Wednesday night in a galaxy not so far away, a force took over Sydney. Australian media personalities, actors, bloggers, cosplayers, and fans were privy to a premiere screening of the latest by director Gareth Edwards, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story — later released to the Australian public at midnight in cinemas.
As a preliminary surprise, a squad of Death Troopers invaded the foyer of Hoyts Entertainment Quarter, where VIP guests could go rogue. The exclusive area featured state-of-the-art Virtual Reality simulations in partnership with Samsung, with the main attraction being a fully immersive 360 photo booth.
Meanwhile a group of costumed rebels rendered us an out-of-this-world choreographed stunt performance to the rhythm of a spell-binding electro soundtrack.
As the first standalone movie in the lucrative Star Wars franchise, Rogue One acts as a prequel to the events of George Lucas’ Episode IV – A New Hope (1977) — following a rebel alliance’s mission to steal the plans to the Empire’s Death Star.
With a whopping 200-million-dollar budget, Rogue One is sure to satisfy audiences. This film is about finding hope. It’s about ordinary people who choose to do extraordinary things, making it both relatable and thrilling to watch. Rogue One is packed with edge-of-your seat galactic warfare, seas of dead storm-troopers, and impressive feats of heroic martyrdom. Pew pew pew!
I know hardcore Star Wars fans will have a lot to talk about, but it’s safe to say Disney has done well to emulate the quintessential Star Wars spirit. Since it’s a spin-off film, you won’t see the ultra-iconic opening crawl, and you can hurry home after the film as there’s no closing-credit snippets.
The Plus Ones caught up with Danny Clayton (Australian TV presenter) on the red carpet, who says his favourite Star Wars character is Chewbacca. He even gave us his best impersonation.
To me, this film brings greater depth to the Star Wars Anthology. Even while it doesn’t feature the characters we know and love (like Luke, Han, and Chewy), Rogue One works to fill in some gaps. I think it’s true that we all have a bit of a rebel inside — and even more of us appreciate the sense of nostalgia that any Star Wars story lends. Say ‘Uuuuuurr uhhrrrrr ahhrrrhg’ in Wookieespeak if you agree.
My experience at the Sydney premiere is as actor Diego Luna (who plays Captain Cassian) said in a video interview: ‘It’s the moment where my job connects with my childhood. I’m a fan, and now I get to play this game from the inside — it’s the best’.
The Australian premiere featured droids, dark lords, and Skywalkers drinking champagne. I sipped mine while wielding a stranger’s lightsaber.
You MUST see Rogue One. As the wise Yoda says: ‘Do, or do not — there is no try’.
Jill is a Sydney-based journalist slash Jedi. Follow her on @jillamint.
Join the rebellion. Buy tickets to see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Now showing in cinemas across Australia.