This article comes from Den of Geek UK.
This article contains lots of Rogue One spoilers.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is in cinemas now. By most accounts I’ve seen, director Gareth Edwards and writers John Knoll, Gary Whitta, Chris Weitz ,and Tony Gilroy have served up a Star Wars movie that critics and audiences have really taken to.
You might have questions about Rogue One. We might have thought of these very same questions. We may or may not have answered them adequately. Scroll past our spoiler squirrel to find out….
Why was there no opening crawl?
“We felt that’s so indicative of what those saga films are,” Lucasfilm head honcho Kathleen Kennedy told Variety a few weeks ago. “Initially, we probably will begin the film in a way that is traditional, with just the title,” she added.
A few months before that, Kennedy told Entertainment Weekly, “We talk about [whether or not to do a crawl] all the time. It’s something that we’re right in the midst of discussing even now, so I don’t want to say definitively what we’re doing […] The crawl and some of those elements live so specifically within the ‘saga’ films that we are having a lot of discussion about what will define the [standalone] Star Wars Stories separate and apart from the saga films. So we’re right in the middle of talking about that.”
In they end they settled on a blend of the old and the new, having “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” presented on a starry sky, followed immediately by an eye-catching opening shot – skipping over where the crawl, episode number, and the title would usually be – before transitioning into the prologue scene at the Erso household. After that, the words Rogue One were shown on a starlit sky, similar to but distinct from the usual crawling title. This is where they settled on the “how to start the film, acknowledge Star Wars history, and seem different at the same time” debate.
Interestingly, Lucasfilm did develop a new version of the A New Hope crawl that pauses on the text pertaining to Rogue One, glitches, freezes, and cuts frantically between the text and an image of the Death Star before throwing up the Rogue One title. This was shown at a Star Wars Celebration event in June. It’s unclear if it was ever intended for the movie itself, though.
Where does Rogue One fit in the timeline?
Immediately before A New Hope. Without knowing the exact space-calendar dates, it’s impossible to say how much time passes between Leia and company jumping to hyperspace (in the final scene of Rogue One) and Vader catching up with them (in the opening scene of A New Hope) but I would assume not much. It could be a matter of minutes.
Who is Saw Gerrera?
In the early scenes of Rogue One, Saw Gerrera is mentioned about as much as Luke Skywalker is while everyone’s looking for him in The Force Awakens. The difference being that the average cinemagoer won’t recognize the name this time around. Fans of The Clone Wars TV show will, though: before Saw Gerrera was played by Forest Whitaker in Rogue One, he was voiced by Andrew Kishino in four episodes of The Clone Wars season 5.
Back then, between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, Saw lived on Onderon with his sister. The planet was taken over by the Trade Federation, and the Gerrera siblings began staging a guerrilla resistance with their friends. The Republic and the Jedi Council secretly sent Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, and Ahsoka Tano to train them in the best methods of droid-destruction. It’s a cruel twist of fate that Saw ended up with robot legs (for unknown reasons) – he used to fight machines, now he practically is one. Remind you of anyone?
Why did Saw Gerrara give up?
In one of many surprising death scenes in Rogue One, Saw voluntarily stayed behind to die while his base on Jedha crumbled under the might of the Death Star’s attack. It’s not clear exactly why he decided that this was the right time to stop fighting. Perhaps, with his breathing problems and artificial legs causing him trouble, and with decades of battling behind him, he’d simply had enough. Or maybe Forest Whitaker had another film to shoot. Your guess is as good as ours on this one.
What’s the history between Galen Erso and Director Krennic?
Ah, the answer to this one’s in a book. Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel by James Luceno charts the not-very-amicable working relationship between Galen Erso and Director Krennic, starting all the way back in the Clone Wars era, when both the Republic and Separatists were working on moon-sized battle stations. Galen was a scientist who worked with his wife Lyra while trying to avoid getting involved in the conflict.
Krennic was a friend of Galen’s from university who worked for the Republic and wanted to recruit Galen to his battle station project. Eventually, the Republic became the Empire, as you know, with the pressure mounting for Galen to weaponize their in-development Death Star. We saw brief glimpses of the tension between Krennic and Galen during this time in Jyn’s flashback sequence. Eventually, Saw Gerrera helped the Ersos escape the Empire’s clutches and go into hiding on Lah’mu.
Where was such and such a scene from the trailer?
Various bits and pieces from the Rogue One trailers didn’t make into the finished film – Jyn running in the sand with the Death Star plans in hand, Krennick getting his cape wet on the beach, Saw saying, “what… will you… become?” and so on. We may well do an article examining all the missing scenes and moments when we get a minute.
