But like The Force Awakens, the challenge for Rogue One is to find a way to continue consolidating its mythology.
Juggling the franchise’s overarching narrative with its broader, iconic pop cultural potency, the trick is to keep older fans happy without becoming stagnant, either ideologically or narratively.
Heroine Maria and her evil gynoid doppelgänger in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, aggressive sex bomb Jane Fonda as the title character in Roger Vadim’s Barbarella, turbo-mum Sarah Connor from the Terminator franchise, resourceful Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games, and – of course – the iconic image of the no-shit-taking woman, Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley from the Alien movies. But if we’re going to lift the lid off of this particular Pandora’s Box, it’s worth doing it properly.
Representations of strong women in cinema bleed outwards across eras, production contexts and the often blurry lines of film genre itself.
Characters like Jyn and Rey might offer new perspectives to new audiences, but they also recall older ways of women in film rallying to action.
This same toxicity has recently riddled science fiction and fantasy literature as well.
It is therefore no surprise that rape-revenge and the western have such a long affiliation, despite the latter (erroneously) being so closely aligned with horror traditions.
From The Bravados and Last Train from Gun Hill to women-driven narratives like Hannie Caulder, sexual violence and a thirst for vengeance marks many westerns.
Her marking off days, scratched into the wall of her abandoned Walker-home, show a woman strategically preparing in wait, her dedication to up-skilling finally paying off when snowman droid-child BB-8 arrives, kicking off her intergalactic adventures.
In Rogue One, Jyn is a defiant outsider who, by joining the Rebel Alliance, underscores the symbolic power of their very name: a mobilised space where non-conformist dissidents must find a way to work together.