In just two weeks, the world will play witness to the eighth installment of the enduring Star Wars movie franchise.
Indeed, with the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, fans young and old will have a second reason to revel in just two short years (366 days, to be exact).
And with a Dec. 16 release date, this action-packed thriller of monumental proportions is set to be the first of its kind -- a story separate and unbound by the traditional saga of “episodes,” so famously released out of chronological order, and will feature a list of new characters such as Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed) and Cassian Andor (Diego Luna).
The film, for which I already have tickets, seems to be based on a tale retroactively overlooked by Lucas and Disney as it takes place between the third and fourth episodes (to help those trying to wrap their minds around that concept, the movie is set to take place between the events of Episode III: Revenge of the Sith  and Episode IV: A New Hope ).
As such, the story and its characters are free of the mainline saga of Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, but are in the midst of the same universe and timeline, as evidenced by the appearance of Vader, the Death Star and the familiar AT-ST walkers in the upcoming film’s trailer (www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fE_yHEerok).
However, besides a few familiar characters, none of those introduced on Dec. 16 were seen in episodes one through three, nor were they seen sequentially in episodes four through six.
This makes me wonder -- what can we deduce about these characters?
Though I have an overall theory about what kind of drama Rogue One will entail, I’d like to start with a few clues I’ve gathered over the last few weeks:
• At the beginning of Episode IV: A New Hope, viewers are dropped into the story at a point in which Leia has already somehow acquired the secret plans/details concerning the Death Star and its subsequent construction.
• Considering clues gathered in the Rogue One trailer, it would seem that this rogue band of newly-introduced heroes is the reason Leia possesses the plans in the first place (Theory 1).
• Furthermore, Luke and Leia are introduced through their birth(s) at the end of Episode III and are seen as teenagers/young adults at the beginning of Episode IV, so is there a possibility that Leia is the group’s sole survivor? And if so, are they keeping her out of the trailer for a surprise? (Theory 2, which leads me to Theory 3) ...
I’ve always been a sucker for movies that feature a lovable or heroic main character, or group of characters, only to see them die trying; to see them fail at the last second; or to see them succeed but at the cost of their lives, making the ultimate sacrifice for the greater good in the process.
Therefore, this is my theory: that this group of unlikely heroes plans to destroy the Death Star, fails to do so but somehow steals the plans/vulnerabilities of the massive machine and is regrettably killed by Darth Vader just after the passing of said-plans to Leia as a last-ditch effort to preserve “hope” for the future, thereby setting up Episode IV: A New Hope -- with “Hope” itself taking the form of a flash-drive like device in Leia’s possession that she later gives to R2-D2 before being captured by Vader herself.
Whew, that may be a lot to take in, but if you are as big of a Star Wars fan as I am, it shouldn’t be any trouble.
Regardless, whether I’m right or wrong, one thing is certain -- Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is sure to be a big hit with die-hard fans and fair-weather fans alike.
I, for one, am very much looking forward to Dec. 16.