Scene from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

also known as “Star Wars: Rogue One,” “Lotr 1. Gwiezdne wojny - historie,” “Odmetnik-1: Star Wars priča,” See more »
MPA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPA) for extended sequences of sci-fi violence and action.

Reviewed by: Raphael Vera

Moral Rating: Better than Average
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: • Teens • Young-Adults • Adults
Genre: Sci-Fi Action Adventure War 3D IMAX
Length: 2 hr. 13 min.
Year of Release: 2016
USA Release: December 15, 2016 (wide—4,157 theaters)
DVD: April 4, 2017
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Relevant Issues

Learn about The True Force

courage / bravery / self-sacrifice

war in the Bible

What is the Biblical perspective on war? Answer

Featuring Felicity JonesJyn Erso
Mads MikkelsenGalen Erso
Ben MendelsohnDirector Orson Krennic
Riz AhmedBodhi Rook
Genevieve O'ReillyMon Mothma
James Earl JonesDarth Vader (voice)
Alan TudykK-2SO
Forest WhitakerSaw Gerrera
Diego LunaCaptain Cassian Andor
Donnie YenChirrut Îmwe
Warwick DavisWeeteef Cyubee
See all »
Director Gareth Edwards — “Monsters” (2010), “Godzilla” (2014)
Producer Allison Shearmur Productions
Black Hangar Studios
See all »

“A Long Time Ago” (back in 1977) George Lucas launched the phenomenon that would attract audiences worldwide with the original “Star Wars: A New Hope.” The adventures of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia, as they tried to convey the stolen blueprints of the Empire’s deadliest new weapon over into the hands of the Rebel Alliance, was our first introduction to that saga. However, the events just preceding that film, which is about the brave heroes that risked their lives to deliver that ‘new hope’ has never been told, until now.

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” opens with a research scientist in hiding named Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen) who, along with his wife and daughter Jyn, has just been tracked down by the Empire. However, Galen manages to get his daughter to safety before he himself is taken away and once again forced to serve Imperial Director Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) on a secret project for the Empire.

Years pass and Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) is being sought by the newly formed Rebel Alliance. It happens that the man who raised Jyn, Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) a well-known and feared agitator who has his own ways of fighting back against the Empire, has come into possession of a defecting Imperial pilot with news of the Empire’s latest weapon and only through Jen can they hope to get an audience with the reclusive extremist.

The Rebel Alliance dispatches Captain Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), and a reprogrammed Imperial Battle Droid K-2SO (voiced by FireFly star Alan Tudyk) to accompany Jyn in her meeting with Saw Gerrera to learn if the rumors are true. But Imperial forces have now occupied the last holy city of Jedha and Director Krennic will stop at nothing to keep the secret of the Death Star from reaching the Alliance.

“Rogue One” maintains a serious tone throughout the film, thus limiting the light-hearted moments, also serving to point out the most notable difference it has with “A New Hope,” but it does have the requisite excitement we have come to expect from some of the best of the Star Wars series, including some thrillingly battles both on the ground and in space. Rated PG-13, there are, of course, a few areas of concern worth noting.

Objectionable Content

Language: Minor. No profanity is used at all, but what may be of concern to parents of younger children would be the threatening language often used, most often from Director Krennic, and even the sadistic joy he exudes over the death of thousands when he simply calls it “beautiful.” The Lord’s name is not taken in vain, although Darth Vader is referred to as Lord, but none addressing him subscribe to his “ancient religion” and use it more as a title.

Violence: Heavy. While the battles are bloodless and not graphic people are still killed in a variety of ways including: being shot by blasters, cannon fire, blown up, caught in debris, cut down by light saber or crushed against a bulkhead. A character is threatened with insanity after exposure to a very large slug type creature. A mother is shot in front of her child’s eyes, and another child, standing in the middle of heavy crossfire, cries incessantly from terror. Thousands die, as seen from a distance, whenever the Death Star unleashes a fraction of its power, which is more powerful than a nuclear explosion. Although language should not be an issue for parents, the violence is more than a sufficient reason to prevent your children from seeing this and getting desensitized to violence at an early age.

FILM VIOLENCE—How does viewing violence in movies affect families? Answer

Sex/Nudity: Minor. A small holographic dancing girl is seen in slightly dubious attire, but the poor resolution makes it more akin to a video game. No kissing or great affection takes place, as is fitting for this type of a mission driven, action focused film.


Cassian, Jyn and K-2SO are the trio that make up the main characters, but others will be enlisted to help, and it is through their words and deeds that lessons can be gleaned on matters such as fear, faith and hope, as they find their way into this Sci-Fi fantasy.

Fear: Saw Gerrera has been wanted by the Empire for so long that it has clearly made him paranoid, to the point he even suspects the girl he raised as wanting to kill him. God has a better plan for us, namely to trust and lean on Him.

