Here’s how Rogue One director Gareth Edwards decided which classic Star Wars characters made an appearance

The Star Wars spin-off director had a special reason not to include more cameos

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From Grand Moff Tarkin, to rebel leader Mon Mothma and even Leia’s adopted father Bail Organa, Rogue One brought back plenty of Star Wars faces from a long time ago. And that’s because Gareth Edwards, massive Star Wars geek and director of the Star Wars spin-off, systematically planned the film’s cameos.

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“On day one, one of the first things I did was take out a chart of every character that could potentially be in our film,” Edwards told RadioTimes.com. “If you look at those charts with all the toys in then you’d think there are thousands of characters in Stars Wars, but it wasn’t as big as you’d have thought.” 

Yet despite a shorter list of possible Easter Eggs than he expected, Edwards still had to deeply consider if he could justify each and every character appearing in the film. Some were ruled out as it wasn’t logistically possible for the character travel across the galaxy and back in time for A New Hope, but the director also intentionally left out possible cameos to maintain the authenticity of the original films.

“One of the greatest things about Star Wars is the scope of the universe: it’s so epic,” he explained. “If you start bringing everyone in the film that just happens to be down the road on another planet then it starts to make the universe feel small. And that should limit the characters you can use.”

Edwards also revealed some old favourites that were filmed were almost cut from the final movie: “There’s people that just about made it in, like the alien from the cantina who says ‘he doesn’t like you’ / ‘I don’t like you’ [the pig-nosed crook that approaches Luke Skywalker at the Mos Eisley Cantina]. When we re-shot it for a while he wasn’t in, then he was in, then he wasn’t in. I’m glad he made it in the film, but it was a change we made about the last week of post-production.”

So, for all of Rogue One’s Easter Eggs (check out our top 11 here), there could have been plenty more smaller treats for fans to unwrap. But instead, we got perhaps the greatest gift of all: a Star Wars film faithful to original. Almost brings a tear to the eye.

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is available on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Download 10th April.