Please beware there will be spoilers for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story here. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, then go and do that, and come back here for all the geeking out I am about to do here.
Sorry, I know I promised this one to happen on Monday, but other things had to take priority. Also, I was including questions and theories Rogue One brought up, but it became this behemoth of a thing. I decided to separate my theories about the future of the saga, specifically Episode VIII, to another post which will come out tomorrow.
While Rogue One was a movie unto itself, a true standalone, there were oh so many Easter Eggs for those who love the franchise ranging from the quick appearance of blue milk to the holy-crap-they-just-did-that. I can’t go too hard core into Easter Eggs. I’m sure several went over my head (at the time I’m writing this, I have only seen Rogue One twice, it will take a few more screenings for me to catch them all) and I don’t want to talk too much about what I don’t know. So, there will be some I don’t mention here. Feel free to point out ones I missed in the comments section.
Does anyone ever have a good feeling in Star Wars?
The second most famous line in the saga is uttered in every film at least once by one of the major characters. This time by K-2SO, but funny enough is cut off by Cassian Landor and Jyn Erso before it is fully spoken.
Ponda Baba and Dr. Cornelius Evazan (and yes, I looked those names up, I’m not that hardcore):
The two ruffians in A New Hope who attempt to pick a fight in the Mos Eisley cantina with Luke Skywalker also have a minor run in with Jyn and Cassian on Jedah just hours before the destruction of the city. No wonder they were drinking so heavily at the cantina, they just barely escaped their doom, only to meet the business end of a lightsaber a day or two later.
The game in which it is better to let the Wookie win is briefly seen in Saw Gerrera’s fortress, but not in its hologram from. The other extremists were playing with what looks to be hand carved figurines signaling they may not have the means to buy the hologram version Han and Chewie play to pass the time or just didn’t want to spend the money.
Years before she meets a grizzly end at the jaws of a Rancor in Return of the Jedi, the Twi-lek dancer in Jabba’s palace (I looked up her name as well, Oola) is seen in Saw’s hideaway in hologram from. Was she famous, or was that rebel a good friend the Hutt?
An Exhaust Port Sized Plot Hole:
Many fans have debated the idiocy of the exhaust port flaw in the Death Star. In a brilliant move, the design flaw is explained to have been created intentionally by Galen Erso so the Rebels would have a way to destroy the massive weapon.
It is normal as a series continues, the costumes and gear get an upgrade as the movies receive a better budget. Star Wars was no exception as Darth Vader’s helmet, chest panel, and overall appearance became nicer and sleeker looking as the films progressed. One of the few oh-hey-that-was-cool moments from the other prequels was the first time Anakin Skywalker was fully transformed into the Darth Vader we know and fear today at the end of Revenge of the Sith. While the helmet was nice and shiny new looking during Sith, the chest panel was the same as it was for A New Hope. Something less sophisticated which was possibly put together quickly in order to save his life.
Rogue One went so far as to recreate the more battle damaged looking Vader for his two scenes. The lenses were red, like they were for Hope and not black as they were in The Empire Strikes Back and Jedi, his helmet looked used with finger prints on it, and his cape was over the shoulders and not sitting on top. This attention to detail is so amazing and gives a wonderful amount of continuity between Rogue One and Hope.
Speaking of Vader’s digs:
The baddie’s palace was featured in the film and is located on Mustafar. The same planet where Anakin Skywalker caused the death of his wife, Padme Amidala, and his friend and mentor, Obi Wan Kenobi (who was given a very minor shout out in Rogue One by Bail Organa) cut off Ani’s limbs and left him to burn alive in the lava. And you thought you held on to your bitterness and hatred.
Using Original Concepts:
George Lucas went thru many different drafts of Star Wars before settling on the story we got on screen in 1977. Some of the original ideas have recently filtered out into The Clone Wars and Rebels (two shows I haven’t seen just yet) and a couple more have made it into Rogue One as well.
Like the blessing Chirrut Îmwe is exclaiming at others before meeting Jyn, “May the Force of Others be with you,” was actually a part of the original script before being streamlined to “May the Force be with you” which is uttered by Jyn later in the film. Lucas’s original ideas about the Force as a religion was more of a link between living things and the Jedi were warriors who were devout clerics. Eventually, the Jedi morphed into super powered beings who could tap into the Force and wield it like magic.
The Whills were also a big part of the mythology behind the Force and the Jedi. The original title for Star Wars was The Adventures of Luke Starkiller as taken from the “Journal of the Whills”. The original idea for the movies were the Whills, an ancient alien race, are telling the audience the stories much like an older relative tells stories of “the war” to the younger generation. That is where the title card “a long time ago in a galaxy far away” came from. It is a holdover from the Whills. They have been seen in The Clone Wars when the alien species appeared to Yoda in an episode.
