Two groundbreaking spinoff films hit the frontlines to battle it out in our first matchup of the Star Wars Madness Tournament. Falling just short of a first round bye, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is looking to make its case with the big dogs of the saga films. But not if Star Wars: The Clone Wars has anything to say about it - the only theatrically released animated Star Wars film is trying to prove it stands on equal footing with its live-action counterparts. Can Jyn Erso and the Rebel Alliances' victory advance to the next round, or do Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano top their win with the rescue of Rotta the Hutt? VOTE BELOW!
Released: December 16, 2016
Director: Gareth Edwards
Era: Original Trilogy
Box Office: $1,056,057,273
Synopsis: In a time of conflict, Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and a group of unlikely heroes band together on a mission for the Rebel Alliance to steal the plans to the Death Star, the Empire’s ultimate weapon of destruction.
Pros: The first spinoff film set in the Star Wars universe, Rogue One excelled at adding new weight to Episode IV by showing us how much was sacrificed to get the Death Star plans into the hands of Princess Leia. Jyn Erso’s story of finding purpose and resolve and the bonds forged with the Rebels she meets along her journey are touching, and K-2SO takes no names. Seeing Saw Gerrera translated from animation into live-action was a treat, and the Battle of Scarif was the gritty warfare fans have been anticipating for decades. Darth Vader’s hallway rampage speaks for itself.
Cons: Because the film is a spinoff, we only had a limited amount of time to get to know our characters. As a result, any hero not named Jyn wasn’t able to fully develop and shine on their own right, despite the great moments they all had. The film tends to drag a bit when the story takes the characters to Eadu, but quickly afterwards it ramps back up. Because so much of the film was re-written and re-shot, many chunks of the final battle that were glimpsed in the trailers had to sit on the cutting room floor, with the possibility of an even grander battle going unfinished.
Released: August 15, 2008
Director: Dave Filoni
Era: Prequel Trilogy
Box Office: $68,282,844
Synopsis: After the Republic's victory on Christophsis, Anakin Skywalker (Matt Lanter) and his new apprentice Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein) must rescue the kidnapped son of Jabba the Hutt. Political intrigue complicates their mission.
Pros: As a wise Jedi once put it, this animated film was our first step into a larger world. The Clone Wars introduced us to now-fan favorites Ahsoka Tano and Captain Rex while forging the path for the beloved TV series of the same name. We get to see Anakin Skywalker under a different light as he’s abruptly given a Padawan and has to accept his new responsibilities, while simultaneously seeing how much his bond has strengthened with Obi-Wan and the good man that became Darth Vader.
Cons: This film was a last-minute idea, with the first four episodes of the TV series being thrown together for a theatrical release, and it shows. The movie was clearly not intended to be a movie, and the animation for the characters and ensuing series is in its roughest state, making the evolution even more remarkable. Jabba the Hutt having a son is also… weird.