Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was a much better movie than most of us expected. To cynics, the announcement of the movie seemed like a confirmation that Disney was out for a cash grab—looking to create more Star Wars movies every year than even the most hardcore fans could want. And those hardcore fans were holding their breath, too, as this movie was designed to explore the retrieval of the Death Star plans, which is a vital part of Star Wars mythology.
Throw in the allegedly-extensive reshoots, and it looked like Rogue One was going to be a hot mess. When the movie debuted, though, all of our fears were put aside: Disney gave us gritty and compelling new characters to flesh out this universe, and they made the tale of retrieving the Death Star plans more epic than we could have hoped for.
There was just so much to see in the movie for longtime fans. This included cameos from beloved droids, amazing costume design that brought the '70s aesthetic to life, and the most terrifying version of Darth Vader yet. However, there were also some amazing Easter eggs that are very easy to miss and utterly change how you view the film.
Here are 15 Things You Completely Missed in Rogue One!
15 Blue Milk
One of the interesting things about Star Wars: A New Hope is the relaxed pace of the movie's first half. We get a chance to learn about Luke as a young farmboy before he begins his hero's journey. That means seeing his drink of choice: blue milk provided by Aunt Beru. As it turns out, he and Jyn Erso have similar taste!
When we see the flashback of Jyn as a young girl living with her mother and father, we get a brief glimpse of their humble home. In a “blink and you miss it” moment, you can clearly see some blue milk in the kitchen! As hardcore fans will surely note, this is not likely to be the exact same as Luke's milk, though, which supposedly comes from the banthas on Tattooine. Like Luke, Jyn grows up to be an awesome hero for the Rebel Alliance...and one who knows that blue milk is an important part of your daily breakfast!
14 Guardians of the Whills
An awesome Easter egg for longtime Star Wars fans centers around two fan-favorite heroes: Chirrut Imwe and Baza Malbus. Before they were rebels, they were panhandlers, and before that, they were “Guardians of the Whills,” and their job was to guard the Kyber crystals. This, however, was just the beginning.
The Whills go back to the earliest drafts of Star Wars. George Lucas wanted Star Wars to be a chronicle recorded by a magical and immortal being known as a Whill; later, he turned the idea of such mystical beings into the idea of The Force and Jedi.
The Whills kept popping up, though: the “Journal of the Whills” is mentioned in the novelization of A New Hope, and the Revenge of the Sith novelization has Qui-Gonn learning blue Force ghost secrets from Whill teachings. Some have even speculated that The Last Jedi will show Rey or others encountering the mysterious Journal and its teachings!
13 Darth Vader loves Mustafar?
A weirdly consistent part of Star Wars is that most of its planets have only one theme. Tattooine is the “desert planet,” Hoth is the “ice planet,” and so on. Before Rogue One, our only real “lava planet” was Mustafar, the planet where Darth Vader turned into a crispy critter after losing his fight to Obi-Wan. When we glimpse another lava planet in Rogue One, many fans wondered if this was Mustafar.
The short answer is that yes, this was the same planet. Why the heck would Vader hang his helmet at the same planet where he almost died? Well, the Emperor wanted him to live there, and the Empire built a special castle (more on that soon) over a Sith cave. Like the cave on Dagobah, this place was full of evil energy, and living there let Darth Vader focus his Dark Side energy on his evil plans of galactic domination.
12 Saw Gerrera's Clone Wars Connection
While fans were happy to see new characters on the big screen, one character seemed rather mystifying. Forest Whitaker's Saw Gererra shows us a character that is more of a terrorist than he is a romantic rebel. However, we get very little of him before he is killed by the Empire - his long fight against them finally over. Why, though, was his story so short? Possibly because it started well before the movie.
Before he ever showed up on the big screen, Saw Gererra was a character on the Clone Wars cartoon. He fought for his home planet of Onderon during the Clone Wars, and he received training on how to fight from characters like Obi-Wan and Anakin. When his sister was killed in the fight, though, it began a spiral of Saw becoming more and more extreme, which is why we see him broken (literally and figuratively) in Rogue One.
11 Skywalkers In Bacta Tanks
Even though part of Rogue One's charm was the introduction of brand new characters like Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor, fans were happy to see familiar faces, too. This included bite-sized cameos from R2-D2 and C-3PO to meatier appearances from characters like Mon Mothma. However, no cameo made fans as excited as Darth Vader, who shows up midway through the film and again near the very end.
When we first see him, though, it's not the Vader that we expect. Instead, we see him outside his armor and floating in some kind of liquid. Was this Darth Vader's bathtime adventure? Actually, Vader is floating in bacta, the same substance that heals the injured Luke Skywalker in Empire Strikes Back.
