Star Wars prequel/spin-off Rogue One is chock-full of references and callbacks to the other Star Wars films – here are just a few of our favourites.
Be aware, the list below contains some spoilers…
1. Blue (dairy) harvest
The flashback to the Erso family’s farming life includes what we’re calling a lacto-cameo from the blue milk that Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) slurps so eagerly in 1977’s original Star Wars film.
2. The Crawl Awakens
As was widely reported before Rogue One’s release, the spin-off is the first live-action Star Wars film not to have an opening crawl (probably because it technically IS the opening crawl to A New Hope) – but we think the very first shot of the movie has a little nod to the iconic sequence anyway.
Said shot sees an imperial shuttle flying over the rings of a Saturn-like planet, zoomed in so close that the rings resemble large yellow rectangles flying through space in a POSSIBLE visual homage to the missing crawl. That, or we’re having crawl withdrawal symptoms and seeing them everywhere.
3. My friend doesn’t like you
These fine-looking fellas (real names Dr Evazan and Ponda Baba), who try to menace Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars film only to come a cropper of Obi-Wan Kenobi’s (Alec Guinness) lightsaber, make a cameo in Rogue One bumping into heroes Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and Cassian Andor (Diego Luna).
4. Familiar faces
And they’re not the only old favourites to make a return in the movie, with Peter Cushing’s Grand Moff Tarkin and Carrie Fisher’s Leia digitally back in action alongside recast characters like Mon Mothma (played by Genevieve O’Reilly, pictured left in a deleted Revenge of the Sith scene and centre in Rogue One, to replace Caroline Blakiston, right), General Dodonna and the prequel trilogy’s Bail Organa (Jimmy Smits) among many others.
Forest Whittaker’s character Saw Gerrera will also be familiar to fans of animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, where his freedom fighter appeared in his younger years.
5. What a pa-lava
Rogue One treats us to a look at Darth Vader’s secret castle crib some way through the movie, and it’s located in a familiar place.
According to Lucasfilm’s Pablo Hidalgo, Darth resides on lava planet Mustafar, where Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) duelled with Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and received his terrible injuries in prequel Revenge of the Sith.
Interestingly, Vader’s castle was originally mooted for 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back before it was cut, with Rogue One using the original concept art by Ralph McQuarrie to help inspire the version they used.
6. Bacta the future
As we noticed wayyy back when the first Rogue One trailer was released, a scene in the film finds Darth Vader submerged in a bacta tank to help soothe his wounds – just as Luke does at the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back.
Like father, like son, eh?
7. Droid rage
It wouldn’t be a Star Wars movie without R2-D2 and C-3PO standing around complaining (they’ve appeared in every film to date thus far), so accordingly the pair make a brief appearance at the Yavin rebel base as Jyn and her team head off for battle.
8. Red leader, standing by
The final X-Wing assault in the movie sees the return of the Red and Gold leaders (Drewe Henley and Angus MacInnes) from the original Star Wars film, a feat which director Gareth Edwards revealed to RadioTimes.com was achieved by discovering unused archive footage from A New Hope and digitally inserting it into Rogue One.
Another X-Wing callback to the original trilogy may be the inclusion of female pilots, because there’s a bit of a story there. Originally, there were three female actresses cast as Rebel pilots (in A-Wings and X-Wings) for 1983’s Return of the Jedi – Poppy Hands, Vivienne Chandler and Lynne Hazelden – but two were cut from the final edit, while Hands was clumsily re-edited to seem like a man.
Rogue One sees this odd decision somewhat reversed, with Utopia’s Geraldine James and Gabby Wong playing pilots Blue Three and Gold Nine respectively.
“I’ve got a bad feeling about this…”
This line, spoken in every Star Wars film thus far is uttered at one point by Alan Tudyk’s sardonic droid K-2SO as the Rebels begin their heist infiltration, only for the sentence to be interrupted by Jyn and Cassian. After all, this is no ordinary Star Wars film.
Oh Rebels Rebels
Kids’ TV series Star Wars Rebels gets a couple of sly references in Rogue One, including a brief shot of the Ghost (the ship used by the heroes of the animated series), an appearance by rebellious droid Chopper (middle left) and an intercom in the Yavin Base calling for General Syndulla (either Rebels pilot Hera Syndulla, below left, after being promoted or her freedom fighter father Cham).
The “Hammerhead” spaceships introduced by Rebels also play a pretty crucial part in the final battle, but we won’t give too much away about that.
After all, what kind of an Easter egg hunt would it be if we didn’t leave any for you to find yourselves?
Rogue One: A Star Wars story is in cinemas now