But why are they not in the movie? Lucasfilm Story Group executive Pablo Hidalgo recently fielded this question on Twitter, responding by saying, “trailers are made before a movie is finished.” That’s the best answer we’ll get until someone wants to spill some beans regarding specific editing decisions.
Which bits were reshot?
“Our visual-effects shot count went from 600 to nearly 1,700, so suddenly we could do absolutely anything we wanted,” Gareth Edwards told LA Times while discussing the much-reported-upon reshoots and rejigs that went on behind the scenes after the initial shoot for Rogue One had finished. Failing a brutally honest DVD commentary or a tell-all interview, we’ll probably never know for sure which material was added at this refining stage of the moviemaking process.
My best guess, with that many effects shots involved, would be that they decided to add in the huge space battle and drop the handheld camera style for the film’s third act, which would involve shooting a lot of stuff again, as well as filming whole new scenes and undertaking lots of extra computer work. That is just pure speculation on my part, though, it must be said.
How did they raise Peter Cushing from the grave and de-age Carrie Fisher?
“It was a lot of blood, sweat and tears from Industrial Light and Magic,” Gareth Edwards explained to the Radio Times, chatting about Peter Cushing’s long-rumured beyond-the-grave return as Grand Moff Tarkin in Rogue One. Cushing’s CGI likeness was pasted over a real performance from living actor and Holby City star Guy Henry. “It was a massive thing for him, it was very gracious of him, because essentially he’s doing this big performance and getting zero credit for it,” Edwards told the RT. “He was gonna be totally replaced, and then had to keep it all secret. So, um, that was a big ask.”
Carrie Fisher’s one-word cameo as Princess Leia was probably slightly easier to pull off, since Fisher was around to deliver the line and provide a visual reference. From there, we imagine ILM utilized similar techniques to the de-aging used on Robert Downey Jnr. in Captain America: Civil War and Michael Douglas in Ant-Man. A lot of digital compositing is involved in that sort of thing.
Will the resurrection of Cushing mean we see loads of digital ghouls on screen in future?
Maybe. However, the response to Digi-Cushing seems to be mixed, with some people absolutely loving it while others find it very distracting. I think we’re still a fair distance away from dead actors – or rather, their likenesses – taking protagonist roles in movies. But I could be wrong.
What were the angry Mos Eisley people doing on Jedha?
Ponda Baba (above right) and Dr. Evazan (middle) were glimpsed very briefly on Jedha, bumping into Felicity Jones’ Jyn Erso and getting a bit angry about it, as they are wont to do. We don’t know exactly what they were doing on Jedha. Maybe they were sampling the local beverages, hiding from their death sentences, and/or having a bit of a jolly. They probably thought they were lucky to escape Jedha, until one of them got their hand chopped of a few days later.
Is the Death Star powered by lightsaber crystals?
Its weapons systems certainly are, but I don’t think the rest of it is. Rogue One revealed that the Empire have been mining for kyber crystals (normally used in lightsabers) on Jedha. The line about the strongest stars being made of kyber makes me wonder if The Force Awakens’ Starkiller base is drawing on a special sort of kyber sun, but that’s just an idle slice of speculation.
Is Darth Vader’s castle on Mustafar?
Yes! Lucasfilm’s Pablo Hidalgo has confirmed on Twitter that Darth Vader’s castle (which, by the way, was inspired by some unused Ralph McQuarrie concept art from the Original Trilogy) is positioned on Mustafar, the volcanic planet where Obi-Wan chopped Anakin to bits and left him to nearly die in Revenge of the Sith. He’s obviously got an attachment to the place. Also, the fact that Vader has a base here adds new meaning to a line in Star Wars Rebels where Mustafar is described as “where Jedi go to die.”
What was Darth Vader doing in that tank?
The tank that Vader was hanging in, suit-free, before being disturbed could is a bacta tank – the same sort of healing apparatus that Luke Skywalker is nursed back to health in after his scrape with the wampa in The Empire Strikes Back. Maybe Vader’s manifold wounds and dismemberments accrued over the years require him to visit such a tank regularly. Or maybe it’s just a snazzy space bath. Everyone likes a good soak after a tough day.
Why does Bail Organa look younger than Obi-Wan?
I honestly hadn’t even thought of this question, but the answer is so great that I had to include it. A fan asked Lucasfilm’s Pablo Hidalgo on Twitter why – after the 20-year gap between Revenge of the Sith and Rogue One/A New Hope – Bail Organa still looks like Jimmy Smits but Obi-Wan Kenobi has gone from a fit-as-a-fiddle Ewan McGregor to a somewhat-frail Alec Guinness.
