All your 'Rogue One' questions answered

Wondering if you should see the latest Star Wars entry? Let us help. (Spoiler-free of course.)

Morgan Little Senior Director, Audience
Morgan leads the teams managing CNET's presence and content across social media, news platforms and more after stints in the marketing world and LA Times. Eventually his last byline on the site will be about something other than Godzilla
Caitlin Petrakovitz Director of audience
Caitlin Petrakovitz studies the Marvel Cinematic Universe like it's a course in school, with an emphasis on the Infinity Saga years. As an audience expert, she rarely writes but when she does it's most certainly about Star Trek, Marvel, DC, Westworld, San Diego Comic-Con and great streaming properties. Or soccer, that's a thing she loves, too.
Morgan Little
Caitlin Petrakovitz
4 min read

It turns out, "Rogue One" is good. Seriously, even if you've never seen a Star Wars film. If all you want to do is go see an epic, rewarding, two-plus-hour movie, this is for you.

But if you want to do your research beforehand, read on for how "Rogue One" fits into the universe. Be warned though, while the questions are mostly spoiler-free, we had to draw the line somewhere. So if you saw it in a trailer we called it free to talk about it. Have no fear, we stayed away from big reveals! If you still have questions after seeing the film, leave a comment below. We're always happy to help.

What do I need to have seen before I go to 'Rogue One'?

To go into "Rogue One" prepped and ready, rewatching "Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" is a good move. Watching the first rise of Darth Vader, plus the execution of the Jedi with Order 66 are all worthy refreshers. The final shot of Vader and Emperor Palpatine in front of the under-construction Death Star is a solid point to end your prep work on.

For added Easter egg-spotting during "Rogue One," watch "A New Hope" beforehand too. The fun little pieces you'll catch add to the excitement of a new Star Wars film and you'll find yourself smiling at small things others might miss. Of course, saving "Hope" until after the new film is a good idea too. Like we said in our first chat about the movie, "Episode IV" is the chaser to the gritty shot that is "Rogue One."

Jonathan Olley/Lucasfilm

Well I've seen all of the movies, got anything else to watch?

OK, if you have a lot of a time on your hands and want to get really into it, Kristin Baver at StarWars.com has an in-depth listing of all the best prep materials (not that this is a test, but still). From the "Rogue One" prequel novel "Catalyst" to the specific episodes to watch of "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" and "Star Wars Rebels," Baver went deep.

That's a lot of stuff. So where does the film fit in the timeline of Star Wars?

It just so happens that we have our own increasingly complicated guide (OK, infographic) to the chronology of the Star Wars saga.

So who's the star of this film? Are there Skywalkers in this movie?

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Jonathan Olley/Lucasfilm

No Skywalkers here. Unlike all previous Star Wars films, this one takes place outside the realm of Jedis (sort of) and Skywalkers. R2-D2 does not save the day as usual, and C-3PO is not the comic relief -- but K-2SO (Alan Tudyk) fills that role fairly well. The Force is totally present (as it is across the Star Wars universe), but that's about all you get.

The star of the film is probably Jyn Erso, played by Felicity Jones. But Cassian Andor, played by Diego Luna, is a great example of what makes "Rogue One" distinct. He's fighting for the good guys, but not going about it ethically. His inner conflict reflects the grey areas the film dabbles in, and the character is better for it. On the Empire's side there's primary villain Director Orson Krennic, played by Ben Mendelsohn. He's not a grotesque gang lord or just evil-for-the-sake-of-evil, he's a vain brown-noser whose primary motivation is to be recognized for his self-perceived greatness.

Expect a lot of people to be talking about Darth Vader's small part in the film. Vader is finally a scene-stealer again!

Is "Rogue One" a family-friendly film?

Sure, if your kids are really into war movies. "Rogue One" is a true departure from the lighter films in the series like "The Phantom Menace" and "The Force Awakens." Each had their moments of darkness, but "Rogue One" is a film defined by war and its impact on those who fight, endure it and, yes, those who perish.

Because of those heavier elements, and combat sequences that are more reminiscent of Hollywood war films instead of the series' often-cartoonish clashes, parents of younger kids should probably wait a bit before sharing this Star Wars story.

Is it full of teases for other (unannounced?) Star Wars films?

"Rogue One" has nods to other entries in the series, some endearing and others woefully heavy-handed. But if you're looking for a long list of setup for the ever-growing Star Wars cinematic universe, you won't find it here. There's no equivalent to say, Nick Fury showing up and mentioning the Avengers Initiative, or the extended alley-oop that was "Iron Man 2," and that's a good thing.

All right, I think I'm on board. Now how can I avoid spoilers?

Normally, we'd advise you abandon the internet entirely. But the kind souls at Priceless Misc have created Force Block, a browser plugin that keeps spoilers at bay. Here's how you can get a hold of it.

I already love the movie. Has a sequel been announced yet?

Yeah, it already came out, it's called "A New Hope." It's the riveting tale of a boy who planned on going to Tosche Station for some power converters.