– Spoiler Review –
While adaptations (be it books or comics) and I have never really seen eye to eye, especially since they have to leave out parts or change scenes that clash with how I remember a film, I had my hopes up with some of early news that Rogue One‘s adaptation would expand on the film with extra scenes. After the close of Rogue One issue #1, written by Jody Hauser with art from Emilio Laiso & Oscar Bazaldua and colors from Rachelle Rosenberg, I’m happy to say it not only accomplishes its goal to add to one’s understanding of the first A Star Wars Story film, but also manages to be a worthy take on the material.
Considering I had both picked up and watched Rogue One the day before this issue released, the film was fresh in my mind before I dove into this issue so some questions I’ve had from my multiple viewings (and still had in my latest) got answers to some extent in Rogue One #1. Ever curious to see Galen and Bodhi interact and how Bodhi defects? You’ll get new scenes covering that here. Ever wondered why Jyn gives the alien she shares her cell with on Wobani such a spiteful look (something that I’ve been curious about since the first viewing)? Well, entertainingly enough, it isn’t because she’s been snoring while Jyn’s been trying to sleep. Wanted to spend more time with Mon Mothma and Bail Organa together? It’s here. And there’s plenty more of little new tidbits to explore and see, each one adding a few extra dimensions to the film that make the case for this adaptation to be worth any fan’s time. And if this is just a taste of what we’ll get added to the film throughout, I’m all in so I can see what else they have in store for us.
Jody Hauser not only does a great job adding in the new scenes, as more time with Bodhi feels like more time with Bodhi or Mon Mothma and Bail Organa’s voices are so easy to hear in their dialogue, but she also manages to narrow some of the dialogue and still get the same impact the film does. This can be one of the biggest draw backs for me with adaptations, but so far the more expositional-type dialogue of the opening scenes (the first issue ends essentially when Jyn, Cassian, and Kaytoo take off from Yavin IV to go to Jedha) works well with how Hauser has more succinctly put it. Also, the flashbacks or memories we see characters have, especially Jyn’s while she’s interrogated/chats with Mon Mothma and Cassian on Yavin IV, add some subtlety the medium loses in translation from the film. But just like how the opening of the film jumps around rather quickly, so too does this issue, though it’s not a big setback for the issue at all.
As for the art by Emilio Laiso (Star Wars Annual #2) & Oscar Bazaldua, with colors from Rachelle Rosenberg (Star Wars Annual #2), I’m liking it more than I dislike it, that’s for sure. There are plenty of scenes that match the look and feel of the film, especially thanks to Rachelle’s colors matching the palette of the film for the most part, as for example: while Lah’mu is quite red here compared to the black and green of the film, it gives it a more striking, violent edge to the moment since the comic simply can’t spend as many panels there to get said feelings across. Plenty of the characters and locations also mimic their on-screen representations while also having Emilio and Oscar’s take on them, which means nothing will really take one out of the narrative due to any glaring inconsistencies. However, Tarkin and Krennic barely look different and I only could tell them apart due to their outfits and hair (anyone who complained about Tarkin’s CGI will appreciate it a little more now because at least he looks different than Krennic in the film) while both Baze and Chirrut just didn’t seem to have enough detail to them to really look like themselves at this point. Otherwise Jyn, Cassian, Mon Mothma, and most of the other main characters don’t look terribly awkward so we’ll see if and how that changes as the issues go on.
Here are a few other things:
- To help differentiate itself from the saga films, by now we’ve all seen how Rogue One ditched the opening crawl and only had a title card a few moments after the opening scene. Marvel decided to mirror that change here, as while every solo comic issue since 2015 has had an opening crawl, Rogue One #1 does not and instead has a in-universe report from the Rebels that includes some background information on characters. It’s a minor thing, but I really appreciated it and liked how they took that route.
- Rogue One adaptation Editor Heather Antos spoke on Never Tell Me the Pods podcast and around the 13:45 mark she talks about her excitement with working on this adaptation over The Force Awakens’, especially since Gareth Edwards got involved about adding scenes that didn’t make the film, while later she goes into even more detail. The whole interview is worth a listen though, especially for those curious about the work that goes on behind the scenes of the comics.
- As I mentioned above, Gareth Edwards was eager to add missing scenes in the comic and this issue closes out with an afterword from the director himself mentioning just that. Considering there aren’t any deleted scenes on the home release of Rogue One, it looks like the comic is where they ended up.
- In the Bail and Mothma scene, there’s a minor editing error that is more funny than annoying. Mothma says Bail’s name more than she should in this one sentence: “If we can show them proof of such a weapon, Bail, the rest of the Senate will have to act, Bail.” I found it funny not only because it is likely an honest mistake, but it makes Mon Mothma sound more like this, “Yeah, Bail, you hear me, Bail? They have to act now, Bail. Gosh, Bail, do you ever listen, Bail?”
- I made a little video, where I change up Leia’s hologram message to Obi-Wan, to celebrate Rogue One‘s home video release April 4
As it starts in issue #1, the Rogue One adaptation looks to take advantage of its medium’s strengths and even its weaknesses when adapting longer material to bring a fresh, but familiar take on the first standalone Star Wars film.
+ Additional scenes
+ Solid adaptation to comic medium
– Some character’s faces seem off
Movie Review: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (by Ryan)
Canon Novel Review: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (by Chris)
Canon Novel Review: Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel (by Ryan)
Soundtrack Review: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (by Elliot)
Vader (#1-6) | Shadows and Secrets (#7-12) | The Shu-Torun War (#16-19) | End of Games (#20-25) | Annual: #1
Skywalker Strikes (#1-6) | Old Ben’s Journals | Showdown on the Smuggler’s Moon (#8-12) | Rebel Jail (#16-19) | The Last Flight of the Harbinger (#21-25) | Yoda’s Secret War (#26-30) | Annual: #1 | #2
Black Squadron (#1-3) | Lockdown (#4-6) | The Gathering Storm (#7-13)
Han Solo (mini-series)
Obi-Wan & Anakin (mini-series)
The Last Padawan (#1-6) | First Blood (#7-12)
Vader Down (crossover of Star Wars and Darth Vader on-goings)
Shattered Empire (mini-series)
Princess Leia (mini-series)
Darth Maul (mini-series)
Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir (mini-series)