Star Wars is back in a big way. As Star Wars: The Force Awakens smashes box office records across the board, the franchise is no longer treading water. It's surging ahead. Positive fan and critical response to Episode 7 signifies both a return to form for the saga and paves the way for the future of Star Wars in all of its incarnations.
With Episode 8 a long year and a half away, fans are already gearing up for the first installment of the Anthology series, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The first standalone Star Wars film, currently in production, follows rebel spies as they seek the blueprints for the freshly minted Death Star -- leading up to the backdoor of Episode 4. Aside from that, fans know precious little else, as Disney is very good at keeping secrets. However, Ben Mendelsohn (Bloodline), recently discussed the future of the legendary series.
The actor, who is also known for his role in The Dark Knight Rises, recently finished shooting his scenes on the Rogue One set. Although Mendelsohn reveals little about his supposed role as a villainous Moff in his talk with Deadline, he does express his excitement at being a part of the franchise. He also gives his blessing to Episode 7 and explores how it will impact the upcoming Anthology film:
“I wouldn’t want to spoil anything for anyone on those levels…But you can expect something pretty special, I’d like to think. I was in the audience for number seven and it was delightful. It exceeded my wildest hopes and dreams for what it might be. It’s a beautiful film. So we’ve got something to reach for and that’s a good thing.”
Mendelsohn, whose career is on the rise, was extremely excited to take part in a film series which had a long-term impact on his life:
“So it was, like, 1977, and I was there…What can I say? I bought it. I bought it lock, stock and barrel. I’ve been a fan of it forever. It’s Star Wars, and there’s nothing more that you can say about that, because anyone that actually knows what that means, they get it.”
While Mendelsohn being a huge fan who loved acting in the “Star Wars world” doesn’t necessarily prove that the first standalone film has merit, his enthusiasm doesn’t hurt. With an excellent cast including Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything) as the rebel leader, Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal), Riz Ahmed (Nightcrawler), and Alan Tudyk (Firefly) presumably as rebels, as well as a batch of legitimate British officers as rebel soldiers, Rogue One is shaping up to be a unique Star Wars experience.
Director Gareth Edwards' (Godzilla) use of practical effects and selection of original characters – with the exception of one heavy breather – could make Rogue One truly stand out from the other films in the series. Even with all the high caliber talent in the world, though, it will be interesting to see how a Star Wars 'heist' movie without a major Skywalker connection turns out. Hopefully, Rogue One will provide a refreshing look at the Star Wars universe after Rebels and before A New Hope.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens is now in theaters, followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.