“So that we may boldly say, The Lord [is] my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” Hebrews 13:6

“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid…” Isaiah 12:2

Faith: The most unusual ally they make is certainly the blind warrior Chirrut Îmwe played by martial arts star Donnie Yen of “IP Man” fame. Though he is not a Jedi, he believes strongly in the “force,” and he acts guided by it. In one scene, he walks into what would appear to be certain death, but, with his faith intact, accomplishes his mission unscathed. The Bible repeatedly reminds us to act in this very way, regardless of the circumstances.

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me” Psalm 23:4

Jyn has trouble convincing her friends, without any proof, that she is speaking the truth about the Death Star, and only Chirrut has the conviction to say, “I believe her.” Faith is indeed believing in things unseen, so how remarkable it is that the man with no sight sees more clearly than anyone else.

“For we walk by faith, not by sight” 2 Corinthians 5:7

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1

Hope: Cassian is the first to mention that a rebellion is built on hope, but he will not be the last to do so. Jyn likewise becomes an advocate for hope and, in fact, soon inspires others to follow her lead. The Word of God is clear on why those who trust in Him should have hope.

“… so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:7

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

In a poignant scene, Cassian says to Jyn, “Your father would have been proud of you.” Jesus himself alluded to something similar, but toward our Father in heaven when told a Parable about a master and his good servant. As acknowledged children of God through Christ His son, we all have the hope of hearing this when we go to our Lord:

“Well done, good and faithful servant!” Matthew 25:21

Concluding Thoughts

Some will argue, and I am of the same thinking, that underneath it all “Rogue One” is practically a love letter to the fans, as evidenced by the number of recreated sets, familiar dialog and returning characters long thought gone, Governor Tarkin’s (the late Peter Cushing) large role being the biggest surprise. Uncovering all the “Easter eggs” concealed is not this writers purpose, however I did notice that when they were speaking about a Holy City on the planet Jedah it sounded more like they were referring to the very real and true Holy City of Jerusalem which may be found in Judah, but I digress.

The final analysis may show that “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” may not only be the film that many fans were waiting for, but may prove to be a catalyst to entice a new generation into an appreciation for the Star Wars universe. The special effects, as seen in IMAX 3D, have never been better, and the ‘untold’ story in a stand-alone film is very well done. True, it is not as fun or light-hearted as the original, but an exciting addition and long overdue expansion into the Star Wars canon that I recommend be seen in the best format available near you.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: Minor

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—This film is excellent on multiple levels: As an addition to the Star Wars universe, it tells an excellent story that fills out a key time for the rebellion. With less of an emphasis on the force and Skywalkers, it shows us there can be great storytelling without relying on these elements. Moreover, it adds some great context to the first Star Wars movie and actually greatly improves it by addressing and explaining its biggest problem/flaw (trying to be vague to prevent spoilers). As for moral content, it excels as a war movie that teaches the value of heroism, sacrifice, and selflessness under the worst of circumstances.

Some call this film dark or inappropriate for children because it fits the mold of a war movie more than it does a light-hearted Star Wars adventure movie. But this led to some great conversations with my children on the cost of freedom, the goodness of sacrifice for others, and the reminders of those who have sacrificed so much for us. Obviously, the ultimate sacrifice was the life and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is a good thing to bring attention to the nobility of sacrifice.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Jon, age 37 (USA)
Positive—I had been looking forward to this movie since attending San Diego Comic-Con (and since viewing episode 7). While it hasn’t exceeded my expectations, it has certainly met them. Nothing objectionable, other than some violence. Like most Star Wars films, the moral content evokes Christian values, despite not being overtly Christian in nature. It’s a good film that binds episodes 3 and 4 together, but, unfortunately, isn’t as good as films 4-7 (but it is better than the prequels, and I have seen how bad films 1-3 are). Still, I wouldn’t overlook the movie entirely, as it will whet the appetite for any Star Wars geek (like myself) waiting for episode 8.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
Shannon H., age 35 (USA)
Positive— For me personally, “Rogue One” was a great film—2016 was a big year in Movies, Great Special Effects, Never a dull moment, a fast paced action packed film, I personally loved how this film connects to the opening of the Star Wars film “A New Hope” Nothing really morally offensive, a great film, that reminds me of a Star Wars book report I did in the 5th grade.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
Jeff Andrew Winters, age 38 (USA)
Neutral—After the garbage that was “The Force Awakens,” Disney’s remit to the director, producers and associated hangers on was probably to try to make up for the damage caused by the (inexplicably box office successful) woefully inadequate episode VII. They did that with “Rogue One,” but, of course, we know the outcome, being as it is a direct precursor to “A New Hope” (to me, it’ll always be just “Star Wars,” when I was ten years old at the cinema). “Rogue One” was okay, by the numbers, but it was wrong to do “bigger and better.” An ancillary film should be smaller and leave that to the “event” films of upcoming episodes VIII and IX. The basic story practically repeated the gung-ho girl character type from “The Force Awakens,” and it was just action piled upon action.

