Rogue One: A Star Wars Story just can't seem to stay out of the news. Despite being the second Star Wars film in the past year, the movie is garnering buzz to rival its predecessor The Force Awakens. All that positive word of mouth has helped the film inch towards a $700 million global box office haul, with that number continuing to grow as the movie is only in its second week of release. On top of that, the film has yet to open in China, sure to push its worldwide total past $1 billion. All in all, the commercial and critical success has proven that Disney and Lucasfilm's gamble on the standalone story was a smart decision.
For a standalone film, however, Rogue One is packed full of connections to the rest of the Star Wars universe. There's almost more connections to A New Hope than one can count (though we tried valiantly), as the movie sets up a number of major plots and characters from the original film in the franchise. Then there's the multiple confirmed Easter eggs for the animated series Star Wars Rebels, now in its third season on Disney XD. The ship the crew use in the show was featured during the Battle of Scarif, and the pilot, Hera Syndulla, was paged over the intercom on Yavin 4. There was even a cameo by Chopper, the obnoxious droid from the series.
Thanks to ScreenCrush and Pablo Hidalgo's Star Wars: Rogue One: The Ultimate Visual Guide, there may be one more we can add to the list. The site reports that the book lists 'FULCRUM' as one of the aliases for Cassian Andor, stating the Rebel leader is a 'Recruitment agent in Albarrio sector.' Fans of the TV show no doubt recognize the alias as a code name used by a rotating roster of secret agents within the Rebel Alliance. The first Fulcrum was revealed to be Anakin Skywalker's padawan, Ahsoka Tano from Star Wars: The Clone Wars, while Rebels' Agent Kallus is a more recent example. Given the story group that oversees all things Star Wars, it's hard to believe this is a mere coincidence and not an outright reference to the series.
Assuming it counts as the fourth Rebels Easter egg, it's hardly surprising. The Lucasfilm story group has already proven their dedication to the idea of a fully shared universe with the inclusion of Saw Gerrera, as played by Forest Whitaker, in Rogue One. Saw first appeared as a character on the animated Clone Wars TV series before making the jump to the big screen. Further showcasing the character's importance, Whitaker will be reprising his role from the movie on Rebels when it returns next year, playing a slightly younger version of Saw.
Many fans were hoping to see some of the Ghost crew from Rebels in Rogue One, given the relatively close timeline of the two properties and their similar missions. Still, pulling a character from the previous animated series into the movie as a major character was a big deal. Kathleen Kennedy even revealed that Whitaker originally had a larger role in the film, highlighting Lucasfilm's commitment to the actor and character. For Rebels fans, the various Easter eggs will have to suffice for now, but hopefully the future will bring a live action version of one of the show's key characters. Until then, stay tuned for all the latest news about Rogue One and its ever-growing list of Easter eggs.
Star Wars Rebels season 3 will continue January 7th, 2017 on Disney XD.
- Star Wars: Rogue One / Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) release date: Dec 16, 2016
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018