Here's All The Star Wars Connections And Cameos In Rogue One

Rogue One is billed as a standalone Star Wars movie, but it's far more entrenched in the story of the saga than many of us had thought. That's not just in terms of its setting, though - it's because it's jam-packed with references and hints to the Star Wars stories that came before it. Here are all the major ones we spotted.

Of course, this should go without saying, but...

Dr Evazan and Ponda Baba

Remember the disgruntled cantina patrons Luke encounters in Mos Eisley in A New Hope? Well, turns out they don't just restrict their surliness to the surface of Tatooine. During Cassian and Jyn's arrival on Jedha, Jyn bumps into a man while making her way through a crowded market, who quickly threatens her before his alien friend calms him down... and it's none other than Evazan and Baba.

Basically, they survived the destruction of Jedha City, flew to Tatooine to drown their sorrows and then Obi-Wan sliced Ponda's arm off. Rough deal, guys.

Star Wars Rebels Crossovers

Since the start of the Disney XD animated series Star Wars Rebels, fans have wondered if we'd see these heroes on the big screen. If it was ever going to happen, the obvious place would be Rogue One because it takes place in the same time period, and follows the same general group of people, namely the Rebel Alliance. Well, Rogue One delivers.

First up, the Ghost, Hera's trusty ship, is in the film multiple times. You first see it outside the base on Yavin 4 when Jyn and Cassian get ready to go to Jedah. There's a wide shot of the outside of the base and the Ghost is clearly visible on the left side of the frame. Later, the Ghost is one of the ships that jumps into battle over Scarif.

It's in a handful of shots, mostly flying in the background. Second, after Jyn meets with the Rebel Alliance about going to Scarif, you can hear a page for "General Syndulla" clearly over the PA on Yavin 4. This is almost certainly Hera, the pilot of the Ghost.

Finally, during the battle on Scarif, a Rebel communications officer intercepts a signal about the battle and runs out to tell Mon Mothma; as he does, on the left side of the frame, the Rebels' droid Chopper can be seen rolling along.

So will Star Wars Rebels cross back over with Rogue One and give us the animated version of Yavin 4 as well as the space battle over Scarif? Could this maybe be the finale this season? The season after (if we get one)? We'll see.

The Droids We Were Looking For

C-3PO and R2-D2 have to appear in a Star Wars movie. They just... have to. It'd ruin a tradition that's managed to last throughout the entire saga if they didn't, so we're glad to say they do indeed show up in Rogue One - very briefly, as the Rebel Fleet dashes to Scarif to support Jyn's crew.

Darth Vader's Castle

Concept art by Ralph McQuarrie during Empire Strikes Back pre-production of Vader's Castle

The first time we meet Darth Vader in the film, when Director Krennic runs off to him to complain about Grand Moff Tarkin taking credit for the Death Star project, the locale is unlike anything we've seen in Star Wars before... but not for a lack of trying.

Yes, Darth Vader having his own castle isn't actually a new idea from Rogue One. Plans were made to make the castle an important location in Empire Strikes Back, but the idea was scrapped. It eventually re-emerged in the Expanded Universe, where Vader's castle was on the planet V'Jun.

In the new canon, though, Lucasfilm Story Group executive Pablo Hidalgo has confirmed the castle is on Mustafar ... which seems like a harsh joke to play on Anakin Skywalker. Also, if there really is an Episode VIII connection in Rogue One, maybe this is it. This seems like a place Kylo or Luke may find useful.

Mon Mothma Asks Bail Organa to Get Obi-Wan

Though Mon Mothma doesn't initially OK Jyn's journey to Scarif, she does know something is about to go down. She casually mentions to Bail Organa to maybe get in touch with his Jedi friend - a friend, Bail says, who has been in hiding but helped him during the Clone Wars. They, of course, are referring to Obi-Wan Kenobi. Mothma asks who he could possibly trust with such a sensitive mission and Bail says he'd trust "her" with his life.

Bail's almost certainly talking about his daughter, Princess Leia Organa. In A New Hope, Leia is obviously aware of Obi-Wan and sends the stolen Death Star plans to him when she knows she's going to be captured.

You have to wonder, though, is the implication here that if Vader didn't attack the ship, she would not have brought the plans straight to Alderaan? Was she still going after Kenobi? We'll never know.

The Black Saber

When Cassian and Jyn dig through the Scarif archive looking for the plans to the Death Star's codename, Jyn mentions one project called the "Black Saber". It might not be anything, but it could be a connection to the Darksaber, a weapon wielded by Mandalorian characters in both Clone Wars and Rebels.

The Darksaber was an ancient lightsaber, stolen by Clan Vizla and passed down through generations of warriors. Could the Empire be trying to make some of their own as a re-appropriation of lightsabers in the wake of the Jedi purge?

