Imagine being given the controls of your very own Star Wars movie. Imagine making it. Imagine telling stormtroopers where to die, high-ranking Imperial officers how to walk down the corridors of Death Star, rebel forces where to fire their blasters, and Darth Vader exactly how exasperated his breathy wheezing should sound.
The stuff of dreams. But a reality for British director Gareth Edwards, who’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has its premiere on 16 December.
Now imagine sitting in a room knowing that George Lucas, the father of Star Wars, your hero, was watching your film at that precise moment. Watching your dent in his legacy. Your blood, sweat and tears poured into a galaxy far, far away. Imagine how sweaty and worried you’d be that he’d hate every second of it.
And you’d have good reason. The first Star Wars film to come out since Lucas sold the rights to the franchise to Disney for $4bn in 2012 resulted in him suggesting he’d sold the sci-fi behemoth to “white slavers”, and had him walk away from giving any creative input after deciding the filmmakers were “doing their own thing”. Yeah, you’d be right to be worried.
But Edwards’ stand-alone Star Wars film seems to have passed the Lucas test.
"Two days ago, we got to show George the movie,” Edwards said at a recent Rogue One press event. “We all had a phone call and I got to speak with him yesterday. And I don’t want to put words into his mouth, but I can honestly say that I can die happy now.”
“He really liked the movie, so it meant a lot,” he continued. “To be honest, and no offense to anyone here, it was the most important review to me... and I will take that conversation to the grave. It was a real privilege and his opinion means the world to me."
Relief wouldn’t even begin to cover it, would it. What’s more, early reactions from the famous and lucky few who’ve seen it already seem to be just as stonking:
1sr Rogue One review. It was actually AMAZING!!! Super fun & exciting. Ties in w/episode 4 perfectly. #StarWars— RainnWilson (@rainnwilson) December 11, 2016
The last time I loved a Star Wars movie as much as I loved #RogueOne, it was 1977.— Wil Wheaton (@wilw) December 11, 2016
There’s a “premiere effect” to factor in, but I have never EVER heard an audience cheer the way they did at the end of #RogueOne. Good sign.— Merry Whitta (@garywhitta) December 12, 2016
I just saw Rouge One. I'm gonna say it.. this might be the BEST Star Wars movie!! I can't wait… https://t.co/CDs0CgmsnQ— Dane Cook (@DaneCook) December 11, 2016
Yeah, if you’ve already booked your seats to a screening for this one, you must be feeling pretty pleased with yourself right now. And we can’t blame you.