This latest batch of Star Wars films – J.J. Abrams’ Episode VII: The Force Awakens and Gareth Edwards’ Rogue One – have so far done an excellent job adhering to the narrative and visual universe of the franchise as established by the first three films, A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi.
This is something the second trilogy – The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith – didn’t necessarily do, which is in part why these films don’t really stand up to the originals the way this new crop does. Anytime you have a film series with this many disparate chapters, especially as divvied out over 40 years, there needs to be continuity, there needs to be some element – whether character, theme, or aesthetic – that carries throughout the franchise, that instantly establishes the particular filmic universe.
Star Wars has several of these built-in to itself: Jedis, seemingly unskilled people revealed as carriers of great potential, the opening crawl, spacecraft design, recurring species et cetera. But another at-times subtle and at-times obvious way the new films conjure the old is by mirroring scenes visually and recalling some of the shots that made the franchise iconic to begin with.
Already we’ve brought you a video cataloguing the visual similarities between The Force Awakens and the original trilogy, and now thanks to editor Zackery Ramos-Taylor we can do the same for Rogue One. ZRT has taken clips from Edwards’ film and set them side-by-side with their mirror images from either Hope, Empire, or Jedi, revealing the newer film as a cinematic ode that simultaneously respects its predecessors while building upon their visual legacy.