When Rogue One was released almost a month ago, it quickly made headlines and set box office records. As soon as I saw it, I was planning my review.
Why? Because the movie is that good. It’s how a prequel should be done.
But life got in the way of those plans. As soon as I got home from the movie, I started drafting the review, and then the unthinkable happened, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds died. For those who may not who those two women were (or if you live under a rock), Fisher was the actress who portrayed Princess Leia, and Reynolds was an actress known for Singin’ in the Rain as well as Fisher’s mom. Fisher died right before Christmas after having a major heart attack, and Reynolds died shortly after, suffering a stroke. Her son and Carrie’s brother, Todd, said she had the stroke while they were planning Fisher’s memorial service. Todd also said her last words were that she missed Carrie.
I’ve never been as impacted by celebrity’s deaths as I have been by theirs. I did not know them personally, but I was truly sad when they died as well as being in a funk because of it. I mean a serious funk. I watched the bikini scene from Return of the Jedi and cried.
Their deaths also got me thinking about how truly connected a mother and daughter are when they die so close together.
And then it hit me … Rogue One shows that close connection between a mother and a daughter.
(From here and until the end, there will be heavy spoilers for Rogue One. You’ve been warned).
First, let’s get to the details of the movie … Rogue One takes place right before A New Hope. I mean literally minutes before it starts.
But before the movie gets to that point, it starts off years before when Galen Erso and his family are in hiding in the outer rim of a galaxy far far away. Galen is a brilliant scientist who was tricked by the Empire into designing the weapons system of the Death Star. Once he realized that his friend and colleague, Empire officer Orson Krennic, had lied to him and was using his research to build a weapon that could kill planets, he took his wife, Lyra, and their daughter, Jyn, and fled.
Fast forward a few years, and Krennic found out where they were and came to get them. Krennic is in on the team designing the Death Star, and they can’t move forward without Galen. Galen and Lyra knew this day would come and were busy putting their plan to flee in motion when he arrived.
Lyra and eight-year-old Jyn are running to the safe house where their extremist friend Saw Gerrara will meet them when Lyra decides to go back to help Galen. She hurriedly gives Jyn her Kyber crystal, tells her to trust the force and runs back. (Kyber crystals are used in lightsabers).
This decision may seem rash and irresponsible, but she was tired of being manipulated by Krennic and the Empire, as they had been for years, so she made a decision to stop him and save her family. It’s not pretty when she confronts him, and she is killed after she shoots Krennic.
Some may see her decision to do this as crazy because she ultimately died because of it, and now Jyn is essentially left alone. But it’s not crazy. Lyra went into Mama Tiger or Warrior mode. In that mode, the only thing that stops any mother or wife from protecting her family is death. I don’t have kids yet, but I do have a mom, and woe to anyone who tries to hurt any member of her family. I would also say to anyone who tries to hurt my husband or any member of our family (even the ones I don’t like 🙂 ), to watch their back. I think it’s something that is innate.
Even though Lyra told Jyn to keep going to the rendezvous, she does not listen. She follows her and sees more than any eight-year-old daughter should, as her mom is killed and her dad is taken away. At the same time, she also sees the highest act someone can do for another – die for them.
Now, if you think Lyra did not die for Galen and Jyn, you are wrong. Even though, her act did not stop Krennic, she died protecting those she loved. It was impossible to beat him that way, and I think she knew that. But she still did it because she had to protect her family on her terms.
After seeing her mom killed and her dad taken away, Jyn runs to the safe house and successfully hides until Saw picks her up. I was brought to tears when she was running there. Like I said, I’m not a mom yet. But I have a great mom and a great dad. I do not know what I would do if I saw them killed and kidnapped and had to run for my life, all while I was a child. I hope I’d do the same thing that Jyn did. Then I thought about Jyn having to do that as a little girl while running for her life from Stormtroopers, and I lost it.
Once Saw rescues Jyn, the movie jumps ahead to years later when she is older and on her own. She does not live with Saw anymore and is a wanted criminal by the Empire. The Rebel Alliance finds her because of her connection to Saw and wants her to bring them to him because he has someone from the Empire who knows about the Death Star and is willing to talk. She helps them and ends up joining the Rebels and helps lead the mission to get the plans to the Death Star.
During their journey to get those plans, Jyn sees her father again and finds out that he was never a willing party in designing the weapon. In fact, he built in a flaw that the Rebels can utilize to destroy it. It’s so small and seemingly insignificant that no one will pick up on it unless they knew about it. He tells her about it right before he dies. Jyn and Cassian Andor, a Rebel Alliance captain and intelligence officer tell the Rebel leadership about the plans and that they want to get them even though they’re in the heart of an Empire controlled planet. The Rebel Alliance wants nothing to do with it.
But she, Cassion, and a few others go for it. Their fight for it is not easy or pretty. They know they are outnumbered, outmanned, and outgunned. The battle goes well in that they get the plans, but it’s a high price, as they all perish in the process. It works though! They got the plans, sent them to the rebellion, and set in motion the biggest underdog victory to date (at least a long time ago in a galaxy far far away).
When you think about all those people dying, Rogue One could seem like a depressing movie. But it’s not. Rather it shows how hard people are willing to fight even in the face of their own mortality. The movie also focuses on the power of family, and Jyn reconnecting with her dad. I would argue, however, that it shows even more of how she reconnects with her mom.
Because I think she was channeling her mom when she fought the Empire. Her mom is only in the movie for the first few minutes, but I think it’s her who drove her to help the Rebels. Jyn saw her mom and her mom alone make a decision to protect her family. It was a decision that killed her, but it was her decision. Jyn did the same thing, and her decision coupled with her father fighting the Empire from within made her a force to be reckoned with and someone to follow. It also helped her make the decision to protect the world, knowing she would not survive.
Like mother like daughter.
When I become a mom, I hope I can inspire my kids like that. I also hope that I’m half as close to my children, as Debbie Reynolds was to her daughter, Carrie Fisher. If that is the case, I think my life will be pretty full.