Will The Heroes Of Rogue One Die?

Recently on Unmistakably Star Wars I sat down with staff writer Grant Craton to discuss the impact that death has had on the Star Wars saga. Death can be a powerful component of storytelling. In fact, the deaths of major characters in Star Wars resonate with fans in powerful ways. But with the impending release this December of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, fans are faced with an interesting question: Will the heroes of Rogue One die?

Maybe a better question, should they die?

There are several echoes of past World War 2 films in what little has been revealed in the promotional materials for Rogue One. One example is The Dirty Dozen.

the dirty dozenThe Dirty Dozen is about a team (yep a dozen) of convicts turned commandos that go behind enemy lines to eliminate top Nazi officers that, if successful, would harm the war effort for the Axis powers. The mission is successful but comes at a great cost. Many members of the commando team do not make it.

Another film that has some similarities to what we know about Rogue One is the 1961 film, The Guns of Navarone. This film (also a novel) follows a group of Allied Commandos on their mission to destroy massive guns that threaten their brothers-in-arms. Sound familiar? Oh, and not everyone makes it out alive.

the guns of navarone

There is a trend.

It is obvious there are similarities. Death is a key component of stories like this. The death of heroes in films like this reveals to an audience that there is a cost. A sacrifice. The sacrifice often helps the audience feel the gravity of the situation that the characters find themselves in. It is compounded even more when the characters are well developed and the audience cares about them.

But will they all die?

Doubtful. But there is a line in A New Hope that could cause some to speculate that there is that potentiality. Early in the film Darth Vader and one of the officers have this conversation:

A New Hope Script

What might, “She is my only link to find their secret base,” mean? You can read it as though the whole team from Rogue One is dead. Which makes Leia the only person that has connections with the base on Yavin IV. Or you could read the lines and think that the Rogue One cast has simply disappeared. Could they have sent the transmissions and escaped to the fringes of the galaxy? Maybe, but in similar stories, the heroes pay a big price to achieve their goals.

It is fun to speculate. It is also fun to consider past films and how they might inform the next chapter of the wonderful Star Wars saga. But based on some of the evidence out there I don’t see many of the heroes of Rogue One making it out alive.

While they all might not make it out alive we do know that they are successful in their mission.