Christmas has come early for me! Opening in our own galaxy this Friday from director Gareth Edwards, Lucas Films and Walt Disney Studios is the high anticipated adventure “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”

Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen) is farming with wife Lyra (Valene Kane) and young daughter Jyn when they are visited by Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn). Demanding that Galen return to his work with the Galactic Empire creating a weapon to stop the rebellion, Krennic isn’t happy when Galen refuses. He sends troops to search for young Jyn, but she is no where to be found.

They don’t know she has been taken in by Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker), it is brief as Jyn (Felicity Jones) is now grown, a criminal and working in a forced labor camp. That is until she is rescued by Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) and reconditioned robot K-2SO (voiced by Alan Tudyk) and taken before the Senate leaders of the Rebellion.

They want Jyn’s help in finding where the plans for the Death Star may be and how to obtain them to help the rebellion. When her only other choice is to help or return to the labor camp, Jyn begrudgingly agrees to go with Cassian to the city of Jedah. There they meet Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen) and Baze Malbus (Wen Jiang) by walking straight into a street battle.

The group also finds Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed), an Imperial pilot who knows Galen! With the location of the plans, they come together and go to the one place no one else would dare go — straight into the Imperial base surrounded and guarded by those whose only goal is to crush the rebellion.

They need to save the rebellion and save the dream!

Jones as Jyn carries the film as a strong character that remembers what happened when she was young. Wanting to find her father, the mission becomes so much more than she could have ever imagined. Jones has the right amount of gumption and emotion giving her character heart and even if she is afraid it doesn’t stop her from going forward.

Luna as Cassian is very focused on what needs to be done to ensure the security of the rebellion. He has the backing of the Senate because this soldier believes in bringing down the Empire. Meeting Jyn doesn’t change that goal, only reshapes how to make it happen.

Tudyk as the voice of K-2SO is absolutely hilarious and clear that this robot has a mind and opinion all his own.

Mendelsohn as Krennic is a man with an agenda that includes taking down anyone that gets in his way. Whitaker as Gerrera sees what Jyn is capable of but also knows the Empire can not be stopped without her.

I was excited when learning that Donnie Yen would be part of “Rogue One” as Chirrut Imwe. Following his career for several years now from Asian/martial arts films, this is perfect casting. Everything he does has purpose and reminds me of another Jedi master. Jiang as Malbus protects Imwe and clearly knows his way around heavy weaponry which is always handy when fighting any Galactic Empire. Ahmed as Rook is quick and has no trouble showing off his own rebellion side!

Mikkelsen as Galen has the perfect demeanor for this character. He doesn’t have much to say because everything is in his eyes. He has the ability to cut his eyes in such a way that even I’m a little scared of him. I love that he took this role.

Other cast include Alistair Petrie as General Draven, Genevieve O’Reilly as Mon Mothma, Ben Daniels as General Merrick, Ian McElhinney as General Dodonna, Fares Fares as Senator Vaspar, Sharon Brewster as Senator Pamlo, and Jimmy Smits as Bail Organa.

TUBS OF POPCORN: I give “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” five tubs of popcorn out of five. From the moment the screen lit up I was taken in immediately and in such a way that time reversed a little taking me back to 1977. “Rogue One” brings with it such familiarity that it felt as if no time had passed between those weekends I spent in the theatre watching “Star Wars” and now.

What I mean by that is this film brings with it the costuming, a story that mingles easily into the “Star Wars” realm of storytelling yet intense with layering and small nuances that fans are going to get giddy over. It is amazing how one moment in the original “Star Wars” storyline (and you’ll know when that is soon enough) brought about this absolutely fantastic cinematic adventure

If those I watched the film with gave any indication of what is to come in theatres this Friday, well, lets just say that thirty plus years are going to melt away and the reaction by fans is going to be epic.

I do not want to go into details because it is the details that I want everyone to experience for themselves. Just know that there isn’t going to be a disappointing moment in the 133 minutes of sheer joy on the screen.

What I would ask is that everyone seeing “Rogue One” this weekend refrain for a bit from going into detail about the film. Let everyone have the opportunity to enjoy every aspect of what has been put together for fans.

Be prepared to drop your jaw a few times and know that this is a pure Star Wars story fans have been waiting for.

In the end — it is a rebellion built on hope!



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About the Author

Jeri Jacquin

Jeri Jacquin covers film, television, DVD/Bluray releases, celebrity interviews, festivals and all things entertainment.