I have lots of thoughts, sorry for Wall of Text.
It still hasn't been long enough for me to decide exactly how much I liked it. I want to lead with, I never got hyped for this movie. I went in with expectations low, and was pleased. But part of that saddens me too. Because as much as I liked it in theaters, I didn't get the same feeling. Star Wars and X-Men movies have been alone in really getting me going. It sounds dumb but like I actually get goosebumps at points when watching Star Wars in theaters. The credit crawl, X-Wings showing up on Takodana, and Rey getting the lightsaber were big moments for example when I watched VII. I never once got that in this movie. Even in it, I couldn't be that
Moving on. Rogue 1 was 2 hours of fan service and filling plot holes, but I feel that for the most part it worked. CGI Tarkin was always going to be rough, but I think making him a major player had to happen. He was a big fucking deal in IV and they had to convey his part in the hierarchy of the Empire. Having him be the boss of the guy in charge of the Death Star (I mean really, think about that) is impressive. We see that he commands just as much fear from his subordinates as Vader does. Because we also have to remember, pre-V, Vader isn't necessarily #2 in the Empire. IV made it seem like he kind of answered to Tarkin or at least was a peer of his. And we know from the nuEU stuff, that the defeat of the Death Star in IV put Vader in a really bad spot with the Emperor. I mean...why would he get off the hook, or get a promotion in V. He just lost the Empire's greatest weapon, that took 18 years to build.
But the movie also answered a couple of things that didn't make varying degrees of sense.
-The oft made fun of "easy to destroy" nature of the Death Star
-Why, in what seems like the Rebellion's most dire moment, they only had 2 squadrons of fighters available to combat the Death Star at Yavin IV.
-Why Luke was arbitrarily made Red 5, when many, including his friend Biggs who had been in the Rebellion for a longer period of time had designations with a lower number.
I loved the effort to make Stormtroopers seem competent. We're told by Obi Wan that they're precise in IV, but we never see them hit a damn thing. The first scene with Stormtroopers in it had them nailing things right on target (VII was good about this as well). Also, love seeing flatscan Rebels get stuff done without being carried by a Jedi.
One thing I don't know how I felt about was their treatment of the greyness of the morality of members of the Rebellion. On one hand I LOVE it. This was real. This was war. People start on great causes and start to make moral sacrifices to see those causes through. "Heroes" use Machiavellian ways and become decidedly less heroic. This is true of so many rebellions and insurgencies throughout history. And it's why causes historically don't get as much buy in as they could.
Person A: I support the Rebels, they're fighting to overthrow the Empire, who they say are a bunch of murderers and fascists.
Person B: Yea but I heard their agents murder their contacts etc etc.
Like the Rebellion is still better than the Empire, but you really have to question if Cassian is a good guy, before he doesn't shoot Jyn's father.
But....idk if I want that in Star Wars. While those analogies are true and apply to wars dating back centuries for this world, the Rebellion has always been painted as just and righteous. I don't know if I want a flawed Rebellion committing war crimes on the road to good. I don't want them to be anti-heroes.
The Vader stuff played well. It wasn't too over the top. We had to see why people still feared him so much, even though he is an old stiff torso with a breather.
I'm glad all the rebels died. They had to. Without that we'd be stuck wondering why these great heroes of the rebellion went unmentioned for years after while a random farmer with no military experience was a Captain, and a smuggler with no interest with the rebellion was a general within 3 years of being roped up. All the write ups are right. The deaths of these characters gave real weight to the rebellion, and also did a good job of showing the scope. In some ways, many feel that the idea of how small the rebellion is, isn't really conveyed in the original trilogy. Outside the Battle of Yavin, the Rebels always seem to have equal numbers, win or lose. This really shows, they put most of what they had into the battle at Scarrif, and it was a Pyrrhic victory. They lost most of their forces. But Rebellions are often semi-supported by people who won't commit to the cause out of fear. And I can totally see how the victory at the end of Rogue One would convince many more to join the cause, resulting the in the sizeable force you see at the end of Return of the Jedi.
The Leia scene didn't bother me. Most of the fan service didn't. The 2 Mos Eisley guys on Jedha and seeing C-3PO and R2-D2 were probably the worst imho. The exposition between Bail and Mon Mothma was also a little hamhanded but it was probably a conversation that needed to be had (although his hat tip to Leia was unnecessary). But if they don't have that conversation about Obi-Wan and going back to Alderaan and such, I think people would have even more questions about IV. So this wrapped it up nicely. Only part that it doesn't fully patch is Leia combining the missions. I get that she had to be pointed in the direction of Obi-Wan, because that's how IV starts. But if you're ordered to find Obi-Wan, and then you sneak off with this force to go support the Battle at Scariff, and you get the fucking plans to the Death Star, with a Star Destroyer hot on your tail...how is getting the plans to the Rebellion not priority 1. Like I get it, Daddy told you to go get this old wizard warrior he knew. But if you've got the very very valuable plans to the Empire's super weapon, you have to think grabbing Obi-Wan would take a back seat until they could get the plans to Bail and the Council. But again, it had to fit. IV opens up with her having the plans and headed to Tattooine looking for Obi-Wan. idk. It makes me want to watch A New Hope really badly though.
Star Wars is almost like a comic event book now. It has becoming a "choose how you watch it" sort of deal. The end of III flows very well into IV. R1 flows into IV much, much better. But III-R1-IV doesn't flow well at all. You go from a long saga about the Jedi and the SIth and the story of Vader and the Skywalker line, to a one off about a bunch of doomed soldiers who save the Rebellion.
So watching the Saga + all the tie ins will give you the complete story, but it may not necessarily flow well as a narrative to watch them that way. Watching I-IX (or machete order or whatever) would be the best way to present the main story, while leaving out some of the details.
I think we'll start to see a bunch of "create your own Star Wars watch order" lists like Machete order.
Because I mean we essentially already have 3.
Chronological - I-III, R1, IV-IX (and wherever the other Anthology films sit
Machete (new to saga) - IV-V, II-III, VI
Rebellion Specific - R1, IV-VI