'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story': Were Mustaches Key to the Movie's Success?

Star Wars standalone movies got off to a roaring start with the considerable success of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

That movie told the story of how the Rebel Alliance got its hands on the plans for the Death Star, enabling the ragtag group to win an improbable victory over the Empire.

The Empire later struck back of course, but fans loved how Rogue One filled on a key piece of the backstory of A New Hope (or just plain old Star Wars.)  There may be another key to the movie’s success, according to one corner of the Internet: facial hair 

How well did ‘Rogue One’ do?

After Disney took over Lucasfilm and announced it would make standalone movies not connected to the long-running Skywalker saga, there was some skepticism in the air.

Sure, a new movie (or more) per year had worked out extremely well for Marvel, but could the same be said for Star Wars, one of the most legendary franchises of all?

The answer, at least at first, was a resounding yes. In terms of worldwide box office grosses not adjusted for inflation, Rogue One is the fourth  most successful Star Wars movie. 

Having made more than $1 billion, it sits behind The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker. The only other Star Wars movie to make $1 billion raw dollars at the box office is, believe it or not, The Phantom Menace

Critics were largely favorable too. It scored an 84 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, where the Critical Consensus reads, “Rogue One draws deep on Star Wars mythology while breaking new narrative and aesthetic ground — and suggesting a bright blockbuster future for the franchise.”

What about the mustaches?

One reason for the movie’s sky-high success might be that it’s a blast from the past. Besides dovetailing into the original Star Wars story, the movie also harkens back to the look of the 1977 original, and not just with sets and photography. It’s with mustaches too. 

Rounding up Reddit comments, the site Polygon details how mustaches are all over Rogue One. One Reddit user said, “That’s one thing I’m really excited for with Rogue One is that they’ve kept the kind of retro-futuristic aesthetic of the classic trilogy, terrible 70s hairstyles and mustaches and all.” The Polygon writer tweeted, “Alright, for Rogue One we need to evoke the original Star Wars. Bring me… your most 70’s facial hair.”

The article goes on to state that the ’70s look was a very conscious decision, with director Gareth Edwards telling the extras to grow out their facial hair. And all of this for a film with a female lead, in the person of Jyn Erso, as played by Felicity Jones. 

What will the new Star Wars movies be about?

After Rogue One, signs pointed to another success for Solo, but that was the rare Star Wars movie that failed to connect with audiences, making only $393 million worldwide, After that, other planned Star Wars stories were canceled. However, with the Skywalker saga now complete, Star Wars hasn’t got anything but outside stories. 

There are upcoming movies in the pipeline, but it’s uncertain if these are the Kevin Feige project, the Taika Waititi project, the Rian Johnson trilogy or something else entirely. On the TV front, there are supposed to be an Obi-Wan Kenobi series and a series with Rogue One’s Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), but both of those faced delays even before the pandemic. 

Oh well. At least there’s more Baby Yoda coming up with Season 2 of The Mandalorian

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