After news of extensive reshoots and rumors concerning behind-the-scenes drama, the highly anticipated Star Wars anthology film, Rogue One, has finally arrived in theaters. And to the relief of moviegoers across the globe, both fans and critics alike are hailing the picture as a groundbreaking step forward for the franchise, and an encouraging show of good will for future spin-off endeavors and anthology stories.
In celebration of this brand new Star Wars picture, we have compiled a list of more than a dozen of the film’s best scenes. Both dialogue-driven character exchanges and action packed fight sequences make up this fun countdown. Fan-favorite characters and new faces alike can both be found just below. Of course, it should be noted that this list is chock full of spoilers, so if you have yet to see the film, you may want to head over to the theater and check it out before reading this article.
Still with us? Good.
Here are the 16 Best Scenes in Rogue One.
16. A New Hope
Just as director Gareth Edwards said it would, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story ended moments before A New Hope began. With the entire movie taking place within the original film’s opening crawl, the events of Rogue One are well-known by Star Wars faithful, but for the first time, fans got the opportunity to see these scenes transpire on the big screen. Those who have followed the film’s development closely most likely suspected that this prequel would end with the Death Star’s blueprints being handed over to the rebellion, but actually seeing the iconic Princess Leia in this film may have served as a surprise to many fans.
Through the use of CGI, moviegoers had the opportunity to see Leia looking as young and spry as she did almost 40 years ago. While some argue that this technology still is not quite where it needs to be, its continued improvements are evident in the final moments of Rogue One.
15. Empire Disguises
In yet another great callback moment for the franchise, Jyn and Cassian use Empire disguises in order to sneak into enemy territory. Rogue One was simply at its best in times of battle, but great character moments such as this served to give much-needed depth and humor throughout. Han Solo and company disguising themselves as stormtroopers serve as one of the most beloved scenes from the entire original trilogy, and this callback in the series’ latest prequel worked as a great nod to the iconic movies that came before.
While Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens was praised by fans and critics alike as a return to form, it was not without its detractors. One of the most common criticisms of the long-awaited follow-up was that it perhaps borrowed a bit too much from the original trilogy. The jury is still out as to whether or not Rogue One will be as beloved as the J.J. Abrams-directed Star Wars film from last year, but one aspect in which this anthology story exceeded expectations was in its ability to pay homage to the iconic trilogy without feeling like something fans have already experienced.
14. Crashing Star Destroyers
In a moment of pure, campy, Star Wars fun, a dogfight in space led to Star Destroyers crashing into one another, serving to lower the Empire’s shields. In a film that is much darker than anything we have seen from the franchise thus far, this moment harkened back to entertaining action beats – the likes of which fans have not seen since the ’80s.
In true Star Wars style, Rogue One‘s final battle featured several separate conflicts occurring simultaneously. Jyn, Cassian, and K-2S0 worked covertly to secure enemy plans. The rest of Rogue One served as a distraction for Empire forces, and the Rebellion arrived late in order to give ground troops much-needed backup. Air support was not simply a distraction, however. Without the support in the air, the blueprints for the Death Star would’ve never found way to Princess Leia. Not to mention that the two Star Destroyers crashing into each other will end up serving as one of this film’s most memorable images.
13. Jyn and Saw Gerrera Meet Again
As told through dialogue and exposition, Jyn and Saw Gerrera have quite the history. That said, moviegoers did not get the opportunity to see this history played out on screen until the two finally met nearly halfway through the film. The weight and gravitas that Academy Award-winner Forrest Whittaker brought to the character were evident, despite the fact that Saw Gerrera saw relatively little screen time.
The dynamic between the two characters was one of the most interesting relationships throughout the entire movie, again, despite seeing a small amount of time in the spotlight. Saw was a father figure for Jyn; a guardian and a protector. We find out during their interactions that he abandoned her years prior, and Saw now fears that Jyn has come to kill him. Their relationship is complicated, to say the least, but the acting capabilities between the two of them revealed depth that would otherwise not be possible in one mere character exchange. Exposition of this nature would generally fail in a lesser film, but due to the talent at play, Rogue One was able to pull it off.
12. A Rebellion Divided
In order to succeed in bringing down the Empire, and not to mention one of cinema’s most iconic villains, Darth Vader, one would imagine that the Rebellion would have to stand together united. However, this was not the case for most of this film. Whether it be the extremist Saw Gerrera or the different factions and ideals of the Rebellion, it did not appear as though the forces opposing the Galactic Empire were necessarily on the same page. This was perhaps most evident toward the end of the film’s second act.
Just having learned that her father purposely designed the Death Star with a major mechanical malfunction, Jyn returned to the Rebellion in order to inform the troops that there was still hope. The Death Star was slated to be the most powerful weapon in all of the galaxy, but given the current information, it looked like there was a convenient self-destruct button so to speak.
Even after a heartfelt speech, however, Jyn was unable to convince the Rebellion that to attack. Despite her best efforts, she came up short. Throughout the original Star Wars trilogy, the Rebellion was generally portrayed as the never-faltering protagonists. At numerous points within this film, it is established that the Rebellion is not without sin, illustrating the politics at play even among the galaxy’s greatest heroes.
