Fan Theory: Why ‘Rogue One’ Is Actually A Horror Movie
A villain stalking down a dark corridor, heroes and enemies alike succumbing to severe ends, absolutely no hope for survival throughout an increasingly bleak two hours. This is, of course, a description of Disney's Star Wars horror movie, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Rogue One was Disney's first attempt at a live-action feature-length spinoff for its successful franchise. The filmmakers wanted the non-Skywalker film to stand out from the pack, so director Gareth Edwards purposely gave it a very different and grittier feel than the previous films. In doing so (and thanks to numerous reshoots), Edwards created a horrific and grounded depiction of the titular war in the stars.
Rogue One may not be as terrifying as The Conjuring (movies shouldn't be allowed to be as terrifying as The Conjuring), but it's at least as scary as Gremlins (which is technically classified as horror). The film absolutely follows clear-cut horror movie conventions, as shown in this Rogue One fan theory list.
There Are No Jedi To Come And Save The Day
If Jaws had Obi-Wan Kenobi, it wouldn't be scary. If Insidious had Anakin Skywalker, it wouldn't be scary. If real life had Yoda, it would - well, maybe still be a little scary.
The inverse is also true: If a Star Wars movie doesn't have Jedi, it's terrifying. The world of Star Wars is kept in line by Jedi (until they eventually turn evil and eliminate it). They keep legions of terrifying enemies (again, mostly evil Jedi) away from the common man. Take the Jedi away? Well, we still have all those terrifyingly strong enemies, but now no protectors.
Darth Vader walking down a dark hallway wasting everyone he passes is a horror movie. Think about what that's like for the average Rebellion soldier.
The AT-AT Walkers Are Filmed Like Kaiju
The conflict at Scarif is raging on. Our heroes are pinned against the wall, when suddenly they see a giant shape emerging from the fog. It's a massive and threatening AT-AT walker. This AT-AT walker fits right into the great Kaiju pantheon, because emerging from fog in the distance is a good 90% of a Kaiju's job.
It's no surprise that the director of Rogue One, Gareth Edwards, also directed 2014's Godzilla. If that doesn't convince you Rogue One has a home in the monster/horror genre, nothing will.
'Rogue One' Opens With A Tragic Kidnapping
How do most horror films start? With a terrifying cold open that shows the audience exactly how scary this movie's monster is.
Similarly, Rogue One begins with Jyn Erso's father being stalked and taken away by the villain, and young Jyn separated from her family. Also, before her escape is complete, Orson Krennic, this horror film's monster, ends her mother's life - as Jyn watches powerlessly.
Just like Scream lets you know Ghostface means business by wasting Drew Barrymore at the start of the film, Rogue One lets you know not to mess with Krennic by making you watch along with Jyn as he executes her mother.
This vicious scene sets the tone for the bleakest entry into the Star Wars franchise.
Darth Vader's Appearance Plays On Classic Slasher Tropes
A terrified man is running. He comes to a door and tries to open it, but he can't. It's jammed. The power goes out. He hears a noise behind him. He turns but sees nothing through the darkness.
He can hear breathing. Then the villain is illuminated; he's already in the room.
That's not from Friday the 13th, that's how Rogue One ends!
Stormtroopers Are More Threatening Than In Other Films
Stormtroopers miss, right? That's their whole thing. They miss, and we wear silly little T-shirts depicting them playing guitars.
Edwards fixed this lack of respect for Stormtroopers by introducing Death Troopers to the Star Wars canon. Edwards described his process for creating these new soldiers as an attempt to create a "Stormtrooper that can actually hit its target." To up the creepy factor, he made sure these troopers towered above the battlefield by only casting people who were 6 to 7 feet tall.
A few changes and suddenly this elite team of faceless soldiers are pretty scary. Seven-foot-tall death soldiers? Now that's a horror movie.
'Rogue One' Is The Goriest 'Star Wars' Movie
Edwards set out to make a war movie in the Star Wars universe. According to the director, part of his process when preparing for the film was to Photoshop Rebel helmets onto gritty photos from Vietnam. Edwards revealed that he filmed Rogue One as if he and his crew were filmmakers embedded in a war zone.
From that, it's easy to see how this film has a different, gorier, more realistic vibe than Luke Skywalker whining about power converters in A New Hope. It's clear through the tone this film is not merely meant to entertain with fairy tales in space. Like a horror movie, it's bleak and gory, and people get hurt.