By Wes Overvold EBS Staff

“It is a period of civil war.
Rebel spaceships, striking
from a hidden base, have won
their first victory against
the evil Galactic Empire.

During the battle, Rebel
spies managed to steal secret
plans to the Empire’s
ultimate weapon, the DEATH
STAR, an armored space
station with enough power
to destroy an entire planet.”

Nearly 40 years ago, those words scrolled across theater screens all over the globe and launched a franchise unlike anything moviegoers had ever seen. Considered the very first blockbuster, “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope” took viewers on a journey back in time to a galaxy far, far away, introducing them to myriad heroes, villains and alien planets—fans haven’t looked back since.

However, George Lucas’s introduction to his epic space opera left viewers with a major question unanswered: Who were these Rebel spies who heroically risked everything to steal the secret plans to the Death Star, sustain the Rebellion, and provide the forces of good with their “new hope?”

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” directed by Gareth Edwards and written by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy, tells that tale of the Rebel Alliance’s desperate mission launched against the Empire. The development of their new super weapon appears to be too strong to overcome, and the end of the Rebellion seems inevitable.

“Rebellions are built on hope,” exclaims Jyn Erso, played by Felicity Jones and the latest of a long line of Star Wars heroines. Her family history and fearless attitude put her in a unique position to lead the daring strike.

Disney-owned Lucasfilm tells a story of war, loss and hope in a way that masterfully sets up the original trilogy—episodes IV, V and VI—and depicts the ultimate desperation of the Rebel Alliance, the brutality of the Galactic Empire, and the force of pure terror that is Darth Vader.

“Rogue One” is more than strong enough to stand on its own feet, just as “A New Hope” has long existed without the cinematic prologue it received this holiday season. However, this latest addition to the Star Wars anthology gives fans a deeper insight into the struggle between the forces of good and evil, and light and dark. It will fuel the overwhelming excitement for this franchise that will continue to grow for years to come.