I'm a huge fan of Star Wars. Have been ever since I was 12 and saw the original trilogy. I read almost all of the books (I stopped at a certain point though. Mostly because I was really annoyed by Han and Leia's kids and the stories became more about them). In any case, when the first set of prequels came out (you know with Jar Jar) I instantly was like "fuck this" because it was painfully obvious they were going to a cash grab. They weren't actually trying to do anything but that. It's actually pretty accurately explained in this clip from a show called "Clerks: The Animated Series"
In any case, at that point I decided I'd just stick to the books cause they were really good. Then, eventually I moved on to other things like Star Trek and X-Files. Star Wars was the first thing I really got into on a "fandom" level though. I was a total geek about it and still am to some point. Then of course, last year "The Force Awakens" happens. I saw the trailer and it actually looked good. It was shortly after that I found out they were intent on ignoring the canon in the books and basically threw all of that out of the window. Then I found out what happened to Han Solo. He dies in it. If you don't know that already, I don't care if you were spoiled. Enough time has passed. I wrote the movie off because I'm not going to go with movie canon above book canon, considering how many damn books I read. I heard about Rogue One and the story behind that. I was excited.
What I had heard was the story is about how the rebels get the blueprints of the deathstar in order to be able to attack it. I was like "OMG that should be great!" because I'd always wanted to know how that happened. The reason I'm explaining all of this first is to show that I was actually excited for this trailer. I thought since this is kind of like a "stand alone" story maybe it wouldn't be as bad as the prequels or The Force Awakens. To me it has great potential to be a very good movie and fuck everything else. When the trailer was released I went to watch it. I was hoping to catch a glimpse of Mads Mikkelsen's character as well (even thought that's not the only reason I want to see the movie). It. Was. AWFUL.
The opening hero girl is...well I don't know her name but I think it's Jin. I am not even going to bother to look it up at this point. But one of her first lines is, "This is a rebellion isn't it? I rebel". OOOO So hardcore, TOO EDGY FOR ME THERE JIN. It's like the very first thing they had to do in this really short trailer is instantly thrust upon you the certified fact that this is a STRONG INDEPENDENT WOMAN WHO DOESN'T TAKE ORDERS FROM ANYONE. It was the most cringe inducing, eye rolling moment and it didn't get much better from there. Other from the fact that this girl is very dead panned and expressionless (because apparently this is a popular way to portray strong female leads in drama now) she comes across as very Mary Sue. One of my first thoughts was "She's like the Katniss of Star Wars". It's obvious what they are trying to do here and apparently Disney (who bought the franchise) even admitted they are on purpose trying to target a FEMALE AUDIENCE now with stronger, female characters.
This isn't even a shock to me because it's instantly what I thought when I saw the trailer. I love Star Wars, at least the original trilogy of it. I think the books are amazing, and by the way they are packed with really strong female characters as well. The thing is, they aren't strong and empowered because they were created for the soul purpose of being strong and empowered. The are that way because they are good characters and by default this makes them strong and empowered. You cannot ever write a character to specifically be one specific thing and expect it to come across as realistic.
I'm a writer myself. I write female and male characters. What I'm currently working on the lead female could be seen as realistically strong with realistic weaknesses. Considering what she has to face in the plot of the story she'd be seen as VERY STRONG but the intent wasn't to write her that way. The intent was to take a woman, put her in a very fucked up situation, and realistically have her character deal with it in the way that her personality would deal with it. Of course she makes mistakes, of course she gets scared, of course she has flaws and obstacles, some of which she can't overcome without help. This is a realistic situation and what defines not only strong women but strong characters. What would not be realistic is if my lead woman fought every monster off by herself, didn't need no man, never got injured, never had hurt feelings, and so on and so fourth. Then it would be very obvious that she was a Mary-Sue. That she was placed in this story only for the purpose of having a female hero.
In the original Star Wars trilogy there is Leia. She isn't your typical damsel in distress. Even though when it starts they find her in prison she's not a fall down, sobbing, cowardly mess of a woman. She knows how to fight, she even goes off on her own and saves Han Solo. A man. If you read Shadows Of The Empire (which is the story that takes place between Empire and Jedi) you can read just how powerful and awesome she is on her own. Leia wasn't invented to cater to women because "ZOMG WE NEED A STRONG FEMALE" she was a well written character who by default is strong because she's realistic.
Pandering to a minority of people isn't a good way to continue a franchise. It's never a good idea. When you do that you isolate your audience, get shit reviews, and end up losing in the long run. the whole point of these movies or any movies is to tell a good story that is universally appealing. Not to find every SJW complaint ever and correct it. SJWs are a minority. Radical feminists are a minority. When you flip the script and go cater to these people you isolate a much larger audience. However, it doesn't matter because it's a win/win. If people, like me (and especially men) complain about this female lead, it's instantly written off. We don't like it cause of misogyny or sexism or we are some kind of bigot. This is a no win situation. I admit this movie might turn out to be good (I doubt it) but when it fails (and I wouldn't be surprised if it does) all people have to do is say "Well this is just MORE PROOF that the world is SOOO afraid of STRONG WOMEN and blah blah sexism". What ever happened to just telling a good story, writing good characters, and waiting for the strong characters to reveal themselves?