Can "Rogue One" meet expectations?

"Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" is a story about the Rebel Alliance.

Just a year ago, the long-awaited "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" premiered to an overwhelmingly positive response that pleased most fans and audiences alike. The seventh instalment of the "Star Wars" movie was also best known for breaking several U.S. box-office records, including collecting a whopping US$247.9 million in its first three-day opening weekend, eclipsing James Cameron's "Titanic" to become the all-time No. 1 U.S. domestic gross at US$936.6 million at the box office.

No doubt the huge success of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" proved that the iconic movie franchise that started way back in 1977 remains as relevant as ever until today. While we are eagerly waiting for the next "Star Wars" sequel in 2017, we have a brand new "Star Wars" movie coming up this December. We are talking of none other than "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story", which will see the franchise breaking out of the tradition by offering a spinoff for the first time ever.

As we approach the impending release date of "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" this 15 December 2016, here are 5 reasons why the upcoming movie is a must watch on the big screen.

1. It's going to be a war movie

One of the ground battle scenes in "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story".

All those worrisome reshoots aside, "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" remains an intriguing spinoff to look forward to mainly because of one thing; it wants to be different than any other "Star Wars" movies in the past. The central storyline, which involves a band of Rebel Alliance soldiers plotting to steal the Death Star plans, would be more of a war movie than your usual space opera. And for once, it's a refreshing change of pace to see a "Star Wars" movie that isn't all about the Skywalker family or the Jedi.

2. Darth Vader is back!

Darth Vader returns in "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story".

While it's true that "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" is going to be tonally different, it wouldn't be a "Star Wars" movie without a familiar character at all. That character in question is none other than Darth Vader himself. Yes, the Darth Vader finally returns to the "Star Wars" franchise. Need we say more?

3. Gareth Edwards is directing.

Gareth Edwards (far right) on the set of "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story".

With just two movies under his belt, Gareth Edwards has quickly established himself as one of the most promising filmmakers in Hollywood. After making an impressive micro-budgeted debut via 2010's "Monsters", he helmed his first big-budget studio feature in the second American remake of "Godzilla" four years later. Although that movie was greeted with mixed response, it is a few notches better than the much-maligned 1998 version directed by Roland Emmerich. Best of all, "Godzilla" proved Edwards is capable enough to handle an expensive studio blockbuster. Now with "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story", it would be interesting to see him in the director's chair. After all, he knows a thing or two about the value of character development (which is particularly vital for a "Star Wars" movie) and his uncanny ability to showcase some scenes in a different perspective (as seen in "Godzilla").

4. Felicity Jones and Donnie Yen

Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso in "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story".

"Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" features a fascinating roster of diverse cast, but the two stars that intrigues us the most is Felicity Jones and Donnie Yen. First up, the 33-year-old British actress has been riding high on her career these days. Ever since she got a Best Actress Oscar nomination for 2014's "The Theory Of Everything", she quickly became one of the most sought-after actresses working in Hollywood today. Given the "Star Wars" movies' long history of strong female characters, Jones' lead role as Jyn Erso is set to become the next great addition (if done right, of course) that stands alongside Carrie Fisher's Princess Leia and Daisy Ridley's Rey.

Donnie Yen as Chirrut Îmwe in "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story".

Next one is Donnie Yen, who needs no introduction. Already an established martial arts superstar in Hong Kong and China with notable hits like "SPL" and the "Ip Man" trilogy, Yen is now making a huge step forward to Hollywood playing a blind warrior named Chirrut Îmwe. The last time we had a martial artist in a "Star Wars" movie was Ray Park, who played the iconic Darth Maul in 1999's "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace". Remember how awesome he was especially in the way he used the double-bladed lightsaber against Ewan McGregor's Obi-Wan Kenobi and Liam Neeson's Qui-Gon Jinn during the climactic finale? With Yen's impressive martial arts background and his character's ability to handle a staff, it would be interesting to see a Chinese martial artist like him battling against an army of Stormtroopers.

5. It's one of the most anticipated movies of 2016!

A scene from "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story".

With much-hyped Hollywood blockbusters like "Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice", "Captain America: Civil War" and "Suicide Squad" already came and gone, all attention is now focused on the mounting anticipation of "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story". No matter how you see it, December 2016 belongs to this movie and it's going to hit big during the opening weekend. On how big it's going to be will be another question to answer when the time comes, but one thing is for sure, a lot of people are going to talk about it when "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" comes to cinemas.

"Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" opens in cinemas nationwide on 15 December 2016.

Related Movies:
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (15 Dec 2016)
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (17 Dec 2015)

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