Television

Why I’m Excited: Rogue One TV Series

Full disclosure: I was trying to avoid writing this one, in part because I just did a Star Wars-centric piece and I wanted to space (no pun intended) out Star Wars articles. Yet when the Rogue One TV series was announced with Diego Luna reprising the role of Cassian Andor, the possibilities began rolling around in my brain. The overall conceit is an interesting one: a spy thriller couched in the Star Wars universe. While I will admit that focusing on Diego Luna’s character may contribute to shrinking the universe (not to mention throwing Luna’s status with the Scarface remake into question), I can’t help but feel that there is an opportunity here to explore new corners of the galaxy far, far away.

When Rogue One was announced, it was conceived as a gritty war film, thus setting it apart from previous entries in the franchise. Reviews often spoke about how, while the movie was still very much Star Wars, it fully embraced the new slant hinted at in the opening crawl of A New Hope. In many ways, Rogue One has served as a template for a new direction for the franchise, so it almost seems poetic for Lucasfilm to have their second live-action series connected to their first effort outside the main saga. By centering it on one of the movies most popular characters, we can have a more complete picture of Andor which will enhance the viewing experience of Rogue One in the same way Rogue One enhanced A New Hope.

Rogue One, Star Wars, Cassian Andor

One of the first possibilities (aside from the first meeting with K2SO, which I’ll get to in a bit) is that there would be an exploration of how Cassian got started as a Rebel spy. We would get to see how potentially being from a Separatist family (or, at least, a family of Separatist sympathizers) impacted his decision to join the Rebellion. Except for a few episodes of Clone Wars, the Separatists weren’t portrayed as central characters, often vilified as faceless, misguided people indulging a charismatic leader in Count Dooku, who was a great orator only interested in manipulating the people to suit the needs of Darth Sidious. From the Separatists’ perspective, the Republic was in the wrong, so it’d be interesting to see how the Andor family felt, particularly at the dawn of the Empire. By using Andor as a vehicle, we’d be able to explore a new aspect of the prequel era, thus at least partially justifying the idea of using a character whose end we already know. Perhaps in the course of the show, we would get to meet other former Separatists.

Another big idea is the fact that Cassian seemed resigned to killing someone who may have compromised his mission in Rogue One. Throughout all of the Star Wars, the soldiers getting shot seemed to be faceless storm troopers. So when a scared man begged Cassian for help and his response was to kill the guy, that opened up a bevy of questions about not just Cassian but the Rebellion as a whole. Scenes like this make a case for why it is important to move on from the Skywalker saga, which is often sanitized as a story of good versus evil. During a war, people often do things that fall into grey areas; things that look or feel wrong from, well, a certain point of view are done anyway for the perceived greater good. Cassian simply kept moving after the kill without much regard for his informant. Finding out what pushed Cassian to that point would be fascinating, albeit hard to watch given his aforementioned ruthless demeanor.

Then there is the story of how K2SO and Cassian met, considering the droid was initially associated with the Empire. I would love to eventually see that moment dramatized on screen. Hopefully, Alan Tudyk, who is about to start playing a role in DC’s Doom Patrol, will reprise the role. To me, this relationship is the biggest reason why I’m excited for this show, as I feel that was the most fun relationship in Rogue One. It often felt like they were a new version of Han and Chewie, except instead of smuggling being their main focus, it was all about fortifying the Rebellion. To have a TV show that would develop that relationship even further is incredibly exciting. The more I thought about this show, the more I wanted to see an evil K2SO and how that storyline would play out. Did Cassian first approach his droid partner with the same lethal intent he did the ill-fated fellow soldier? Who in the Rebellion put him together with the droid? I can’t wait to find out!

Rogue One, Star Wars, Bail Organa

Speaking of the Rebellion, one of the other big opportunities that arise with this show is the ability to explore other prequel characters. One of the greatest missed opportunities of the prequels was the cut subplot from Revenge of the Sith involving the beginnings of the Rebellion, which in turn minimized the always awesome Natalie Portman’s role (bad dialogue aside, but l digress). So the idea of getting to explore the inner workings beyond Leia will give us insight into the greatest underdogs in cinematic history. Walking into Rogue One,  the thing I was most excited about was the fact that Bail Organa (once again played by Dexter and NYPD Blue’s Jimmy Smits) was going to return – not expecting to enjoy Cassian and K2SO as much as I did – and, thanks to this series, it is  possible to see the actor play that role again.

Although a Rogue One TV show was the last thing anyone expected, it is a welcome surprise. With Luna returning to his Rogue One role, there is now an opportunity to explore a new side of the Rebellion, as well as harken back to various ideas dating back to the prequels, from the Separatists to returning fan favorites. Exploring new territory is of paramount importance to the future of the Star Wars brand, and under the right auspices, this new show just might succeed in that mandate.

 

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