This Video Essay Considers the Flaws and the Lasting Power of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Diego Luna as Cassian Andor.
Diego Luna as Cassian Andor.
Image: Disney/Lucasfilm

Happy Life Day! Let’s think about death.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is, honestly, one of my favorite films in the series. I acknowledge that it’s flawed, but it has a great cast and I find the way it tells its story, the depth of visual details and its willingness to go to ugly places, to be extremely compelling. It’s a Star Wars story that really emphasizes the war, and tries to, within the confines it’s allowed by its corporate overlords, tell a story that honors the ugliness and sacrifice of that sort of conflict.


Fortunately for me, I’m not the only one who likes it, and some people have talked for much longer than I’m willing to about their love for it. Like this video essay by YouTuber Ladyknightthebrave, which is an earnest, in-depth look at the film, from its troubled production all the way through to its glaring failures and the successes it earns despite those failures. In it, she explains why she considers Rogue One a “flawed masterpiece,” worthy of criticism but just as worthy of praise.

I really like this essay, for the way it talks about the film’s weaknesses honestly but, even more than that, for the way it nails how moving the film can be when it’s taken seriously on its own merits. Along the way, the author makes brief asides into pretty important concepts like artistic subjectivity and what, exactly, a headcanon is. It’s a smart, emotive piece of work, and if you have the time to kill pondering Star Wars this Life Day, I’d recommend it.

You could always watch the Star Wars Holiday Special, but, let’s be real, you don’t actually want to do that. 

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Adam Whitehead

Rogue One has some flaws, but I think it’s emerged as the strongest film from the “new era” of movies (The Force Awakens is perhaps more “fun” in a brainless kind of way, but it’s also dumber). It more or less hits the “Dirty Dozen in space” feel it was going for, it makes Vader legitimately terrifying and the final space battle over Scarif is legitimately the best space battle in the saga since Endor.

That said, creepy CG Tarkin was unnecessary (Leia wasn’t too bad because she was on-screen for just a few seconds and Carrie Fisher gave her permission) and I feel they could have been a bit more creative in the fate of the team rather just saying they all croaked.