Rogue One: A short Review
I took my four teenage daughters to see the sci fi movie “Rogue One” a few days ago. There were some really strange coincidences between the movie and my forthcoming novel, Lonely Hunter. But first, some thoughts on Rogue One.
None of my kids are particularly dialed into Star Wars, but a few have seen a prior movie or two. I’ve seen four of them (swore I’d never go to another one after Clone Wars). Three of my kids enjoy various Sci Fi-ish flicks from time to time such as Hunger Games, Inception, the Marvel franchise, Transformers, etc. We all thought the trailer looked interesting, so we gave it a shot.
The consensus coming out was that it was underwhelming at best. But what was really weird were the number of coincidences with my own novel.
Overall, we thought Rogue One just disappointingly predictable. In particular, the dialog often seemed stilted and expository. And their tactical sense as soldiers was nil (to be gentle), which is not just a nitpick; the extra stupid behavior was needed to perpetuate the plot.
I suppose the writers did what they could given that it had to feather into the follow on movie plots (which they did do effectively), but it was hard to get emotionally invested. I did think Jyn was more dynamic than most Star Wars characters, at least at first. Once she took up the cause and charged toward the final climatic fight, it felt too much like a rerun of another Marvel or Bruce Willis movie.
But what really caught my attention were the similarities to Lonely Hunter. After a long hiatus from creative writing, I started my novel in Dec of 2013 and completed it the first draft by February of 2014. I have revised it extensively over the last three years, to include sending it through the online writing workshop, CritiqueCircle twice. Here are the strange coincidences:
A young woman thrust into a leadership position…and in need of her father
Key to both plots is a young woman thrust into a leadership role with close relationships with their father. This intrigued me and is very much central to my story. I’m not going to elaborate, but this is really a core theme of my own work.
Erso and IrSaa
The main character’s last name in Rogue One is “Erso”. Though not much back story is presented, she seems to be a street-smart, petty criminal who lives by her wits and on her own.
One of the two main characters in my coming novel’s name is the similar sounding “IrSaa”, which is her only name. In my novel, IrSaa is a soldier by choice and training; she is a Major leading a Special Forces team. Her role in Lonely Hunter is limited, as it will be in the sequel, Vicious Harvest. Her role will not be limited in later novels. 😉
The movie takes its name from the callsign of the rebel ship. Metaphorically, it seemed to me, it was also the main character’s name as the leader of the resurgent rebellion.
In my novel, the main character’s dog’s name is Rogue. Consistent with the title — Lonely Hunter — it is meant to symbolize Kira’s independence and at times, isolation.
This one is not so profound, but not all Science fiction novels roam from planet to planet. In Rogue One, which is a visual feast, the story hops from planet to planet to moon to the Death Star with great frequency.
In my novel, there are just a few planets, and most of the action is on Kira’s home world. In the subsequent novels, there will be a lot of planet hopping.
Empires in Conflict, Military Science Fiction
This one is not so profound either, but again, not something you see in ever Sci Fi story. Like Rogue One, and Star Wars in general, Lonely Hunter previews a massive war between two empires, so I could also say they are both military science fiction. Though in my story I focus on microcosms and small, more personal battles, my series will be driven by the larger conflict.
I will publish Lonely Hunter this spring
Some of the coincidences were not too amazing, but a few certainly were, and the overall number was surprising. You heard it here first. Though I am still learning how to write a book, and probably always will be no matter how successful I am eventually, you will be able to read Lonely Hunter in a few more months. I hope it will be on your novels to read list.
What my novel and Rogue One will probably not have in common is how much revenue they generate. …but I can always hope.