Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has had more question marks hovering over it than one would typically expect from a Star Wars movie, being the first feature film set outside the continuity of the main series and taking on a different tone and aesthetic in order to differentiate itself. Although Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens revived the beloved sci-fi adventure franchise by continuing the main saga, Rogue One is the first of Disney and Lucasfilm’s spinoff films. It’s set just prior to the events of A New Hope and relates the story of the Rebel team that retrieved the top-secret blueprints for the original Death Star whose transfer from Princess Leia to R2D2 set the plot of the Original Trilogy into motion.

Now months of speculation about Rogue One are over since the film has held its world premiere tonight — and reactions from the lucky attendees are beginning to roll in.

On the whole, the first reactions to Rogue One appear to be extremely positive, with star Felicity Jones (who portrays Jyn Erso) receiving praise, in addition to the new droid K-2SO (played by Alan Tudyk) gaining attention as a potential new fan-favorite. Not every early reaction (full reviews have been placed under embargo until the film’s wide release next week) has been 100 percent uncritical. But, thus far the enthusiastic response of journalists, industry professionals and fans alike would suggest that fears of the film being hampered by extensive reshoots and rumors of studio reluctance to diverge too sharply from the tone and style of the main series may have been overstated:

Wide audiences can judge the film for themselves when Rogue One opens next week, with many industry analysts predicting a huge (possibly record-setting) box office take and heavy traffic throughout the holidays. Even still, Lucasfilm has cast doubt on the prospect of seeing a direct follow-up to the exploits of these new characters any time soon.

The Star Wars release schedule is set to return to the main series next year with the still untitled Star Wars: Episode VIII, followed by another “Story” installment after that. Upcoming spinoffs already known to be in development include a solo feature following a young Han Solo (which has a May 2018 release date) and a possible star-vehicle for fan-favorite Boba Fett – though the later has not officially been greenlit and has not attached any talent to its production.

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