The Return of Red and Gold Leaders

There are quite a few familiar faces in Rogue One, but one of our favourite callouts was the use of original footage from A New Hope's Battle of Yavin sequence to resurrect Garven Dreis and Jon Vander, the Red and Gold Leader of their respective X-Wing and Y-Wing squadrons in the Alliance. The two men may have lived to fight another day at Scarif, but would ultimately perish in the Battle of Yavin.

The Fate of Red Five

Speaking of Rebel pilots, we also get to learn in Rogue One why there was a vacancy in Red Squadron for Luke to fill in - the callsign of Red Five, specifically. Unsurprisingly, the vacancy is because Red Five dies in Rogue One, shot down like a chump after failing to pull up in time during the space battle over Scarif. At least Luke did the callsign good shortly after.

Why There Are No Shoretroopers or Death Troopers in the Original Movies

Rogue One introduces a lot of new ships and Stormtroopers who we never see in the original trilogy. Being as it takes places mere days before those films, that makes no sense. If these troopers, especially the elite Death Troopers, are so good, why do we never see them again? Well, Rogue One does kind of provide an answer. And that's because they're all dead.

When the Death Star blows up the Imperial facilities on Scarif it's highly probable all Shore Troopers and Death Troopers went with it. Maybe TIE Strikers and U-Wings, too. It's at least a plausible cover for all these new things to be missing during the original trilogy.

The Galaxy's Favourite Beverage

Step aside, caf: There's only room for one drink in the galaxy far, far away. During the film's prologue when the Ersos discover that Krennic has found them, Lyra Erso is hastily packing away supplies in the rush to escape. She heads to the family kitchen, where a large container of Blue Milk, first seen in A New Hope, is sitting on the counter, smack bang in the middle of the shot.

Blue Milk: The preferred drink of choice for soon-to-be-dead parental figures throughout the Star Wars universe .

Grand Moff Tarkin and Princess Leia Return

We're going to leave the more complicated questions about these characters coming back for later. For now, though, two critical characters from A New Hope are back, which makes sense for a few reasons.

First, Tarkin definitely feels like he's in charge of the Death Star when we meet him in A New Hope, so to show him basically steal it from Krennic is critical for the story. It also gives Krennic his own villain, which is a nice twist.

As for Leia, obviously, we know she's on the Tantive IV with the Death Star plans when A New Hope begins. And after the movie has just gone through such a terribly dark ending, to see a familiar face helps ease the pain as you leave the theatre.

Return of the Rebel Leaders

While we're on returning characters, two more important Rebels from the original trilogy are in the movie - but unlike Tarkin and Leia, they're portrayed by new actors rather than CGI counterparts.

Well, we say "new", although Genevieve O'Reilly has already played Rebel leader Mon Mothma before, in scenes ultimately cut from Revenge of the Sith, making her perfect for a return in Rogue One. She's joined by Ian McElhinney - Game of Thrones' Barristan Selmy! - who steps in as General Jan Dodonna.

The Whills

Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus offhandedly mention to Jyn and Cassian that they are part of a Force-believing religious group called the Guardian of the Whills. It might sound like a meaningless reference (like "nerf herder" in Empire) but the Whills have a long history in Star Wars, just mainly outside of the story of the saga.

Originally, when drafting the first movie in the early '70s, George Lucas planned to frame the events as a retelling from an ancient book called "The Journal of the Whills, Part I".

Whoever the Whills are, we never really knew - they were dropped from the outline and pretty quickly forgotten, save for some ancillary material in the Expanded Universe picking up the name again as a mysterious organisation with connections to Force use (in the Revenge of the Sith novelisation and early versions of its script, it's mentioned that Qui-Gon Jinn learned how to become a Force Ghost from the teachings of a "Shaman of the Whills"). Rogue One marks the first time they have been mentioned on screen.

Galen's Flaw in the Death Star Design

For almost 40 years, we watched A New Hope and just thought the people who made the Death Star were idiots and left this crucial flaw in the design as a mistake - a flaw that Luke Skywalker and his proton torpedos would exploit. However, we now have to watch that scene in a wholly different way. We now know that it was Galen Erso who purposefully left that exhaust port there for the Rebels to find - his ultimate revenge for the Empire killing his wife and forcing his daughter into exile.

Even More Familiar Droids

While R2 and Threepio are the big cameos, there's the return of a few classic background droids in Rogue One as well. A Gonk droid idles by in the background as Jyn is escorted through the Rebels' base on Yavin 4 after being rescued, while Mouse Droids squeal their way around the legions of Stormtroopers on Scarif.

Keep your eyes peeled on Jedha before Saw's insurgents attack the Imperial convoy, too - there's a probe droid from Empire Strikes Back floating around amongst the busy crowd.

