Movies & TV / Columns

Where Does Rogue One Rank in the Star Wars Franchise?

December 17, 2016 | Posted by Steve Gustafson

When Disney acquired the Star Wars franchise in 2012, company CEO Bob Iger announced a continuation of the Skywalker saga as well as a steady number of standalone movies that would tell other stories within the universe that Star Wars creator George Lucas had envisionedt.

The first standalone is here and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, not surprisingly, is taking over the box office. Rogue brought in $29 million at the domestic box office for its preview showings on Thursday night.

In case you didn’t know, that number is the biggest Thursday night opening of 2016 but comes up short of the record $57 million that last year’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens made.

Rogue One is the first Star Wars spin-off that doesn’t directly involve the Skywalker’s storyline. It’s success is essential for further spin-offs to be greenlit and fulfill their plan of releasing a new Star Wars movie every year.

Last year’s Force Awakens was one of the biggest blockbusters in history but it’s unfair to compare the two. While one is closely tied to the main franchise story, Rogue One is playing in its own sandbox. It has confused a number of people in where it falls in the Star Wars order but has still been able to generate buzz and positive reviews. Rogue takes places soon before the events of the 1977 Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope.

Box-office analysts are predicting Rogue One to gross at least $150 million in the U.S. and Canada this weekend, with a global tally of more than $300 million, though predictions are difficult when such high grosses are expected. They also are expecting the movie to play like a sequel in its ticket sales when compared to Force Awakens.

Overseas, Rogue One made an additional $33 million, and the movie set an opening-day record for the year in several markets, including Australia and Germany. The movie is opening this weekend in about 60% of the global marketplace.

It should be noted that the movie is considerably darker and more violent when compared to the Star Wars movies and some predict that this could hurt the box office take slightly due to parents not taking their kids to see the it.

Whenever a new movie connected to a popular franchise is released, it’s normal to compare it to the previous chapters and ranks it’s place. While Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a standalone film, it has deep ties to the other seven “main” movies.

Most will concede The Empire Strikes Back is the apex of the Star Wars franchise, with A New Hope in second place. Depending on how you like Ewoks and the prequels determines how you rank the rest. Early fan reaction is putting Rogue among the better installments. Time will tell how that holds up.

Where does Rogue One rank in the Star Wars franchise to you?