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The original Star Wars was inspired by serial films: short, episodic movies screened before a main feature. All the episodes ended with a cliffhanger: the hero or heroine left in dire straits (much to Mark Knopfler’s chagrin). Except for the last episode, when the good guy finally and completely defeated the evil villain. Yay! Done.

Rogue One is as far removed from Star Wars’ original recipe for excess as The Seventh Seal.

For one thing, the entire franchise is jumping around the story line like Marty McFly on meth. For another, Rogue One’s digitally reconstituted bad guy doesn’t get his comeuppance (deconstruction?). Worst of all, Rogue One fails to embody the gestalt that informed the first three movies. It isn’t rollicking (never mind fun).

Rogue One is morose: sullen, sulky, gloomy, ill-tempered, dour, surly, sour, glum, moody, melancholy, brooding, broody, doleful, miserable, depressed, dejected, despondent, downcast, unhappy, grumpy, irritable, churlish, cantankerous, crotchety, cross, crabby, cranky, testy, snappish, grouchy, peevish and crusty.

Now that I’ve got that off my chest — it’s my gun blog and I’ll kvetch if I want to — let’s get to the question of the day. First, a quick plot recap . . . [SPOILER ALERT]

The Rebel Alliance sends Cassian Andor (named after a delicious Moroccan appetizer) to Planet Eadu (named after a flightless bird) to assassinate Galen Erso (named after a mileage enhancing transmission fluid), the man who designed the Death Star (to resemble a disco ball with a divot).

After making eyes at Jyn Erso (the alcoholic version of Galen), Andor (a name that cries out for a forward slash between syllables) positions himself for the kill shot.

At the exact moment Andor readies his A180 rifle (in sniper configuration), Orson Krennic (“we’ll destroy no planet before its time“) arrives on Eadu to remind Andor’s target for whom he works (Imperial Galen, geddit?).

Krennic calls Erso onto the proverbial in-this-case-rain-soaked carpet outside the station. On an exposed, rain-slicked platform — making it ever-so-easy for Andor to complete his mission and kill Jyn’s Old Man before a Rebel raid swoops in and kills him anyway.

But Andor doesn’t take the shot. For reasons that I can’t quite fathom. Moral qualms? The situation changed? Help me. And tell me: would you have taken the shot?

NOTE: I totally screwed the pooch in the previous version of this post, thinking that Andor held fire out of love for Jyn. Wishful thinking . . .

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  1. They were acting based on some pretty weak intelligence.

    Also what the heck is “impress a woman who put the “gyn” in androgyny” supposed to mean? Sounds like somebody’s compensating for something. Let’s leave the misogyny to other sites, I come here for gun news, not to complain about women.

  2. He had a clean shot on Orson Krennic … should’ve killed him while he had the chance, and the storm troopers and other bad-guy minions likely would’ve blown their load and killed everyone else along with the rebel fighters. Instead, bad guy gets away, and the good-bad guy dies anyhow.

    • I know right!!?

      After spending most of the prior week’s down time reading my free copy of “Savage State” I was expecting a little bit higher quality in the sniping.

      But this is StarWars. It did seem like the Storm Troopers faired slightly better than the NYPD in this Episode…

  3. I would not be able to take that shot, since the Empire did nothing wrong I won’t support the terrorist activities of the ‘rebel’ alliance.

      • Watching the Jedha ambush gave me far more sympathy for the Empire, to go with your point. That could have been the Empire’s version of Black Hawk Down, the way that played out.

    • Lol, they built a planet killing laser but they “dindu nuffin.” Right. I bet they were just getting ready to turn their life around too…

  4. He didn’t take the shot because he saw that Jyn was telling the truth. He watched Krennec and Erso’s interaction and could tell his orders were not only wrong, but would blow the only chance at getting the plans and being able to stop the Empire.

    • Yes but — the Death Star was broken. The Empire wanted Erso to fix it. Kill Erso, broken Death Star. And didn’t Jyn have to get the plans anyway?

      • At that point they didn’t know it was broken nor how it was broken, so they didn’t know it needed fixing. Perhaps they suspected sabotage of some type which would have been a strong driver for them to not only prevent the plans from getting to the rebels, but also to figure how it was sabotaged so they could guard/fix it (i.e. capture the specific set of plans the rebels had stolen rather than just destroy said plans).

      • Um, that was like 10 years prior. By this point, Galen has fixed it and it’s good to go. So that stellar battle station has sailed.

        I think most military members would have taken the shot – because orders and Galen was a high-ranking enemy officer. Of course, per the script, it would have been a mistake as a dead Galen wouldn’t have been able to tell his daughter about the flaw that he had deliberately engineered into the design of the Death Star (in possibly the biggest RetCon / FanWank in Galactic history; because of course the Empire doesn’t employ engineering audits or even common sense).