This story originally appeared on Gizmodo


    The savagery at the end was so brutal...Vader's a serious badarse.

      I really wanted to see Vader go one on one with Chirrut Imwe (Donny Yen). Of course, it would have been hard to match sabre and staff :(

        And you know... actual force powers

          *Shrugs* I believe he had force powers, just different to the Jedi/Sith ones. He was channeling the force to know what was happening around him and what wassisname (the rebel pilot) was thinking to some extent.

          Which is why I was kinda hoping for the matchup. Force Monk -v- Sith lord.

        Vader woulda bisected him in one second flat...

          "I am one with the force, the force is with..."


          NOOO, DONNIE YEN, NOOO!!!

            DONNIE NOOOOOOO!!!!!

            Last edited 19/12/16 11:59 pm

    I want to go and watch it again. There was so much happening in those space battles... it almost feels like the memories are fading due to being so fatigued when watching it!

      Same here, that and I couldn't get into Imax to see it the first time around so now I'm trying to convince my friend who hasn't seen it yet that he really needs to see it in Imax - so I have an excuse to go.

        Smart move! I should try and see it in Imax too. Missus said she wouldn't pay to see it again though... Maybe that's a hint it's my turn to pay for her? :P

    Might be wrong or it's just coincidence but :
    1. Darksaber was also an EU book that had a mini version of a death star being rebuilt involving stolen plans and the non canon death star designer. I thought it was a homage to that.
    2. The hammerhead corvette used was explained in Rebels tv series but i think they first appeared in the non canon Knights of the Old Republic?

    Back in my nerd hole now.

      This is correct. They're bringing back bits of the EU selectively, and wisely, slotting them in to make more sense of everything. Why start from scratch when you can utilise excellent bits and pieces that are already made. The hammerhead corvette for example was brilliantly used!

        Apparently the current hammerhead is an homage to the KOTOR ones of long again. It says on Wookiepedia that the design is based on that of the hammerhead corvettes of old.

          Yep. It irritated me they brushed KOTOR away as the 'EU', but so glad they're hanging on to bits of it all :)

        On the hammerhead move....I think that's the first time we've seen Ion torpedoes used by fighters in the movies too (ala X-Wing vs Tie Fighter game).

          We've seen ion blasts used before, I *think* from Y Wings? But not like that?

            Well we of course saw the Ion cannon disable a star destroyer over Hoth right after old mate Captain Cocky announced "Our first catch of the day." Nek minnit, disabled SD :P

            Last edited 20/12/16 10:16 am

            Ion surface-to-air cannon blasts were used on Hoth in the Empire Strikes Back, to temporarily disable the sieging Imperial fleet and allow rebel ships to escape past them.
            Edit: Beaten to it.

            Last edited 20/12/16 10:45 am

        It was fantastic and to me seemed like a great homage of the X-Wing game and the Corvette Ram's Head from Operation: Ram's Head. The last time I saw this was probably almost 20 years ago, yet I remember it like yesterday.

    the Ghost, Hera's trusty ship, is in the film multiple times

    Aren't ships mass-produced, though?

      Its a highly and illegally modified, shields weapons jammers on a stock standard Corelluan freighter, its like saying there should be a tonne of Millenium Falcons in the fleet. The point of a smuggler vessel is to be non descript... but at the same time no one would take a stock standard freighter into a war zone or a hidden base.

      Yeah, it could've just been a random VCX-100 (What the Ghost is) but I think most people assumed they wouldn't have gone to the trouble of adding it in if not for the Rebels reference. I didn't even notice it (or Chopper) in the film myself though :(

    For almost 40 years, we watched A New Hope and just thought the people who made the Death Star were idiots and left this crucial flaw in the design as a mistake

    No. It was an exhaust pipe. Without that exhaust pipe the Death Star would blow up the second they fired their super weapon. In fact, I would even suggest that there were many exhaust pipes around the Death Star, that one just happened to have the least amount of defense turrets. Which were all shooting at the Rebels attempting to exploit it.

      An Archillies Heel is a problem for any story where it is part of intelligent design... you either need to justify its existense at a level of intelligence that cracks under further scrutiny, claim that people are morons, or you imply malicious design.

      The Death Star weakness has been rewritten and justified so many ways but you got to remember... Space Wizards with supernatural powers.

      There's was a Dorkly video a few months ago that points this out. It was a vitally necessary piece of the station and it took someone using (essentially) magic to exploit it!

      EXACTLY. What Galen did was design the reactor so that any explosion would cause a chain reaction and blow the whole damn thing to kingdom come. The key was finding HOW to exploit this hence the exhaust port. They laboured on this point a bit in the film...

        Without the flaw Galen designed into it, a Torpedo through that Exhaust Port would blow up a Reactor, maybe disable a bunch of Turbo Lasers in the area. The Chain Reaction starting gives everybody time to get clear.

