Movie Review: On the Dark and Light in Star Wars

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The grittiness of “Rogue One” doesn’t place the story outside the Star Wars moral universe—it shows the contours of that universe in even greater relief.

By Dr. Thomas P. Harmon

The newest Star Wars movie is different. That is not a controversial observation. Many of the features that shout “Star Wars!” have been deliberately removed: the opening crawl, the John Williams score, the Jedi as on-screen characters, etc. Another difference is the title. Each previous movie led with “Star Wars”: Star Wars: A New Hope; Star Wars: The Phantom Menace; Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The latest installment is called Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The difference is subtle but important: the films that follow the Skywalker family are Star Wars. They are the Star Wars story. Rogue One, by contrast, is a Star Wars story. It is ancillary, perhaps even secondary. That means it will be different in other respects, too, that are more crucial to the story being told.

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