There was a time when Star Wars fans couldn’t wrap their heads around a non-saga film. Yet with no central Skywalker figure, no familiar droids, and a cast of largely unknown actors, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story had no problem amassing $1 billion worldwide. And now, it arrives on Blu-Ray, DVD and digital for fans to obsessively watch, poring over every tiny detail and background character. Because with Star Wars, that’s just what you do.
Taking place right before the original Star Wars film, Rogue One instantly feels nostalgic and familiar to fans. While there is plenty of fan service for the diehards who have read every tie-in book and seen every episode of The Clone Wars/Rebels, it’s easily accessible to casual fans who only know the original films. For this reason, if you’ve ever seen a “Star War,” you owe it to yourself to see Rogue One.
Jyn Erso was just a child when the Empire abducted her father, a brilliant engineer who was forced to create their “Star Killer.” Now a young woman, Jyn suddenly finds herself a part of the Rebel Alliance when she thinks there’s a chance of seeing her father again. But the real task at hand is to steal the plans to the Death Star and find a way to destroy it, and Jyn and her team are the only rebels capable of doing it.
The events of Rogue One directly lead into the Luke Skywalker story, enhancing your enjoyment and appreciation of the original 1971 classic. In fact, I defy you to not instantly want to revisit A New Hope as Rogue One comes to an end. It makes a perfect double feature for your next movie night in.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is available on Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital HD combo pack from all major providers and that version is the subject of this review. If you’re looking for 3D Blu-ray, you don't have to wait like you did for The Force Awakens. It's available in the third dimension on release day, but as a store exclusive at Target (with an interchangeable cover) and Best Buy (in steelbook packaging).
As you would expect, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has a perfect video presentation. Black levels are handled exceptionally well and like most Star Wars films, the color palette tends to be earth tones. However, the battle on the tropical planet Scarif provides some bright greens and blues. Detail remains crisp and clear throughout.
The primary track on this release is a 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix. It expertly places you in the center of the action, with score and sound effects floating around the room. Other audio options include a 2.0 descriptive audio track and 5.1 French and Spanish mixes.
All bonus features are found on the bonus Blu-Ray disc.
- The Stories (1:08:58) – A making-of feature that focuses almost exclusively on the character aspect of shaping the story of Rogue One, with interviews from the cast and creative team and some revealing information on how it evolved and progressed during production. It can be watched as a feature via a “Play All” option, or you can watch each section individually.
- A Rogue Idea (8:59) – Kathleen Kennedy kicks off this introduction. From John Knoll’s initial idea to the decision to make Rogue One the first standalone Star Wars film, this introduction also includes how director Gareth Edward’s was hired.
- Jyn: The Rebel (6:15) – Felicity Jones reveals what makes Jyn Erso such a strong character, while the creative team explores the character’s origin.
- Cassian: The Spy (4:14) – Diego Luna explores what makes Cassian such an unusual hero.
- K-2SO: The Droid (7:43) – Footage of Alan Tudyk on set in a leotard with an extended K-2 head on his shoulders make this section the funniest of the entire feature.
- Baze & Chirrut: Guardians of the Wills (6:19) – Chinese actors Jiang Yen and Donnie Wen discuss bringing these memorable characters to life and how their faith makes them so special.
- Bodhi & Saw: The Pilot & The Revolutionary (8:35) – Riz Ahmed and Forest Whitaker reflect on their drastically different casting stories while exploring their characters.
- The Empire (8:17) – All things Empire are discussed in this section, including Orson Krennick, Grand Moff Tarkin, and Darth Vader.
- Visions of Hope: The Look of Rogue One (8:24) – Sets, props and costumes are the focus of this section with an interesting commentary by Gareth Edwards about how challenging it is to make a Star Wars film look and feel new, yet timeless at the same time.
- The Princess and the Governor (5:49) – This section concerns the film’s two main motion capture performances and the actors who stood in for them.
- Epilogue: The Story Continues (4:15) – The final section covers the film’s release with footage from the premiere and also gives hints at what's to come from the Star Wars Story standalone series.
- Rogue Connections (4:31) – The only other bonus feature is this fun, but all too brief, look at the Easter Eggs and nods to other Star Wars properties that are hidden in Rogue One.
Packaging & Design
Rogue One is housed in a standard Blu-Ray case with stacked disc holders on the interior covers. The Blu-Ray feature is stacked above the DVD, while the bonus Blu-Ray disc is on the opposite side. Disc art is included on all discs and the only insert is a digital copy code, redeemable through Disney Movies Anywhere and all linked providers. The case is housed in a holofoil slipcover in its initial pressing. There aren’t any trailers on either disc.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story lives up to the reputation of the original trilogy, telling a quality and engaging story. While the success of the mission is obvious to any who have seen A New Hope, the journey to get there is full of twists, surprises, and memorable new characters. With amazing picture and sound, plus a great documentary about the story’s creation, fans will love watching this film again and again (and again).