        Also let's look at the fact they have AI, Hyperspace Computers that calculate vast faster than light jumps and people think a Targeting Computer wouldn't be able to make the shot? Obi Won telling Luke to use the Force wasn't because the Computer couldn't but because Luke could. It changed him from a Pilot to a Jedi.

          *nods* exactly :) And yeah, I feel like the whole targeting thing was a bit funny... But you're spot on saying it was the moment Luke started becoming a Jedi!

    Cant believe I missed Chopper.

      I missed him and Ghost one, I was hoping to see the Rebels or at least Sabine. I figure I missed a lot and will watch it again.

        The problem with actually seeing the Rebels immediately introduces the notiin that there are possibly 2 Jedi and a Mandolorion on the base with a long history of suicide missions.

    This is an ok list, but it's barely all. I'd say it's barely a third. Here's a few more for consideration:

    1. Galen Urso was a moisture farmer, just as Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru were. If Blue Milk is a connection, so are the moisture vaporators we saw in the background.

    2. Captain Antilles, who we saw near the end of the movie, was the Captain Antilles choked to death at the beginning of Episode 4 by Vader.

    3. Saw Gerrera himself, was a character in the Clone Wars cartoons first. He's also going to be appearing in the Rebels cartoon in upcoming episodes.

    4. The Rebel Alliance guard scanning the ship as it jets out into the atmosphere on Yavin 4, a direct recreation and callback to the exact same scene in Episode 4.

    5. Saw Gerrera's cave paintings are actually the monsters from MONSTERS and GODZILLA, both movies the director previously made.

    6. Chiruit actually says "“May the Force of others be with you.” at one point, this goes back to Lucas's original script where the Force actually came from a form of 'group bonding' where a group of people would channel their energy blah blah blah etc etc. Anyhow yeah there's that.

    7. The original Holochess with the monsters is in this in Saw Gerreras cave, however is being played with actual figures.

    8. Episode 8 director Rian Johnson is the guy who fires the Deathstar laser.

    9. The Wilhelm scream appears during an explosion! As it has in every starwars movie so far apparently!

    Anyhow thats just a few more.

      I swear this place wouldn't be the same without your nerdy knowledge mate *tips cap*

        Awwwww shucks :')

          There is also a THX 118 reference although its totally lost on me the exact scene...they talk about something or rather variant THX118

      And the 2 storm troopers talking on Scarif that mention the new T-17 as a vast upgrade on its previous models, a reference to Luke's 'bullseye womp rats in my T-16 back home'.

        Which if you ask me is a double reference, as the two Troopers in the room Obi-Wan deactivates the Death Star's tractor beam in discuss a new speeder, which vastly surpasses its predecessor.

          Do they? Oh god I'm going back to watch them all again!!!

      On point one, I actually thought it odd that a planet with so much greenery, and one which it was actually raining on during the scenes it was featured, would have a moisture farm...

      On the whole though, dang. I'm with you, Rogue One is up there with Empire in terms of quality.

        We make the assumption that the rain coming down isn't polluted or some such. I also thought it was odd though considering how moist everything looked...

        Last edited 20/12/16 10:24 am

    I wasn't that impressed with it. Essentially it's just a gap filler movie. Disney's just milking the cash cow between main installments to get the most from their investment.

      *points to the door* You know where to go :P

    It is true that exhaust ports would be necessary for a death star weapon, but exhaust ports with no grill or any sort of cover and that run in a completely straight line all the way to the center of the main reactor would not be.

      I still think the Deathstar was destroyed by the Skywalker family (and a smugglers ship full of explosives) so their fathers construction company could build the second one with inferior materials while making billions bankrupting the empire with massive fraud and no senate inquiries.

      Or its just a coincidence they all congregated on the space station within days before it exploded and are those 3 survived unharmed.

        Photon torpedo fuel dont melt kyber crystals...

        Last edited 20/12/16 12:55 pm

    What's up with a blaster muzzle flash in the picture?

    Or was it just added in for the still (for some reason?)?

    There's a very brief blink-and-you'll-miss-it shot of Biggs jumping into one of the X-Wings as they're leaving Yavin. He's the only one with that yellow-checked pattern on his helmet. Not sure if there's a similar callout for Wedge or Hobbie, but both definitely should have been there since canonically by this point they should have been flying with the Rebellion for a fair amount of time since both defect in Rebels.

      Was miffed we didn't get Jek or Biggs in there tbh. I'm sure there was more archive footage, but I'm still stoked they got Gold and Red leaders in there ^_^

    I geeked out at the two stormtroopers talking about the T-15 being shunted into obsolescence.
    Still good enough for Luke Skywalker to shoot wamp rats in.

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