It was clever how they made some of the known ships and Death Star look as they did in the 1977 film and clever with bringing a couple of 1977 actors back via matchmove and CGI. Ethically-speaking, it wasn’t good to do, in my book, for the deceased actor (notice I didn’t spoil anything) but they could have gone this route with all the actors in “The Force Awakens,” who phoned in their roles. See all »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
Dirk Wickenden, age 49 (United Kingdom)
Neutral—Star Wars movies are always about good v. Evil and we all know good will eventually win down the road. Star Wars movies are also about the movies, with recreated images from various well known and loved film genres, samurai movies, plane dogfight movies, pirate movies, foreign legion movies etc. This one has little to offer other than special effects.

If it has a genre as a “suicide mission” movie (“Where Eagles Dare” or something similar) it doesn’t have any joyous recall of the genre we got from earlier Star Wars films. The worst part is that it is hard to care much about any of the characters, particularly the two leads. Most interesting may be the blind samurai played by Donnie Yen and the main droid. The writers are hemmed in by the other stories that everyone knows, so we know which villains will get killed and which won’t (the CGI version of the late Peter Cushing for instance will get his in the next film) and from the genre that most or all of the “Rogues” will suffer the same fate.

This film’s main villain Krennic is not particularly interesting, and, in fact, even Darth Vader himself is not all that interesting. This leaves us with mostly a special effects movie, with well constructed war scenes as usual, if with sanitized violence and storm troopers biting the dust in droves. See all »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Stanley Hirtle, age 72 (USA)
Negative—All right, I know I should have liked it better, but those new reclining seats are a killer if the movie doesn’t engage. I found myself thinking I’d need a refresher course to really get the movie. Glad to see they saved some money on sets, make up and stuff from some of the old films, but while the plot and character development may have been enough for those who’ve read the book and are club members. My wife and I could not get it. The characters were one dimensional, the action predictable. Special thanks to whoever decided Jar Jar Binks was not needed to round out the cast. And I appreciated that the moments of pseudo-spiritual proclamations were fairly bearable. (At least no baby boy born to a virgin in this one.)

Even when given the Hollywood treatment, Tolkien or Lewis still retains a better flavor than these stories, but there is no replacing a good foundation. The film is moderately entertaining and certainly lives up to the term amusement.
Brian Olsen
Comments from young people
Negative—In my opinion, this movie wasn’t all that good. It didn’t really excite me all that much. If you take away the stormtroopers, the Death Star, Darth Vader, Princess Leia, and all the other stuff from the previous films, you’re left with a bunch of bland, random, sorta-cheap SCI-FI content. It’s basically just a randomized space action film with a mere pinch of Star Wars.See all »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
Phoenix, age 16 (Philippines)
Movie Critics
…exhilarating, good-natured and enjoyable adventure… [4/5]
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian (UK)
…a worthy entry in the franchise… If there’s a weak spot in “Rogue One,” it’s wit. … [4/5]
Sara Stewart, New York Post
…Action-packed and engaging… “Rogue One” definitely puts the war back into “Star Wars.” …What the film really lacks is a strong and vigorous male lead…
Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
…a gritty war movie with few kid-friendly ingredients. …Younger audiences will be bored, confused, or both. …
Peter Debruge, Variety
…gritty… this is very much a war movie… The look and mood of “Rogue One” is exceedingly dark…[3/4]
Peter Howell, Toronto Star Newspapers
…Several people exiting Monday from the Chicago press screening expressed the same three-word sentiment—“not for kids”… [3]
Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
…“Rogue One,” especially in its first half, has an appealing grittiness. …it doesn’t feel as fresh or as funny as The Force Awakens… [3½/5]
Cary Darling, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
…rather dark… often exciting, just as often over-busy and underwritten… “Rogue One” can feel mechanical but spurs “Star Wars” nostalgia… [2½]
Ty Burr, The Boston Globe
…“Rogue One” feels small in scale, even with its signature heroism and sci-fi action, and its main players mostly lack the charm that made Rey, Finn and Poe in last year’s “The Force Awakens”—or Han, Luke and Leia back in the day—so special. …
Brian Truitt, USA Today
…slow-starting, but eventually satisfying film… out of all the “Star Wars” films, this is probably the saddest. …
Stephen Whitty, ArtiSyndicate

PLEASE share your observations and insights to be posted here.