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Star Wars: Rogue One: A Tech Movie Review (3 Stars)

by Craig Roth  |  December 23, 2016  |  3 Comments

I just returned from seeing “Star Wars: Rogue One” and thought it was a fun exploration of the challenges of finding, retrieving, and transferring mission critical content (in this case, plans for the Death Star showing a critical vulnerability).

Before I begin, let me give this

*** Spoiler alert! ***

The core of the story, from an enterprise content management (ECM) point of view, is that our hero – Jyn Erso – is told there is a piece of content that would help her team make better decisions (regarding a certain upcoming attack). Jyn, eager to help her team, heads off to get it.

It seems the Empire uses siloed, decentralized ECM systems and this particular document (some sort of CAD file) is stored in Scarif at headquarters. Arriving in Scarif, Jyn has trouble locating the file because it has been given an intentionally obscure filename and lacks metadata. There doesn’t seem to be any full-text search capability either (e.g., “search: death star vulnerability”), compounding the problem. Luckily Jyn figures out the filename and goes to the storage array to remove the file.

But a content manager’s job is never easy or done. The file needs to be sent to her team, but it turns out the wifi is down. Jyn has to re-aim the antenna. Once it connects, she has to use a form of managed file transfer (MFT) to get the file to her team.

Success! When the Empire’s CSO – Orson Krennic – realizes the file has been transferred he is enraged that unauthorized personnel were able to access the file despite not appearing on the access control list (ACL). But Jyn’s team is overjoyed at the successful file transfer.

My verdict? Star Wars: Rogue One is the most exciting ECM movie in a long time. It does a great job of illustrating the thrill and challenge of being a content manager and should inspire new generations to enter the exciting field of knowledge management.

Also, the difficulty involved in finding, retrieving, and transferring the file will no doubt educate IT leaders of the dangers of siloed ECM systems, the importance of proper file naming and taxonomy, and the criticality of maintaining proper security and access control for mission critical content. I’m sure this was the intent of director Gareth Edwards and the screenwriters.

Why only 3 stars? While many ECM tasks were accurately portrayed (or exaggerated as Hollywood tends to do), some were wildly inaccurate. For example, Bodhi (one of Jyn’s staff) has to use a massive cable to manually connect the repository to the antenna. Or, worse, Jyn has to physically find the file, which takes the form of a box. I’m hoping that a society that can build star ships that warp around the galaxy and death stars wouldn’t require unplugging files like they are lego bricks.

But that’s being picky. It’s not too often Hollywood will spend $200 million on a movie about file retrieval, so I encourage everyone to see it. May the Files be with you!

[Seriously, Star Wars: Rogue One is a fun popcorn movie. I saw it in 3D, which I highly recommend. I do believe that movies can offer a great way to view the application, use, and abuse of technology from a different lens, although this review was more humorous. “Lives of Others”, for example, is a more serious view into privacy and information management and taxonomy, and a powerful and meaningful movie as well. If you enjoyed this review, check out “‘Her’ – A Tech Movie Review” as well.]

Happy Holidays!

Category: fun  

Craig Roth
Research VP, Tech and Service Providers
7 years at Gartner
28 years IT industry

Craig Roth is a Research Vice President focused on cloud office suites, collaboration tools, content management, and how they are being impacted by digital workplace and digital business trends...Read Full Bio


Thoughts on Star Wars: Rogue One: A Tech Movie Review (3 Stars)


  1. Jeff Mann says:

    Warp? In the Star Wars universe? Craig, you are better than that. I think you mean jump to hyperspace.

  2. Doug Laney says:

    Well done Craig! I now see the film in a whole new light. Just remember, this was a long, long time ago. :-)

  3. Well done – I wish every technical blog post I wrote or read was as fun and purposed as this one.



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