By Josh Reilly B.
Looking back, 2016 was a simpler time, wasn’t it? United States politics, which was a minefield even then, was mild compared to now. There were no lockdowns, no COVID-19, no monkeypox, no pandemics.
A time machine to take one back to a simpler period doesn’t (yet?) exist, but escapism provides a way to transport the mind to a world and a time far different than the present day. For Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, re-released in select IMAX theaters ahead of the prequel show Andor’s debut next month, audiences are transported back to 2016 (its initial year of release), a far more straightforward period in history compared to the complexity of 2022, and to, of course, a galaxy far, far away.
Rogue One made over $1 billion at the box office and immediately became a pop culture sensation upon its release in December of that year, and with many cycles on cable television and availability on Disney+, it’s safe to assume that most movie fans have seen the first ‘A Star Wars Story’ title by now. What, then, is the appeal of Rogue One’s release in 2022?
Simply put, and once again relating back to the time machine analogy, seeing Rogue One on the big screen again is escapism in its purest and most magical form. The story is just as captivating as it was the first time around, and knowing that Cassian Andor is set to be explored further with his own prequel series only adds to the excitement of seeing Gareth Edwards’ Star Wars film in IMAX. Cassian was, by and large, an unknown entity in Rogue One, intentionally kept in the shadows by the film’s creatives in order to attain the morally gray yet fighting for the right cause hero that they were aiming for. But knowing that a prequel series starring the character comes out next month, it almost feels as if the move to leave Cassian a blank slate of a back story was intentional. It obviously wasn’t (or was it…?), but there’s clearly so much room to explore Diego Luna’s already captivating character further. If there’s one Star Wars title to watch before Andor, it would certainly be Rogue One.
And what better way to watch it than in IMAX? The format enhances every movie that it plays, but Rogue One is perhaps the best example of this to date. The scale of the film is so huge, from the establishing shots detailing just how big the Death Star is to showing the extent of the weapon’s destruction. That scale looks the best and is presented at its finest in this IMAX format, and truly plays to the film’s strengths as one of the most visually appealing Star Wars titles to date.
It seems that no matter how many times fans have seen it, the ending of Rogue One still hits deep emotionally as well (something that, again, is heightened by its return to the big screen). Seeing Cassian die gives an extra pull on the heartstrings this time around too, with his prequel series set to expand upon his character in a way that is certain to make the final moments even more tragic. Just knowing that that is coming is enough to give the destruction of Scarif an added emotional kick.
The same sort of effect occurred when The Phantom Menace was released in 3D in 2011, more than a decade after the film initially came out. At that time, the first prequel movie released 12 years prior and there had been no live action Star Wars movie in theaters for six years. Here, a post Skywalker Saga break means that the franchise hasn’t been seen in theaters since The Rise of Skywalker in 2019. Just as it was in 2011 with The Phantom Menace’s re-release, it’s great to see a galaxy far, far away on the big screen once again.
Rogue One’s rerelease serves not only as a refresher to prepare for Andor on Disney+ next month, but also pure escapism to travel back to a galaxy far, far away on the big screen for the first time since 2019. If you’re going to watch the movie before Andor, it’s worth it to do so in IMAX.