In other words, Rogue One contains more Star Wars head nods, hat tips and hidden treasures than an eight-year-old’s toy collection and a San Diego Comic-Con exhibit hall combined. So why is it, then, that the film somehow feels fresher than The Force Awakens’ nostalgia?
Warning: Spoilers in the article linked above and my thoughts below.
I loved TFA, but if it were not for the new characters, the film would have been disappointing due to its all too familiar story. Rogue One is a very familiar story of course, but it’s told from a new perspective with an atypical ending and that is why it’s better.
I can see why some compare the tone of Rogue One to Empire, but it more closely aligns to Revenge of the Sith. While the Rebels didn’t win one battle in Empire, no major characters died.
Of course, Empire is still the best movie in the franchise, but Rogue One is clearly the best prequel, just for that final Vader scene alone. That’s the Vader we were all hoping to see in ROTS.