      • Nope, the Death Star was working a treat and would have gone on ticking like a Timex forever if not for the torpedoes in the exhaust port.

        That fatal vulnerability was what Galen engineered into the Death Star. Only he knew about it, and his message to Saw was in the hopes that the Rebellion would then be able to retrieve the plans from Scarif, see the flaw, and find a way to exploit it. Krennic never knew of what Galen had done, Tarkin never knew, Vader never knew.

        Killing Galen at that point is maybe a revenge killing at best, and at worst, it’s eliminating a valuable source of intelligence. It ends up being moot anyway, because Cassian can’t call off the air strike in time, but Galen’s death gains the Rebellion nothing.

        • Actually, his death still helped the Rebellion and hurt the Empire. Had he lived and stayed in Empire custody, the Empire may have been able to get the nature of the flaw out of him.

        • I can see that from Cassian’s and the Rebellion’s point of view. The audience knows that Krennic is mostly on the wrong track, and could probably be stalled long enough. Tarkin and Vader have no clue, and are conspiring to eliminate Krennic, the only person in the Empire with the slimmest chance of finding out. So it’s pretty unlikely that Galen remaining with the Empire would have made a difference.

  5. I found the whole premise of the assassination plot flimsy. The Rebellion knew the Empire was working on a planet destroying super weapon. They knew Galen Erso was the head engineer. They knew he sent a pilot to Jedha with intelligence on the super weapon he was creating. When the message was lost, the Rebellion still wanted to kill Galen, instead of extracting him and getting the information on the super weapon directly.


    • Actually, they DIDN’T know that Galen had sent the pilot. And since only Jyn saw the evidence that he was sandbagging the project before the Empire blew everything to rubble, they went with the only bit of unbiased intel they did get: the “traitor’s” location. At which point, from their point of view, killing him made sense, especially with the shoe-string resource budget they were working with. Either they hurt the project by taking out the lead engineer, or they send a message to everyone considering collaborating with the Empire. Ideally, both.

      • No, the part about Galen sending the pilot was known. Cassian learned that from his informant on the space station at the beginning of the movie. The mission to Jedha was to make contact with the pilot, receive and confirm the intel, and then if it checks out, extract Galen Erso from wherever he was so he could testify before the Senate (but in reality, kill him).

  6. Jyn. With a J.

    — SPOILERS —

    He doesn’t take the shot because he’s having a moment of conscience and a crisis of faith, not because he’s feeling anything for Jyn. He barely knows her at that point.

    Jyn has told Cassian that Galen has engineered a flaw into the Death Star. However, she didn’t save the message before Jedha was destroyed, so it’s only her word, with no corroborating evidence.

    On the one hand, Cassian has his orders. On the other hand, the damage is done, the Death Star is complete, he’s seen how much destruction it can wreak, and capturing Erso for interrogation would be much more valuable in fighting it than simply killing him, especially if Jyn’s right. On top of that, it’s yet another man killed in cold blood, yet another dirty deed the Rebellion has asked of him.

    That’s the struggle he’s facing on the other side of the scope. Because of what he’s seen and learned, he has doubts about whether his existing orders make sense. But he’s not the kind of officer to casually toss aside orders either.

    As for the movie itself, it is awesome and a great time. There are moments of comic relief throughout, mainly via K-2SO, Cassian’s reprogrammed Imperial droid. There are great battles, both on the ground and in space. It really puts the WAR in Star Wars. And there’s a sequence that demonstrates just exactly why Vader is so feared. Best of all, the things you learn in Rogue One make A New Hope an even better movie.

  7. I haven’t seen it yet, but I liked the look of Rogue One when I heard of it. Enough with the amoral space samurai with psychic herpies, I want to see the people doing the “War” part of Star Wars.

  8. Haven’t these guys ever heard of cruise missiles? What’s with sneaking up close enough for a single sniper shot?

    It would seem that the mission was important enough to be able to accept some collateral damages.

    And is it just me or does that rifle look like it’s built around a Luger P-08 chassis?

    • The Rebellion doesn’t have cruise missiles, but they do strafe the base with starfighters, so not a huge difference overall. As for the sneaking, initially Rebellion Intelligence was looking to do this covertly, even from their own people. Outwardly, the mission was extraction, but Cassian was given the secret mission of killing Galen.

      Yes, that is built around a Luger. That’s not Cassian’s gun, though, which is built around an AR lower.

  9. I wish I took a shot……at a refund. R1 sucked. Sure, it’s a well made movie but what a huge boring POS. Same for TFA. Such blatant cash grabs. I don’t know if it’s possible to enjoy those movies if you’re over 12 years old.

    If you want good sci-fi, watch Arrival. Although that movie is not really about aliens. Hacksaw Ridge was even better.

    • At least R1 wasn’t just a hash-up of the previous movies. And it actually had, you know, dialog and a plot.

