This movie has given my love for The Force Awakens a run for its money! Despite no Luke (♥), Leia or Han Solo it tugged at my heartstrings and made me love it too. Warning- some spoilers ahead.

Rogue One is the first atypical Star Wars movie, that isn’t part of the existing numbered series; but yet, it does better than that, it FITS into the series seamlessly. It ties up loose ends that didn’t quite make sense before, and connects the various movie and tv series together.

The movie starts by showing Jyn Erso, as a girl witnessing her mother’s death, and her father’s kidnapping by the Emperor’s troops. She is saved by a Rebel maverick who raises her for many years until it becomes too dangerous for him to do so, as she is known to be the daughter of the lead engineer of the Death Star, which put a heavy price on her head. Through some dicey interactions, she becomes entangled with some Rebels and a defector from the Death Star who knew her father. Jyn is swept into a plot that uses her connection to her father as bait to help the Rebel Alliance. A true motley group of men (see my later criticism of this) head out to get plans that will help destroy the planet killer. There are several epic battle scenes and many difficult sacrifices are made.

That the movie ends on a tragic note, is realistic. The war phrase “All gave some, but some gave all” is the sad reality of a rebellion. Yet, they make sure that connects in with another phrase used in the film, “Rebellions are built on hope”. There is a nugget of hope built into the satisfying but sad conclusion, and that then leads us into the original movie, A New Hope.

Easter eggs abound in the movie- and I adored trying to find them all. From the blue milk in the beginning, to the Rebels connections such as showing The Ghost ship, an intercom page for General Syndulla and showing the droid Chopper, and the use of the bacta tank for a certain someone. I personally was okay with the digitally recreated actor and actress used in the film, the old footage used, and for some characters to be recast or brought in again to make connections between the films. It was done well, and made sense in furthering the plot.

For all my fangirling, this movie is not perfect. Despite Jyn being absolutely kick ass, there was a dearth of other female characters. Two major ways in which the movie failed to represent was with the rebel fighters, and what the hell, why were there no female scientists on the Death Star?! There was little character development and/or background on many of the main characters, but I will give that a relative pass, due to the stand alone nature of the film.

Overall, this movie showed that Disney can do the proper research in connecting Star Wars canon together. I hate when series have major loop holes or blatantly go against what was previously said (such as when Leia says she remembers her mother, but then a “later” movie shows Padmé dying after giving birth…but I digress) so that the writers and director showed proper respect to a legion of fans who notice these kind of details in the Star Wars universe. Jyn, Cassian, Chirrut, Baze, Bodhi and K-2SO (loved him) were fantastic additions to the Star Wars cast and if this storytelling continues, Disney will have handled the buyout of Star Wars beautifully.

So my Star Wars friends, remember, “I’m one with the force, the force is with me”!