In the original Star Wars trilogy, Han Solo trusted a blaster at his side over the “hokey religion” of the Force or the “ancient weapons” of lightsabers. As all the Han Solo fanboys who emerged from the franchise can attest, a lot of audience members did too. Sturdy, reliable, and in no way powered by magic, the reason why movie audiences believe in the science fiction guns of Star Wars is because they are far more grounded in reality than one might expect. Call it a convenient anachronism, or clever psychological production design, but the convincing realism of the blasters in Rogue One is — for better or worse — connected to our acceptance that these look like, and are almost always based on, recognizable firearms found right here on planet Earth.

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