*** SPOILER ALERT *** Don't continue reading if you don't want to see major plot points from Star Wars: Rogue One. But go SEE IT already! It's awesome. :)
Maybe it's just wishful thinking, but I'm convinced that Jyn Erso is alive. Ok, ok. Maybe I'm crazy. I'm usually pretty terrible at letting beloved fictional characters go. I'm still holding out for Dumbledore to make a glorious comeback in non-prequel form. However, I think I can make a case for Jyn Erso's beachside survival, and the hope for her future presence in another Star Wars film.
1. It's about the money.
Until a few weeks ago, Rogue One felt like a risky move. It was the first Star Wars film to feature an entirely new set of characters. When the film premiered on December 16, its $155 Million box-office take was proof positive that Disney's acquisition of Lucas Film was truly magic. The film is expected to hit $700 Million by the end of its second weekend. I think the ever-savvy team at Disney built a beautiful contingency plan. I think they crafted a film that could work as a stand-alone adventure if the box-office had been less than stellar. On the other hand, I believe they dropped a creative clue that could open up the possibility of the continuation of Jyn Erso's story. They would only follow through with this plan if the money was good. And the money wasn't just good...it was amazing. Disney has never been keen on walking away from a franchise-fueled payday. The return of Jyn Erso in dramatic fashion would be a cinematic sure-thing. My idealistic hopes are hinging on a cynical bet: money brings Jyn back from the brink.
2. It's about the contract.
It's been widely reported that Felicity Jones signed up for a 2-movie deal. Since the movie's release, a lot of the online speculation has surrounded the possibility of Jyn's inclusion in another one of the Star Wars properties. Working against my case, Kathleen Kennedy, the president of Lucas Film, stated that there will be no sequels to Rogue One. However, there have been a few examples of misleading information regarding hot sci-fi properties. In the same Hollywood Reporter story about Jones' contract, it was revealed that she received an incredibly lucrative payday. This was big news. In the past, new Star Wars characters have been very budget-friendly. I would speculate that Jones' pay package wouldn't be structured to decrease with a second film appearance. It wouldn't make financial sense to include a big-budget character in a small role in a separate property. Adding fuel to the fire, here is what Jones said about the matter.
3. It's about the necklace.
Here's the clue that I believe we've been looking at the entire time. If Jyn is dead, she was killed by some kind of sonic wave initiated by a weapon created by her father. She also spends the entire movie wearing a necklace given to her by...her father. Let's look at a few facts.
- Galen Erso is the brilliant man behind the design of the Death Star. He is the man with a singular understanding of the power contained in Kyber crystals. He has a unique ability to harness that power to astounding effect.
- Kyber crystals are also used in lightsabers. Not only are lightsabers used in offense, they are often used in defense to deflect oncoming threats. Did you see Darth Vader making his way onto that ship at the end of Rogue One??? Whoa. Just...whoa.
- The movie spends tons of time referencing Jyn's necklace. From a dramatic standpoint, it seems like every time a character references the necklace, it is foreshadowing a climatic moment. That moment hasn't happened...yet.
- In a flashback, Jyn remembers her father saying, "I will always protect you." This sounds like a pretty confident statement. Could this have been referring simply to Galen's construction of an underground bunker to hide his daughter, and an alliance with Saw Gerrera to save her? If so, it seems like an odd time for the movie to allow us to see this moment. In just a few minutes, Jyn would be killed by her father's weapon. Was this compelling dramatic irony...or something more?
Galen is a man who thinks through the details. In fact, his thoughtfulness set the entire plot of the Star Wars saga into motion. While other characters fight the large-scale battles, Galen wins wars with tiny design decisions. Is it possible that he would leave his daughter's protection to chance? OR, is it possible that he would use his greatest gift to protect his dearest treasure. Did Galen design a necklace that could protect his daughter from his own weapon. I think he did.
Am I crazy? Am I missing something? Am I onto something? I don't know. But I'm having a blast. I would love to hear your thoughts.