Fearful Rebels in Rogue One [Spoilers]
Bran thought about it. 'Can a man still be brave if he's afraid?' 'That is the only time a man can be brave,' his father told him.
George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones
I've just returned from a New Year's Eve viewing of Rogue One, taking my eleven year old daughter and her friend to see it.
This time around I was able to notice quite a bit more subtlety. These thoughts will be full of spoilers so let's let K-2SO keep us clear of spoilers.
Still with us?
One of the things I find so impressive about Rogue One is how much more bad-ass the Empire appears to be. We aren't seeing it from the perspective of heroes with script immunity (who if they die, will only die in a properly dramatic scene). The odds are against the protagonists of Rogue One and their definition of victory isn't defeating the Empire - it isn't even surviving - it is simply getting the plans to the Death Star to the Rebellion. And those that die don't even have the luxury of knowing for certain their deaths allow that to happen.
Watching the Battle of Scarif, it was clear the Rebels were terrified. Yet in the face of that terror they persevered. Ruescott Melshi clearly knew he was leading his men on a suicide mission whose sole purpose was to distract Imperial forces, yet he and his troops did so. Bodhi Rook was a simple cargo pilot who was filled with guilt for the tiny part he played in the creation of the Death Star. I don't believe the man ever fired a shot in the entire movie yet he risked his life to get a message out to the Rebel fleet above Scarif. The nameless Rebels were massacred by Darth Vader yet managed to pass the plans on to that the Taintive IV and Princess Leia.
As a gamer, this presents a new way to play in the Star Wars universe. A man lugging a communications cable while under stormtrooper fire can be just as brave and just as important as a Jedi Knight confronting a Sith Lord. It's a matter of presentation.