My Meta: "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story"
Updated: May 29, 2020
I completely understand why the movie upset you and, though I disagree on some points, your opinion is very much valid. How a movie affects one personally is always valid. Always.
However, I have this issue where I fixate on teeny tiny things that shouldn’t affect my emotional state but because of my completely involuntary scrutiny they totally do. -_-;;
So I tried to move on but I couldn’t this thread of posts out of my mind. >.<
Since I still haven’t figured out how to rewire my brain so it can let things go—but I am working on it—I’m going to do what is currently the most successful coping method I have and that is to express my opinions in written form.
So feel free to scroll past this or don’t. Just please don’t reblog because it would humiliate me. It’s irrational, I know. -_-;;
First, I 100% agree that killing every last main character is a terrible way to end a story.
In fact, major character death is a trigger for me. If I read/watch a story in which the major players do not get—at minimum—an optimistic ending, I have an anxiety attack.
Yet, after watching “Rogue One” I only cried, and very little at that.
Now to clarify, my out of character reaction wasn’t because I wasn’t devastated by the tragic deaths of these amazing characters, because I sure damn was. Hell, my eyes are welling up and there’s a lump in my throat as I’m typing this, days after seeing the film.
I guess I did what I do best and interpreted the story differently than it was intended and/or how it was received by the majority. -_-;;
JYN’s had absolutely no luck in life, I’m not denying that. She was raised by loving parents in a secluded home, which tells me that it’s pretty safe to say that her whole life was strained with tension and fear she probably didn’t understand. When she was very young, the Empire swooped down stole her father, killing her mother and threatening to kill Jyn in the process. All this fresh in her mind, she was forced to hole up in a small, dark, empty hiding hole for who knows how long...
She was eventually rescued by Saw Gerrera ( I am googling all of these names, just f.y.i. ). He would be the one to raise Jyn, while simultaneously leading a particularly violent sect of the rebellion. As he was wholly devoted to the plight of the rebels, I think it’s fair to say that he was not so much a parental figure but more of her superior officer. Also, in his circles it was common knowledge that her father was a TRAITOR to the rebellion.
So in short: Her mother was KILLED by the Empire, her father SOLD HIS SOUL to the very same Empire AND, ever since, she was GROOMED TO FIGHT this aforementioned Empire.
That’s all she knew about the conflict. The Empire destroyed her family and very likely the only human interaction she’d ever experienced, so it seemed to me that she could never connect with any of the individuals working for the Resistance, much less their plight.
Inevitably, Jyn got in over her head one too many times and was arrested by Stormtroopers then sent to work in a penal colony(?) where the movie begins.
She's rescued by strangers and, having been disillusioned all of her life, she was unsurprised to find that her saviors had a hidden agenda. She went along with her rescuers terms without much fuss, adapting to ensure her own survival which is what I presumed she’d been doing all her life.
But I think that after this nothing was the same for her.
When she was reunited with Saw Gerrera, he apologized. It’s not perfect, but according to all of the foreshadowing—as I understood it—apologies are not in his character.
He then entrusted super top secret information to Jyn: information that could either make or break his hardcore rebellion.
He most certainly did not let her see the smuggled message because he trusted her to protect his cause, because her attitude towards him led me to believe that when they parted ways it was anything but amicable. So I interpreted the gesture to be because he suddenly felt that Jyn had the right to know. I surmise that he had never ever told Jyn anything before NOT because it was right for her but BECAUSE it was right for the cause ( again, this is how I understood it ). So in my eyes this was huge.
On top of this unprecedented behavior, the information turned out to be proof that her father was NOT a traitor. Not only that, but proof that her father had sacrificed himself for JYN and not the rebellion.
So I guess what I’m trying to express by this particular point is that I never really associated Jyn with the Rebels nor their cause.
CASSIAN’s background is never clearly depicted in the film but I thought that it was often implied that there were parallels to Jyn’s history. He confirmed that he had lost his family young and was also raised in a militant environment. I think the key difference between Cassian and Jyn is that he understood and truly believed in the cause PRIOR to joining the rebellion, while Jyn never really understood what the whole thing was about ( her losses occurred in an isolated location just before she’s suddenly dropped in the middle of a war zone, which seems very detached to me ). I think his losses had clearly illustrated the Empire’s intentions and so he took the initiative and either voluntarily enlisted or was approached by the Rebellion and then eagerly enlisted. ALL of this, plus Chirrut Îmwe’s line about “There are many types of prisons...”, I ended up interpreting Cassian’s struggles to be focused on desensitization that resulted in detachment whereas Jyn was all about detachment that resulted in desensitization. ( I read between the lines too much, I think. ) And so he fought this grueling unending war for SO LONG, yet—after all this time and all of his effort—nothing changed. The absence of progress, either perceived or truly endured, is devastating to any sentient being ( I know that's how it is for me ). So I conjectured that to protect himself from the overwhelming power of despair, he numbed himself. He focused solely on fulfilling his own role in the rebellion, on accomplishing task after task. All the while assuming that his actions—both his successes and failures—furthered the cause and, therefore, was worth any price. Because if that wasn't the case, which it very well might be, then... then he'd be well and truly f**ked.
