The Atlantic

Why the Technology in Rogue One Is So Old-Fashioned

There is a reason the film’s machines seem stuck in the 20th century.
Source: Lucasfilm / ILM

We expect certain storytelling forms to pay special attention to setting. Historical fiction spends a great deal of energy in recreating the past. Fan fiction does something similar for its source material. Science fiction and fantasy fans expect world-building. Rogue One, a combination of all of these forms, does this very well on multiple levels. It is, after all, science fiction, and the Star Wars universe has long had a strong fantasy vibe.

Being a work by other creators in a beloved franchise built by others, the movie is very much like fan fiction. And given the way the movie’s setting and plot slot into a specific timeline within the Star Wars universe, it’s pretty close to a work of historical fiction. Accordingly, we get meticulous recreations of shots, dialogue, plot points, sound tracks, characters, spacecraft and various other technologies, and two actors, one dead, the other aged

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic3 min readPolitics
How American Women Are Amplifying Their Political Power
“I am not interested in building the capacity of people who are in office that want to take away my health care.”
The Atlantic2 min read
Free Solo Is Not a Life Lesson
Alex Honnold’s historic climb is too extraordinary to become a story of motivational-poster determination.
The Atlantic2 min readPsychology
A Rational Case for Following Your Emotions
In the popular American imagination, emotion and rationality are often mutually exclusive. One is erratic, unpredictable, and often a liability; the other, cool, collected, and absent obvious feeling. And even though research suggests that people exp