One of the biggest questions surrounding Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is how it'll fit in with the other films. We know that it's Original Trilogy era, so it'll look a little more like those movies than the prequels or sequels. We know it's been described repeatedly as being more akin to a World War II movie than other Star Wars films. But neither of those descriptions tell you what the tone of the film will be, especially when directly compared to other Star Wars flicks.
"We essentially got the license to be different on this movie," Edwards said at the Rogue One press junket. "With a standalone film, we don't really have to exist for other movies to continue, so we could be brave, adn that's what we did."
Still, everyone wants to know how it directly compares to the other films, and Edwards dropped the near-universal fan-favorite into the conversation.
"In terms of Star Wars that I love, I guess we'd be aiming for The Empire Strikes Back [in tone]. While our movie takes itself quite seriously, there's a lot of fun and humor in it, and hope is the key thing," the director said. "It's about trying to achieve something."
He really wanted the diverse cast - both in the traditional sense of the word and in the way that their characters come into the story - to help move the story along.
"The story of this movie is having all these different people from all these different places and backgrounds who have very little in common, they all believe in a good future for the world," he said. He also used the same terminology that VFX Supervisor and ILM CCO John Knoll did when talking with Comicbook.com, saying, "We just tried to make the most realistic version of Star Wars that we've ever seen." That doesn't mean there aren't big space battles or larger than life vehicles and characters alike, of course - the movie goes to five planets in the first half hour, afterall.
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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits US theaters December 16, 2016. Directed by Gareth Edwards, it's the first of the new standalone features from Lucasfilm and Disney, which take place outside the core "Skywalker Saga" of films noted by an Episode number. Rogue Onetells the story of the small band of rebels that were tasked with stealing the plans to the first Death Star. The story spins directly off the opening crawl from the original Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. In that crawl, it read: "Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire. During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire's ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet."