First things first.
Rogue One is amazing.
It has the right blend of comedy and drama, with plenty of Easter Eggs and references for dedicated Star Wars fans. While some iconic elements were missing, there were enough of the aforementioned references to ensure the overall tone and narrative story fit in that “galaxy far, far, away”. The film is a side story to the episodic adventures of the Skywalker family, providing some explanations to many of the (apparent?) plot holes and inconsistencies in the Original Trilogy. How events unfold in Rogue One give more depth and understanding to the main story (especially to the opening crawl of A New Hope). While there is little doubt to whether the film’s protagonists fulfill their objective, there is a sense of urgency near the end of the film of the manner in which the task is completed.
Parsing out exposition in this manner is one way enhance the main story and the narrative journey of its protagonists / antagonists. I’m not sure if the explanations provided in Rogue One were outlined in the original plotting of the saga, or if it’s a recent (and reasonable) development, but either way it’s brilliant storytelling.
All the more reason I spend (far too much) time plotting and pondering about the MASC Chronicles, my (epic) series saga, of which some actual!writing has happened (though much of that consisted of editing the 1,400+ words that had already been written for Series One, Book One). Nevertheless, it’s a (tiny) step in the right direction – characters converse and vaguely reference events that may (or may not) have happened in the past that have caused (implied) friction between characters. Starting the narrative concurrently at the beginning and (kind of) in the middle of the “action” (as it were) allows for the characters to dangle tidbits of information that is not fully explained at the moment, but will (hopefully) be at some later point. This opens the door to prequels, and side stories that will focus on the “throwaway” comments uttered in the main narrative.
It also opens the door to a multitude of possibilities and alternate universe scenarios, from the serious to the absurd. With a large(ish) cast of characters, and their separate lineages (some of which may coincide at some point in time), it provides a wider canvas to create a vast world where (almost) anything is possible.
(So in a way, I’m pondering potential fan fiction for the Canon that has yet to be written.)
Not that I’ve plotted that much into each story – most of the plotting and pondering has been “big picture” narrative arcs, as well as incorporating themes and assigning character traits / exposition. As stated before (I think) I have a fairly good idea where the stories start and quasi-good idea how the story will end – it’s the journey in-between that’s the challenge.
It’s a daunting one, but one I hope to complete (when that will happen is anyone’s guess).
I am One with the Force, the Force is with me.
Happy Holidays, on this Christmas Eve (and first night of Hanukkah).
May the Force be with you.