Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
We have it on reasonable authority that the on-screen Hammerhead Corvette generates a force about 6,000 times that of the real-life Saturn V rocket. If you’re into the physics of what the Corvette actually pulled off in Rogue One, you can do worse than read Rhett Allain’s painstaking account here:
We’ve yet to see a more nail-biting analysis of torque, velocity, speed, momentum, inertia, acceleration, gravitational force, motion, mass and all the rest. If Allain isn’t teaching physics somewhere on (or off) the planet, he’s not found his vocation yet! We, however, are more interested in why of all the ships in the Star Wars franchise, the tiny Corvette stands out.
It’s David v Goliath but in a crucial duel that’s part of a crucial battle that’s part of an even more crucial war.
First, it’s a really cool name!
Second, it looks every bit a fighter. If you’re in an over-crowded galactic fight, you at least want to look the part. And the Corvette, well, looks exactly like a rugged, all-weather, power-starship should. One that answers to the call ‘’backup’’ by roaring toward a target at ‘’ramming’’ speed. And that call is answered so memorably in the Battle of Scarif.
Third, the Corvette scene is unashamedly heroic. It’s David v Goliath but in a crucial duel that’s part of a crucial battle that’s part of an even more crucial war. The Corvette smashes into a battle-scarred Star Destroyer and uses it to pummel another Imperial battleship and uses
both the giants to crack the shield gate that guards the Empire’s knowledge-hub on Scarif. And it’s precisely because Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor have that vital ‘’break’’ they’re able to transmit Death Star’s tactics to the Rebel fleet. And as we all know, the Death Star is effectively the Empire’s grand-daddy WMD.
Fourth, that brief episode holds a bit of mystery. You’re never really sure - at least while watching it for the first time - whether the Corvette crew really escape or end up sacrificing their lives for the greater good.
Fifth, it’s one of the most spectacular star - wars in the Star Wars series. Rather unfairly - to the earlier movies - Rogue One’s HD quality and 3-D feel make it far more real, more blistering than the dozens of earlier star-wars.
Admiral Raddus, the moment he realises how crucial it is to break the shield gate comes up with the idea of the Corvette. Like all great commanders he already sees happening what is merely hatching, he already sees complete outside what is merely being conceived inside. He then marshalls everything in his power to close the gap - between his fiction and fact.
Once the Corvette’s out there, it shows itself for the scrapper it really is. And how.
The sheer drama, the scale of that scene is so delightfully captured by the frames that those cameras take, the angles - at once showing you how fiercely the Corvette bites into the bulkhead of the first Destroyer and at the same time endangers the second. There’s one scene where you see all three - locked together, spinning, in one giant frame, the Corvette burning every cylinder in its arsenal.