11. The Force Is (Also) With Me
One of Rogue One‘s strengths as a film was its introduction of a few new, standout characters; one of the most memorable of all these characters being the Donnie Yen-portrayed Chirrut Îmwe. Simply put, Chirrut was a badass. Utilizing the Force and a keen sense of hearing, this blind character is one of the most feared fighters in the entire rebellion. By repeating his catchy mantra, “I am with the force and the force is with me,” the character solidified himself as a spiritual man through the power of meditation.
Yet another character that did not receive an overwhelming amount of screen time was Wen Jiang’s Baze Malbus. Baze and Chirrut were shown to be close friends and allies throughout the film, however, this relationship was shown on screen rather than described through exposition. That is perhaps the reason that, despite their limited amount of time in the spotlight together, their friendship was obvious and tangible for moviegoing audiences. When Chirrut died in the heat of battle, leaving Baze to pick up the mantra, it specifically struck a chord with fans and critics– proving how well their relationship worked.
10. Cassian’s Betrayal
As alluded to earlier, it is continually reiterated throughout Rogue One that the Rebellion is not without fault. War is dark, and the tactics necessary to win a fight against an enemy such as the Galactic Empire are sometimes terrible. This theme is perhaps most evident early in the film, in a scene featuring Diego Luna’s Cassian Andor. Cassian is a Rebellion fighter, but just because he is on the side of good, that does not necessarily mean that he is blameless. This character displays his willingness to do whatever it takes to defeat the Empire when he murders an informant after learning about the leak of the Death Star’s apparent weakness.
The quest to become a good man, rather than a good soldier plagues Cassian throughout the film, causing him to continually question his own motives. This theme is played over and over again throughout the character’s arc, causing friction between him and the film’s main protagonist Jyn Erso. Each scene and decision find Cassian torn between of blindly following orders for the good of the galaxy, or rather doing what is best according to his own morality.
9. The Cost of War
Immediately after witnessing the death of her estranged father, Jyn and Cassian were, yet again, at odds with one another. After realizing a change in Cassian’s inner Force, Chirrut revealed to the rest of the crew that the Rebel fighter might be on his way to kill Jyn’s father, Galen. Despite the fact that Cassian did not, in fact, pull the trigger, Jyn is still angered by the way he handled the situation. This led to one of the best character interactions from the entire film.
Obviously upset after the death of her father, Jyn confronts Cassian with warranted rage. During this scene, Cassian reveals that he has been with the Rebellion since he was six years old. As a rogue rebel, Jyn does not have to worry about what her superiors might think about her actions. She is accountable to no one. In this dialogue-driven scene, Cassian’s inner-conflict is revealed to the rest of the crew as well as the audience, giving his character depth and an intriguing backstory. His arc is not only interesting on a personal level, however, but it also serves as a peek into the heart and soul of the Rebellion before Luke, Han, and Chewie join the fight.
8. Enter Saw Gerrera
Saw Gerrera is a character who, for the majority of this film, is talked about by other characters rather than actually shown on screen. When filmgoers finally do see this character in action, however, it is clearly well worth the wait. The Forrest Whittaker-portrayed Saw Gerrera is described as an extremist, and he proves to be just that when fans are finally properly introduced to this character.
Taking rogue pilot Bodhi Rook prisoner, Gerrera more than lives up to his reputation by torturing the informant. Star Wars has always been a story about good versus evil, but this character operates outside of that sphere as more of an anti-hero. The refreshing aspect of Rogue One is that it ventures to tackle themes and characters that the main saga otherwise would not touch. Rogue One has always been presented as a war film set in the Star Wars universe, but seeing the final product delivered on the big screen was still a treat. Much like Gerrera, this film operated outside of what fans would normally expect from a Star Wars movie.
7. K-2S0’s Sacrifice
Just because this film was a bit darker than what fans are accustomed to does not mean that it was devoid of humor. In fact, there was plenty of comedic moments throughout this film that felt refreshingly authentic and unique. While most of the humor throughout the picture was situational, there were a lot of great comedic lines and moments from the franchise’s newest droid K-2S0. Whether it be butting heads with both Cassian and Jyn or ending a scene with a sarcastic remark, K-2S0 proved to be good for a laugh on more than a few occasions.
Despite being a droid, K-2S0 was packed with loads of charm, and that perhaps gave even more weight to his sacrifice in the final battle. Giving his final seconds of mechanical life to the Rebellion, K-2S0 played an integral role in stealing the plans for the Death Star. Over the course of the film, this character served as comedic relief and quickly became one of the audience’s favorite characters, serving up one of the more tragic endings in a third act filled to the brim with death and demise.
6. Rogue One Assembles
While Jyn’s heartfelt speech might not have been enough to persuade the entire Rebellion fleet, it did serve to inspire a number of Rebels to support the cause. Right after it seemed as though all was lost and the Rebellion would not support the fight against the Empire, a herd of Rebel soldiers gathered outside to persuade Jyn to continue her cause. It was a truly emotional moment in the film that worked to inspire not only the characters, but the audience as well.