Chirrut is a Guardian of the Whills, a follower of the Force who is a historical journal keeper and charged with protecting the Jedi Temple on Jedah where Kyber Crystals (get to those in a sec) are mined. Chirrut is not the first Guardian to appear in the movies. Lor San Tekka (Max von Sydow) in The Force Awakens was also a Guardian of the Whills which is why he lived on Jedah when we meet him, though this is not something explained in the movie. Tekka’s story is briefly explained in the novelization of TFA as well as a quote from the “Journal of the Wills” is featured in the beginning of the book.
It is curious Rey is taken to Jedah to wait for her family… (more on her tomorrow).
Kyber Crystals are mentioned for the first time in the films, though they have played a minor role in Rebels. For those who are more familiar with the Extended Universe (or Legends as it has been renamed by Disney), the Crystals are found on Jedah (which is why the Jedi temple is built there) and the Jedi use them to power their lightsabers. In Rogue One, Jyn is given one by her mother in the beginning and eventually the rebels learn it is what powers the Death Star.
The all too brief appearance of Saw Gerrera gives closure to a character who is introduced in Clone Wars and will appear in season three of Rebels, which is enough for me to find the time to catch up on both series since it seems as if they are now cannon. During his time in Clone Wars, the rebel sacrificed much for freedom and has since hardened him to the Alliance, which is why he is on the outskirts of the fight against the Empire.
The title of the film does come from a conversation between Bodhi Rook and the Alliance air control tower. He gives the call sign Rogue One to the tower when stealing the Imperial Ship to go to Scarif because, get it, they are going rogue (cue minor eye roll). But the title and the call sign are an Easter Egg. The Rogue Squadron in Empire are the team of pilots led by Arhul Narra, Wedge Antilles, and Luke Skywalker who engage the Imperial troops in the Battle of Hoth so the leaders of the Rebellion could escape the ice planet. This little detail lends an extra layer to the Rebellion as it makes it seem as if the survivors of the Battle of Yavin named their new squadron after those who died on Rogue One to get the plans to destroy the Death Star.
In Hope, Luke is given the call sign Red Five. The position opened up when the original Red Five died during the Battle of Scarif.
Bringing Back the Dead:
The digital recreation of the Grand Moff Tarkin was something announced nearly a year ago by the filmmakers, yet his appearance on screen still remained a big surprise to many movie goers (myself included). I think we all assumed it would be a super minor role or he would be seen in passing. Of course, now we know the character had a fairly major role in the events of Rogue One, more so than Darth Vader. Disney recreating the face and voice of the deceased Peter Cushing is going to be the subject of many debates in the future. It could also change who might show up in any other Star Wars movie in the future (more on that tomorrow).
They gave the Rebellion Hope:
While people may debate whether or not the first two-thirds of the film is even good (I fall on the side of loved it), everyone can agree the final act might be some of the best stuff the Star Wars saga has ever seen. The ground and space fight alone in and around Scarif was something to behold. Director Gareth Edwards used the Battle of Hoth in Empire and the ending of Saving Private Ryan as inspiration for the final battle.
While that was amazing, it was the final five minutes that had me declaring Rogue One the second best Star Wars film (I don’t think anything can top Empire as an overall film in my mind). Those final minutes were beautifully poignant as the last two survivors of the Rogue One Crew, Jyn and Cassian, held each other on the beach as the mushroom cloud of death came rushing towards them, all while the plans they transmitted were making their way to Leia Organa to set up the beginning of A New Hope. Leia’s final line of “Hope” may have been a bit cheesy, but that is what you felt when watching Jyn and Cassian hold one another. They gave their lives so the rebellion could have a hope to win over the forces of an oppressive regime. A truly beautiful and emotional moment that could have been the end of the movie and it would have been perfect.
But no, Rogue One went one step further and redeemed Darth Vader as a terrifying presence in the universe! The prequels effectively took one of the best baddies to grace the screen and made him into an obnoxious brat who was tricked by a power hungry old man into the Dark Side. So fans now have a new and better image of their loved villain. Those last few minutes when Vader boarded the ship to retrieve the plans were like something out of a horror movie. The door he enters thru is shrouded in shadow and all you hear is the breathing, then the lightsaber comes on to reveal Vader and bathes the whole room in red as he systematically slaughters the rebel troops. Seriously, I have the chills just remembering how great that was.
Rogue One is a great way for Star Wars to expand itself outside of the Skywalker and Solo clans, while still paying tribute to the mythology of the series. Introducing us to a new horde of characters (who were promptly killed off) and giving more life to the saga. I cannot wait for Episode VIII, but now it is nice to know I can look forward to the spinoff series.
What was your favorite Easter Egg from Rogue One? There are plenty I missed, so if you know of one, let me know in the comment section. What did you think of the ending? Tomorrow, I will go more into the implications from Rogue One and how this story will play into future films.