From the Hollywood Reporter:
As has become increasingly obvious over the last few weeks, Star Wars: The Force Awakens has touched a nerve in the audience.
Not only is the movie proving to be exactly the box-office juggernaut that Disney executives undoubtedly hoped for, but fandom has quickly taken the new cast to heart, as the amount of art and 'shipping between Finn (John Boyega) and Poe (Oscar Isaac) demonstrates.
The torch — the lightsaber, let's be honest — has been successfully passed … which might end up being an issue for the future of the franchise, thanks to this December's Star Wars: Rogue One.
After all, Rogue One is literally a step back in Star Wars mythology. Immediately after The Force Awakens has fired up audiences about what happens next in a Galaxy Far, Far Away, Rogue One will take them back to a time before the original 1977 movie, for a mission that fans already know the outcome of; the plot revolves around the stealing of the plans for the original Death Star that the Rebels have in the first movie.
It would make more sense on a number of levels to create something that is, if not a direct sequel to The Force Awakens — that is unlikely in the year gap between scheduled releases — then at least in some way connected to the new mythology debuted therein. Maybe something filling in the gaps between Return of the Jedi and where things pick up in the new movie, and dealing with many of the unanswered questions in fans' minds, for example.
Instead, Rogue One ignores the new status quo and takes the franchise back three decades. Just when J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan have successfully managed to add to move the Star Wars saga forward — arguably for the first time since 1983's Return of the Jedi — why immediately take another trip back in time?
Continue reading at the Hollywood Reporter.