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*Spoiler Warning*

Rogue One is the Star Wars Rebels finale we’ll now never get and it’s all the weaker for it. I shan’t lie, I wasn’t much of a fan of the film and a large part of that was that I didn’t care for the characters. In Rebels we have a crew that we already love and care about a great deal. So much of Rogue One’s story could easily have been theirs.

The parallels between the Rogue One and Rebels cast are fairly easy to make and not just because of physical resemblance. Many of the ultimate fates of the Rogue One cast would have been perfect for the Rebels characters. And I don’t just mean because they all die. For example, Donnie Yen’s character, Chirrut Îmwe, could easily have been Kanan. Not just for the blindness, but because that’s the sort of thing he’d do. Then, instead of having someone forgettable like Baze Malbus covering him, have it be Rex. Their deaths now mean something and feels like the natural conclusion to their characters arcs and relationship.

Swap out K-2SO for Chopper, Bodhi Rook for Hera, Jyn for Ezra and Cassian for Sabine and to my mind you now have a decent story with characters you care about. Now, they’re not exact analogues but tweak the story ever so slightly and it works. Ezra gets a message saying his parents weren’t killed, but were instead used as slave labour on the Death Star and somehow have managed to find out where the plans are. Hera stays with the Ghost on Scarif and goes down with the ship while Chopper sacrifices himself like K-2SO does, locking the door behind Ezra and Sabine.

The rest of the story then unfolds largely as it does in the film, only with Cassian now being Sabine we don’t get the Rebel Alliance being responsible murky shit like assassinations. I get that they wanted to make the movie “dark” but The Empire Strikes Back was dark without compromising the good guys integrity. We also know Saw Gerrara will be in Rebels season three, so we’ll actually have got to see him be an extremist rather than just be told he is.

With the nods to Rebels in Rogue One I’m sure that it’ll tie in quite closely further down the line, but imagine if Disney had kept their powder dry. As a culmination to the Rebels story it could’ve been incredibly powerful and one hell of a gut punch. Instead we got one of the biggest missed opportunities in Star Wars’ history.

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Of late, I’ve been bitten by the film-collecting bug, particularly when it comes to the acquisition of Blu-Rays. As such, in times of austerity but where having some retail therapy to help lighten up your day, it’s important to know where to go looking for the best deals.

When it comes to Blu-Rays, an important thing to bear in mind is that as they’re more durable than your standard DVD, buying disks second hand is less of a risk. This opens up a whole range of pawn, charity and second hand shops that you may not have considered before. Major retailers of second hand good like CeX or Cash Converters are a great place to browse for bargains, as more often than not they’re cheaper than online, even than the used section of Amazon or eBay. Plus you don’t have to pay P&P. For instance, I recently picked up the BBC Wonders Special Edition for £8 and the Star Wars saga for £40 from CeX, saving me £31. Moreover, if you’ve got DVDs you’re wanting to upgrade or just get rid of, getting the exchange price as opposed to the cash price can net you a few extra pounds to knock of the total price of your purchases. With CeX, check their website if there’s something you’re wanting in particular. The price on there will be the same as the price in store and you can check to see if they have it in stock. Personally, I wouldn’t buy anything direct from the website though as I’ve heard a few horror stories and I’m not that desperate just yet.

Another useful tip I’ve found is to have an Amazon Wish List full of Blu-Rays you’re interested in buying. If Amazon reduces the price then your wish list will show you the drop in price compared to how it was when you added it. This is particularly useful around Christmas and January during the sales and your patience can really pay off. Also, if like me you’ve a memory like a sieve then having a place online where you can check what you’ve been interested in buying of late is a real help. Especially if you’ve a smart phone and can check it when you’re on the go, it can save you a lot of time and money. Beyond Amazon, you’ve also got the likes of Play and Zavvi. Though with Play shutting down its own retail section and Zavvi’s reputation for poor service I’d use them more as a last resort. You get cheaper prices and in fairness more often than not you’ll be fine, but it’s up to you if you want to take the risk.

Keeping an eye on Internet forums is another good way of staying informed and up to date with the latest promotions and sales. Not only are the vast majority free to join, but also you can engage with a community of like-minded people who may be collectors of special editions or just your average movie fan who likes a bargain like myself. Also consider taking a look at YouTube for channels with folks who search for bargains or are collectors and give tips on where to look and what deals are out there.

Finally, with the news that both Blockbuster and HMV are going into administration it’s a good time to look for any deals they may have as a result. HMV are still running their 3 for £20/5 for £30 deal, as well as their blue cross sale, so as long as they’ve not been picked clean it’s worth a look. Similarly, Blockbuster is a good place to look for pre-owned stuff, especially if it’s one of the stores that will be closing down soon. I’ve picked up some real gems from their pre-owned section before so it’s definitely worth having a browse.

It can definitely be a rewarding hobby and I know I’ve found myself spending far too much time weighing up the pros and cons over whether or not I want to get something or hoping it’ll go down in price. Making the leap up to Blu-Ray and building up that library can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it doesn’t have to be an expensive one. And at the end of the day, so long as you’re happy with what you got, that’s what matters. Just don’t pay through the nose for it.