      Arrival … Yeah, more of a fantasy than SF. There are some serious problems with key plot elements in particular, as well as the overall sociological and physical implications, of the “weapon.”

      I stopped enjoying it when I realized what the “weapon” did. And the more I ponder it, the less I like it.

      • I think Arrival was just one giant metaphor. It was more about problem solving / conflict resolution than anything else. So in that sense it was pretty good, but yeah, there’s too much hype surrounding it.

        TFA was just New Hope, but worse. Same plot, same characters, but they somehow managed to botch all of it. Thanks Jar Jar Abrams.

        R1 had potential, and it appears that originally it was a better, darker movie, but they re-shot portions of it. They ended up with a long, boring POS cash grab excuse of a movie.

  10. I thought he was sent there to extract Urso then some shady (middle management type) higher rank than him but lower rank than the orders came from tried to pull a fast one by convincing him to against his orders and kill Urso? If that’s the case they would both have been screwed is he killed him.

    I was only half paying attention to the Mexican bootleg I was watching so I’m probably mistaken.

    • No, you got it. His orders were to capture Galen Erso, and his immediate CO pulled him aside and changed the orders without the knowledge of the higher-ups.

  11. Who would plan an assassination mission to a secret space base by sending a sniper to approach the base on foot? How did they anticipate that playing out? Obviously they would all be standing around outside in the rain.

  12. 1) It is a direct prequel to Star Wars: a New Hope, not a sequel to a prequel. Note that this ends right were ANH begins.
    2) Cassian wasn’t in love with Jyn. He was having as another poster stated a crisis of conscience. He was ordered by Mon Mothma to extract Galen, then counter ordered by the head of intelligence (which even in our own military is an oxymoron) to kill Galen. When he say Jyn may have been telling the truth, he hesitated.
    3)This was probably the third best of the Star Wars movies, following The Empire Strikes Back.
    4) Darth Vader was a total bad-ass. I would have loved to see more.
    5) Peter Cushing was very faithfully reproduced as Grand Moff Tarkin, don’t worry he bites it in SW:ANH.
    6) Spoiler Alert: Everyone dies. Probably the most nihilistic SW movie.

    • I might even go as far as second best, following only Empire.

      It’s really more like The Dirty Dozen or Force 10 From Navarone – those classic WW II misfit commando movies, which I’ve always loved.

  13. No, but not for the girl. Had he/me taken the shot (based on what the character knew at the time) then he just dropped the life expectancy of himself and his comrades to darn near zero.

    Characterwise, he should have taken the shot. We saw early in the movie his propensity to kill people that were not so bad. Plus he sounds “foreign” so I know I was not the only guy thinking “Mossad”. A hardened counter-intel guy like that takes the shot every time and I saw the cheesy plot twist a mile away. Less Disney than the normal Disney but still Disney.

  14. I think in a situation in which I had mixed orders I’d follow my conscience and intuition and therefore tried to extract him if possible but likely killed him rather than let him get away.

    I really did like the fatalistic ending.

  15. The whole direct assassination thing did not make any sense in the first place from a military perspective, 10 times so by that point. Even if they secretly knew the senate thing would work out, It still would make far more sense in trying to capturing him. By capturing him at minimum you accomplish the same thing as a straight up killing him and deprive the empire of his experience. But unlike just straight up killing him you would now have the possibility to interrogate him and learn of possible weaknesses even if he had not specifically engineered a weakness into the design. They could have still killed him later if he prove uncooperative. On top of that just because they killed him does not mean that some one else in the empire would be able to complete it later, and the rebels would not have such an opening to extract possible weaknesses later.

    By the time Andor got him in his sights, they already had seen the Death Star was Operational and reported it and told his mission remains unchanged. At that point what is the purpose of killing him, the Death Star is proven operational. Killing him would not have any affect at that point but capturing him could potentially gain you the technical data to figure out a weakness which now you absolutely desperately need, since the rebelling is over if they can’t find a way to stop it.

    The original orders should have been attempt to capture him, but if that’s impossible then go for the kill. Then after having witnessed the Death Star firing, they should have become capture at all costs and we have Air support for you if needed.

  16. I remember seeing the first Star Wars movie released, at a theater. It was the most amazing movie I had ever seen. The second one was great also and the third was OK. It went downhill from there. Now the SW franchise is dead to me. I have no interest in this current iteration, or the next one, or the next.

  17. Wait, I thought the guy’s name was Manny Beauthens. Wasn’t he the one Mon Mothma was talking about when she said, “Manny Beauthens died to bring us this information”?

    • That line is in Return of the Jedi, in reference to information about the second Death Star and Endor.

  18. Was going to post more, but the shit-bitching re-directs are back. Will TTAG ever learn to not lay down with dogs? Or is it that their business is spreading fleas?

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