Here’s Hidalgo’s Twitter response: “i suppose life in an Alderaan castle treats one better than the double-sunned sh*thole that is Tatooine.” That’s one definitive answer on this list, then.
Why didn’t any Bothans die?
Because that was the other Death Star. The line “many Bothans died to bring us this information” is from Return of the Jedi and refers to the mission to recover the second Death Star’s plan. Luckily, that one had a huge flaw in it as well.
Was that Admiral Ackbar in the space battle?
Nope. That was Admiral Raddus (played by Paul Kasey and Stephen Stanton), making his first appearance in the Star Wars franchise. He’s another member of the Mon Calamari race, who’s risen to the same rank as the legendary Ackbar. If you’re wondering why Raddus is blue and Ackbar is red, StarWars.com tells us it’s because Raddus heralds from “the colder polar extremes [of the planet Mon Cala]. Ackbar and the other ones we’ve seen so far are more tropical (and colorful).”
Will there be a sequel to Rogue One?
The Star Wars Story movies “are not being designed to necessarily build new franchises” and will “very definitely have a beginning, middle, and end,” Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told Slashfilm last year. On top of that, Gareth Edwards strongly implied to Empire (in issue 331, final paragraph of the big Rogue One preview) that the only sequel to Rogue One will be A New Hope. The fact that all the main characters in Rogue One die confirms that – there will be no sequel to Rogue One. How could there be?
However, John Knoll – the visual effects artist who conceived the concept for Rogue One – did teasingly tell Empire (in the same issue, one paragraph up), “I have thought of something we could do ff there was interest in doing another one in the same vein. But nothing I’m ready to talk about.” If we hear more about that, you’ll be the first to know.
Will we see any of the main characters again?
Perhaps John Knoll’s secret idea mentioned in the previous section is a spin-off explaining the origins of one of Rogue One’s characters – I’d certainly pay to see the earlier adventures of Donnie Yen’s Chirrut Imwe and Jiang Wen’s Baze Malbus – or perhaps it will be something entirely different.
We’ll only know for sure on eway or the other if/when Lucasfilm announces something. Failing a big screen return, though, there’s every chance we could see characters from Rogue One in books, comics, and even Star Wars Rebels episodes set before their fateful mission to retrieve the Death Star plans. There’s no chance that any of them survived to tell the tale after that mission, though.
Of course, Digi-Tarkin, Digi-Leia, Mon Mothma actress Genevieve O’Reilly, and new the Darth Vader physical performers Spencer Wilding and Daniel Naprous are still knocking around if they’re needed for any further Star Wars Story movies.
Where were the rebels from Star Wars Rebels?
There were nods towards Star Wars Rebels in Rogue One: a spaceship that looked just like the Ghost could be seen in the final space battle, and rumor has it that the droid Chopper was spotted on Yavin IV and an announcement for General Syndulla could be heard at the same location, implying that the Ghost’s pilot Hera Syndulla has been promoted. (I’ll have to pay double attention at my next viewing to confirm those last two, though.)
But why no live-action versions of Rebels’ core cast? Well, it’s probably because the majority of cinemagoers wouldn’t know who they are. And also, it would spoil the ending of Star Wars Rebels if we knew who’s still alive during the time period of Rogue One. After all, Rebels’ latest episode was set around two years before this movie. I’m sure whichever Ghost crewmembers are still around were lending a hand in the background. #Headcanon
What’s the next ‘Star Wars Story’?
The next Star Wars Story spinoff spectacular will be the as-yet-untitled Han Solo movie from 21 Jump Street and The LEGO Movie directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, which is set to star Alden Ehrenreich as the scuffy-lookin’ nerf-herder, Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian, and Emilia Clarke in a mystery role. It’s out on May 25, 2018. Before that, we’ll head back to the main saga for Star Wars Episode VIII on December 15, 2017.
The only other Star Wars Story movie we know about is the touted Boba Fett project, which had Josh Trank attached as director for a time. The Chronicle and Fantastic Four director left the movie ages ago, though, and hasn’t been replaced.
Where does Blue Milk come from?
Thank you, finally, for getting to the Big Question. Thanks to Rogue One, we now know that Blue Milk – Tatooine and Lothal’s favourite beverage – is also available on the isolated planet Lah’mu. According to the canonical info book Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know, this “rich blue milk” comes from female banthas, and can also be used to make ice cream, yogurt, and butter. If you prefer sparkling drinks, bantha-blood fizz is also a genuine thing in the canon. Yum!