Rogue One: A Star Wars story has been in cinemas for nearly a month now, but we’re still only just finding out the many secrets that helped create the Star Wars spin-off. 

Now, helping in our quest is the newly-arrived Star Wars Rogue One: The Ultimate Visual Guide, which delves deep into the background and lore of the movie, its characters and the Star Wars universe in general. 

And it’s safe to say that we’ve learned an interesting fact or two from it…


1. Age is just a (wrong) number

 

An odd little detail we spotted in the Rogue One visual guide is that quite a few of the actors are playing characters vastly different from them in age. Most prominent among these is lead actor Felcity Jones (with the 33-year-old actor playing a 21-year-old), but we were also slightly amused to see 37-year-old Diego Luna listed as 26. 

Doubtlessly, the ages were chosen to best fit in with Star Wars’ complex timelines, though we can’t help but wonder if the actors cast as roughly their own ages or older – for examples Ben Daniels, Mads Mikkelsen and Ben Mendelsohn – were a little hurt.


2. Buzzin’ for a cousin

 

Star Wars has something of a history when it comes to surprise familial revelations, but this one has still surprised us somewhat – apparently, the Twi’lek (you know, the species with the dangly head things) rebel you see in the film working with Forest Whittaker’s Saw Gerrera is the cousin of original series gangster Bib Fortuna (above).

According to the guide Beezer Fortuna resents his family’s involvement with the criminal underworld, and now works as one of  Saw’s chief strategist, while the book’s author Pablo Hidalgo recently revealed more behind-the-scenes details about the character on Twitter.


3. Religious (Star) Wars

It turns out that the religions of the Star Wars universe are far more complicated than we thought, with far more people interested in the Force than just the Jedi and the Sith.

This is delved into in some depth in the visual guide in a section devoted to Donnie Yen’s spiritual Chirrut Îmwe, which explains that the Guardians of the Whills order Chirrut and Baze Malbus (Jian Wen) hailed from didn’t believe in the Force in the same way as the Jedi or Sith, choosing not to “emphasise the discord between lightness and darkness”. 

Instead, the near-extinct warrior-monks believed that no-one holds a monopoly on understanding the cosmic energy field The Force is often described as, going slightly against the more elitist Jedi interpretation. The visual guide also mentions other religions that worship The Force, from the Brotherhood of the Beatific Countenace and the Clan of the Toribota to the Disciples of the Whills that presumably have a connection to Chirrut’s order.

None of these religions claim to have any ability to control or manipulate the force, however, marking them out from the Jedi’s more well-known faith.

In summary, expect even more Star Wars religions to pop up in the coming years…


4. What’s in a (jumbled up) name?

As we reported last week, one of the visual guide’s more delightful details comes in the character names for the Rebel pilots of blue squadron, which all seem to be playful reworkings of the actors’ names (Geraldine James becomes Jaldine Gerams, pictured, for example). 

For the full details, you can read our story here – but they’re not the only bit of name wordplay in the book, with rebellion character Senator Vasp Vaspar so named due to the repeated name of his actor, Fares Fares.


5. Ackbar, phone home

 

Ever wondered why so many of those squid-like aliens the Mon Calamari seem to command Rebel fleets, with the Original Trilogy’s (and Force Awakens’) Admiral Ackbar now joined by Rogue One’s Admiral Raddus (pictured)?

Well, ya big spacist (why shouldn’t they???), it might be because they brought massive ships to aid the cause, which according to the visual guide were actually constructed from their planet’s cities, jettisoned into space to escape the Empire. 

For example, Rogue One’s Admiral Raddus commands the Profundity, (main ship above) which was once the civic governance tower of the northern Mon Calamari city Nystullum, where Raddus was once the mayor. We can only assume that Admiral Ackbar’s ship in 1977’s A New Hope, which is actually called Home One, has a similar origin.


6. Wicket weturns!

 

Fun fact, Star Wars fans – ever since his appearance in 1983’s Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, actor Warwick Davis has appeared sporadically as characters whose names begin with W, from Weazel and Wold in 1999’s The Phantom Mencace to Wollivan in the Force Awakens .

Now, Rogue One adds to that tally with the character Weeteef Cyu-Bee, the Talpini sharpshooter in Saw Gerrera’s (Forest Whitaker) crew specialising in explosives.


7. Out with the new, in with the old

If you’re wondering why a lot of the new ships and stormtrooper designs aren’t seen again by Luke Skywalker and co in their subsequent adventures, the visual guide explains that there’s a simple reason behind it – they were all destroyed. 

Apparently, new ships like the Empire’s TIE Strikers and the Rebels’ U-Wings were in short supply for various reasons (they were prototypes and a discontinued design, respectively), and so when they were destroyed along with the planet Scarif at Rogue One’s close they weren’t made again.

A similar explanation is offered for the Shoretrooper Stormtrooper armour, which was apparently only used for very specific tropical worlds that were not encountered in the rest of the Original Trilogy. Simple. 

Of course, you might have just dismissed their lack of “later” appearance by the fact that the films were made decades before Rogue One and this is a facile conversation to be having, but hey, where’s the fun in that?

Rogue One: A Star Wars story is in cinemas now