Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has been billed as a gritty war movie set in the Star Wars universe, but it still has the same PG-13 rating The Force Awakens carried last year. That will confuse parents wondering if this is a movie they should still take their young children to. Please note that this post does include spoilers.
Simply put, Rogue One is far more violent than any other Star Wars movie, including The Empire Strikes Back. The Force Awakens gets dark, but nowhere near as dark as the new movie. It includes some of the most disturbing scenes in the franchise since we saw Anakin Skywalker kill children in Revenge of the Sith. Disney allowed director Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) to push the envelope with the film. He created a film that is definitely more for adults, but still has a lesson in it for the younger viewers in the audience.
“We pushed it,” Edwards told the Los Angeles Times. “We pushed it all the way to the edge, probably went off the edge a little bit and then came back.”
“I think Rogue One might be a little hardcore for really young kids,” actor Riz Ahmed told the Los Angeles Times. “Having said that, I saw Nightmare on Elm Street when I was 6, so what am I talking about? Take your babies!”
True, there is no cursing in Rogue One. We don’t even see any blood. But there are deaths and some scenes look like they were torn out of a fact-based war movie and not a science fiction film. Therefore, the main aspect of the film to consider when planning on taking young children to Rogue One is the violence. A final sequence with Darth Vader could also give young children nightmares, as it skirts towards a scene right out of a horror movie. It’s a scene that’s nothing like anything we’ve seen Vader do before on film and it might be shocking for young children who like to dress up as the character.
Main characters who children might grow attached to during the film’s 134 minutes are also killed off. Even Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) is not safe. The film does not shy away from the brutal realities of war and some of the heroes shoot first.
However, if there is one lesson from Rogue One that children should learn it is the power of hope. Hopefully, you have a copy of A New Hope at home to show them if you take them to see the movie so they can learn that Jyn and her friends’ sacrifices were not in vain. “Rebellions are built on hope” is the mantra that runs throughout the film. If anything, your children can learn that hope, even in the face of the bleakest of moments, can overcome darkness.
Rogue One is rated PG-13 for “extended sequences of sci-fi violence and action.” The PG-13 rating means that “Some material may be inappropriate for pre-teenagers.”