Spoiler alert: You know how this movie will end.
Well, sort of.1
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story ends ten minutes before the original Star Wars: A New Hope begins. It’s the story of that team of rebel spies who steal the plans for the Death Star.2 You already know that the rebel alliance is able to get its hands on these plans and eventually use them to destroy the Death Star. 3 You also already know that this team of spies remains ominously absent from the Original Trilogy. Their fate is likely gruesome.
So, why should you watch a movie where the characters you like will (almost certainly) die and you already know the ending?
Cause we like to know the full story of things we care about. We have an inherent longing to know how we got to where we are. Rogue One fills in the gaps of how the beloved Rebel Alliance, seemingly outmatched in every respect, has a chance against the Empire. It sets into motion the events that “shaped the morals of a generation.” It is the origin story of the New Hope.
You might say it’s like Christmas. We know how that ends too. After birth, Jesus will go on to be crucified and will resurrect from the dead and redeem the world. But it’s good to know the backstory. It might not have any direct bearing on your salvation, but you know you like begging posada and going to Christmas pageants at least a little. 4 It gives some concrete context to better understand and cherish the hope of Easter.So, in fleshing out the details of how those Death Star plans made it to rebel hands, I hope this movie will make us treasure our dear Luke and Princess Leia even more. Even though you know how it’ll end, sitting through the story would be worth it.