This authentic moment would not have worked quite as well if not for a passing one-liner from fan-favorite droid K-2S0 either. This series of events also worked well as a red herring of sorts. Audiences may have thought that the Rebellion would have been moved by Jyn’s speech in the earlier scene, thusly agreeing to help her fight the Empire. However, that turned out not to be the case, but instead, a rebellion (within the Rebellion) was formed, and it quickly became known by its fitting codename “Rogue One.” By utilizing a small faction, rather than the entire Rebellion, the final battle felt more like an underdog story rather than an even match, serving to up the stakes.
5. Vader and Krennic
Ever since it was teased that Darth Vader would be making an appearance in Rogue One, fans have been theorizing about what his role in the film might be. It was widely believed that this role would be closer to a cameo than anything else, but it was still exciting news for moviegoers nonetheless.
Much has been said about Hayden Christensen’s portrayal of the man who would become Darth Vader, so without beating a dead horse, let’s just say that it was nice to see a portrayal of Vader that more closely aligned with what fans remember. In just a few minutes of screen time, this iconic villain asserted his menacing dominance over the film’s main antagonist, Orson Krennic. Vader was just as terrifying as we all remember him being in the original trilogy, sending this character off on a high note. Not to mention, audiences may have gotten their last glimpse of a Darth Vader Force choke on the big screen, and it was just as frightening and satisfying as it was decades ago.
4. Betrayal on the Bridge
As alluded to earlier, the battle on the bridge displayed numerous character conflicts and themes. In an attempt to lure out Galen Erso, urging him to confess his betrayal of the Galactic Empire, Orson Krennic gathered the engineer and his team on the bridge at gunpoint. Krennic pleaded with the team of engineers to come forward and admit to handing Death Star blueprints over to the rebellion, but alas, no one spoke up. When Krennic threatened to shoot each one of them, Galen stepped forward, admitting that it was he who leaked information concerning the massive weapon.
The scene concluded with a massive explosion that killed nearly everyone on the bridge, including Jyn’s father, Galen. Before he passed, however, he informed Jyn that his intentions were always to build the weapon, leaving an exposure that would act as a self-destruct button of sorts. By leaving a gaping weakness, he believed that the Galactic Empire would one day be stopped, and he hoped that Jyn would forgive him for besmirching the family name and abandoning her years ago. This heroic act served as the ultimate sacrifice and, in fact, led to the eventual downfall of the Empire.
3. The Rebellion Rebels
Again, this movie was always presented as a war film, but it perhaps lived up to this moniker most during the movie’s first battle between the Empire and the Rebellion. While the Empire worked to gather materials for their plane-destroying weapon, the Rebellion worked to cut them off at the source. With an all-out brawl in the streets, this scene served as the most visceral battle of the entire film.
The beauty of this battle was the fact that it felt more like an actual war zone rather than an out-of-this-world, sci-fi conflict. This all changed, however, when audiences first saw Chirrut in action. Taking on hordes of stormtroopers all by himself, Chirrut asserted himself as one of the Rebellion’s best fighters early on. In one, well-choreographed battle, this Force-faithful warrior seemed as though he could take on the entire Empire by himself.
That said, there were plenty of quality moments throughout this battle sequence. This scene alone lived up to the promise of the movie’s trailers and gave fans the gritty Star Wars action movie that they may not have even known they were waiting for.
2. Krennic and Galen Face Off
Yes, this film is certainly action packed, but that is not to say that it is without its brilliant character moments and inspired dialogue. Not every exchange in this film works, but the opening dialogue between Galen Erso and Orson Krennic certainly does. Serving to set the stakes, this one exchange lays out the path for the rest of the narrative moving forward.
In a film full of world class talents, Ben Mendelsohn and Mads Mikkelsen stand out as two of the finer actors from the entire cast. Not only are these two of Hollywood’s most talented thespians, but it turns out that they have pretty good chemistry on screen as well. Chemistry is often a word attributed to on-screen couples, but this also applies to friendly duos and, of course, enemies. Krennic and Galen may not have been the best of pals, but the character exchanges between the two were simply magnetic, and the film’s opening scene was no exception. In fact, if it were not for an iconic cinematic villain, this scene may have found itself in the number one spot.
1. Vader Slaughters
If this scene is the last thing we ever see from Darth Vader on the big screen, then it was certainly an amazing way to say farewell. Like numerous other characters from this film, Vader made a lasting impact despite limited screen time. Even with only a few minutes to shine, Rogue One reminds audiences why this villain is one of cinema’s most iconic.
Simply put, director Gareth Edwards and company hit the nail on the head with regard to the tone and character of Darth Vader. This did not feel like a new interpretation of the villain, but rather another look into the same fan-favorite character that we all know and love.
Even though this villain feels awfully familiar, this is perhaps the most violent and visceral we have seen him yet. Trying to stop the Rebellion from releasing the blueprints of the Death Star weapon, Vader was arguably more frightening than we have ever seen him before. If it wasn’t before, it is now apparent why he is so feared throughout the galaxy.
Do you agree with our list? What are your favorite scenes from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story? Make sure to let us know in the comments section.