With this subconscious act of self-preservation, he lost sight of the big picture and became emotionally detached from the cause.
Until he met Jyn.
Together, CASSIAN and JYN found their purpose. Not with the Empire, not with the Rebellion, but within themselves. JYN had unearthed the truth about her family: that it was full of love and not deception and betrayal as she had been led to believe her whole life. Her mother died protecting those she loved and her father spent MORE THAN A DECADE living in the belly of the beast all to keep his daughter safe.
Galen Erso pretended to be an ally of the Empire so that he would no longer be perceived as a threat and thus Jyn too would no longer a threat.
Galen Erso secretly built a kill switch and smuggled the information out to the rebellion because a planet killer is a threat to everyone, and that included his daughter.
Galen Erso died doing his damnedest to maintain his morals and protecting his daughter.
Her father had sacrificed so much of himself, yet somehow still maintained his integrity to the very end.
If I were in Jyn’s place, suddenly learning ALL of this after a life resigned to a world where nothing good ever happens, I would have been deeply inspired and invigorated.
CASSIAN was stuck with Jyn for all of these discoveries!
The further into the mission they got, the more real all of these truths became and his orders became less and less credible. All of a sudden he found himself questioning his orders and—inevitably—his role in the resistance to the point where he was eventually convinced: Jyn was in the right and his orders were in the wrong. And so he spared Gallen Erso’s life DESPITE having been ordered to assassinate him. Well, I think that’s why.
Being a good person, despite all of the wrongs he had committed for what he thought was a just cause, he could hardly ignore the passion, the love, the strength of an individual in the face of a cruel, remorseless and seemingly impervious force. It could have even been a reminder of how he used to be.
He was numb, not heartless.
Galen Erso was solid proof that one person could make a difference by creating a real opportunity for the resistance to protect themselves.
I think this was when both CASSIAN and JYN found themselves and a purpose: carrying out Galen Erso’s plans.
I feel that maybe by doing everything possible to destroy the Death Star they would satisfy their personal needs, beliefs and feelings, not those of others (though there will be mentalities that will coincidentally align with theirs). Turning a blind eye to the threat of the Empire and allowing the the only weapon the Rebels have to remain unknown would mean betraying who they are ( I confess, I extrapolate a lot ).
Without the support of the Rebel forces, getting the Death Star’s schematics off a highly fortified Empire base with very little man power, a handful of weapons, what little insight a defected Empire Cargo Ship Pilot could provide ( Not to disparage this character because OMG this pilot is f**king amazing! This guy! This guy!!! ) and no assistance to come, much less rescue... This was a suicide mission.
I mean, their only hope for escape was to somehow return to the stolen Empire ship with the freshly stolen plans then somehow getting back through the portal which would then be on high alert ( unlike when they entered with stolen codes ).
Even WITH the unexpected assistance from the Rebel forces, it was too little too late. By that time, Rogue One had already burned thru plan A all the way to Z in order to finally transmit the plans just as the Death Star had fired on the base.
Cassian and Jyn were alone on the surface and without a ship.
They were doomed to die.
But they were happy. JYN had finally connected with others: she'd known true friendship and built herself a new family. She finally knew purpose and drive. And, with the help of loved ones, she successfully avenged her family and had completed her father’s unfinished business: let the Rebel Alliance know about the secret kill switch in the Death Star. CASSIAN had found the passion and empathy he had lost long ago. His drive was renewed and he finally acted on his instincts instead of blindly following orders. In one day he had accomplished more for the Resistance than anyone, including anything he had ever accomplished during his ENTIRE time as a Rebel agent.
Their names would be forgotten, but their actions would forever be remembered in the hearts of all the lives made better by the destruction of the Death Star.
They were family, they were together, they’d done good and thus they were happy.
And that’s how I saw the movie.
Considering the strength and depth of these characters and the ratio of misery to happiness they’ve experienced in their fictional lives, yes their lives were tragically cut short and yes I would love to have seen them live to be infinity years old and be the best of friends for all of eternity and etc... Anything to escape the reality that unsung heroes die all the time, that too many lives end so suddenly and far too soon.
But somehow I find the quality of this story and the surprisingly optimistic ending, well I thought it was optimistic, makes this a lovely tribute to all those faceless unsung heroes and the too many who died far too young... Maybe?
COULD the writers have written a realistic escape for one and/or both of them?
Definitely, considering the quality of the rest of the film overall.
SHOULD the writers have written a realistic escape for one and/or both of them?
Hell yes! ( But I am very biased and would very much prefer a happier ending. The happier, the better. )
Yeah... I think that’s it... Regardless, I’m going to end my ramblings here because I’m going to go cry in a corner now.