans to the Death Star, the Empire’s most destructive weapon. Fans should also expect to see the notorious Darth Vader and possibly a few other familiar faces.

Lucasfilm’s effort to try something new has been met with mixed opinions. Some have expressed great anticipation for the opportunity to view parts of the Star Wars universe that’s never been seen before.

Junior Eric Ratliff said that, “In the Star Wars movies, unlike in a lot of the background information that we get with the extended universe, we have almost no information as to the actual functions day-to-day of the Rebellion and the Galactic Empire. We don’t know how they work. We don’t know the methods of operation. We don’t know how they get by. With the Rebellion we have no idea how much funds they have and how large they are as an actual rebellion.” Adding on that, “In Rogue One, I hope to see more in the movies, in the mainstream with the idea of the actual scale of the entire galaxy.”

On the other hand, some people have expressed some concerns about the originality of the film and tentative of about the the turnout of the film; they believe that deterring from the original Skywalker storyline or any changes can cause some potential moviegoers to become disinterested in the movie.

“It would be disappointing if a large part of the [original Star Wars] saga is changed by the Rogue One. Especially, if a good chunk [of the saga] is thrown out,” said freshman Elijah Hairston.

Rogue One is due to be released on Dec. 16, 2016. Despite the opinions of some of the fans, Lucasfilm’s new film will undoubtedly offer moviegoers a deeper understanding and broader perception of the Star Wars universe.