It's a quiet Easter egg that actually reveals a lot about Darth Vader, showing that in-between all those times that he's an unstoppable warrior, he's just a frail and sad man trying to heal his broken body.
10 The Incorrect Death Star Plans
Obviously, the main plot MacGuffin in Rogue One is the secret Death Star plans. We saw the schematics for the battle station in A New Hope, and in a very brief scene in Rogue One, we can catch a glimpse of those schematics again. This is where eagle-eyed viewers may have noticed a very special treat.
When we see the plans in Rogue One, they are presented in the same vector graphics format as the original plans. That alone would have been a fun Easter egg: that 21st-century movie made with cutting edge technology painstakingly recreated a 1977 computer schematic.
However, the attention to detail went even further: if you look closely, this recreated schematic keeps the visual error from the first movie. This error placed the Death Star's firing area in the equator of the space station instead of the northern section. Welcome to Star Wars, where even silly errors are worth celebrating in the spirit of nostalgia!
9 Ghost Cameo
In the Star Wars Rebels TV show, the primary vehicle is The Ghost. It's a lot like the Millennium Falcon in the sense that it's a souped-up hunk of junk that carries our heroes all across the galaxy. Until this point, the only way for you to see the Ghost was to watch Rebels or visit your friendly neighborhood toy store. If you look closely, though, you can see the vessel in Rogue One!
Part of the climactic final act of Rogue One involved the Rebel Alliance carrying out their first large-scale attack against the Empire. This gives the movie's creators a chance to take out all of their toys and play with many classic Star Wars ships, including X-Wings, Y-Wings, and Star Destroyers.
In this fight, you can also see the Ghost proudly flying alongside the rest of the rebels. It's a really cool cameo that serves as a reminder of how closely these different Star Wars tales are linked.
8 The Darksaber
Sometimes, you get a “two for one” Easter egg. And that's the case with a simple throwaway line we get when Jyn and Cassian are trying to find the secret name of the Death Star plans. They see several names, and one of them is “Black Saber.” What could this possibly mean?
There are two different possibilities, both centering on the same name. “Black saber” sounds very similar to “Darksaber,” which was the name of an old Kevin J. Anderson Star Wars novel involving a Hutt recreating the Death Star super laser. “Darksaber” also refers to a weapon seen in Clone Wars and Rebels. This weapon was a black blade Jedi lightsaber stolen by Mandalorians and passed down as a kind of relic to descendants of House Vizsla.
It's possible the name similarities are a complete coincidence, but it's fun to think that the Empire has special plans for things like backup Death Stars and special Mandalorian weaponry.
7 The Concept Art Castle
The most striking part of Darth Vader's lava home is definitely his castle. It manages to evoke all of the qualities of its inhabitant: it is dark, brooding, and mysterious. Interestingly, it's also not original! The rough design for this castle was created a long, long time ago, in a 1970s far, far away.
Much of the design of the original trilogy was based on amazing concept art by Ralph McQuarrie. He also designed many cool things that never made it into the movies (stormtroopers with lightsabers and shields, anyone?), including a Darth Vader castle on a lava planet that he made for Empire Strikes Back. Obviously, this wasn't used in that movie, but the idea and design of Vader's castle has been used in various Star Wars comics and games over the years. Rogue One finally gave us the official look at a a castle fans had been waiting decades to see on the big screen!
6 Prequel Blasters
When you think about it, there's a whole lot of change in a short amount of time between prequels and the original trilogy. On paper, less than two decades go by, but in that time, the Empire switches from clone troops to human ones, and they completely redesign their armor and weaponry. Thanks to Rogue One, though, we see that these changes don't happen right away.
On the planet Scarif, we see a couple of Stormtroopers talking about the DC-15 blaster. This is the kind of blaster that the Clone Troopers used during the Clone Wars. In this scene, the troopers are discussing a rumor that these blasters will soon be phased out. This simple scene is meant to bridge the Original Trilogy and Prequel Trilogy and explain why the Stormtroopers are rocking different weaponry by the time they are shooting at Luke, Han, and Leia in A New Hope.
5 KOTOR Connection
It's safe to say that Knights of the Old Republic is the most beloved Star Wars video game of all time. It presented a new tale of Jedi and Sith set thousands of years before the original trilogy. When Disney wiped out the old continuity established by things like the Star Wars books and games, many fans were sad at the thought of losing Knights of the Old Republic from the official canon.
That was when Rogue One's creators decided to give us “a new hope” of their own. They did this by featuring one of the main ship designs from the original KOTOR game. Unlike the Ghost, this ship is not just a quick and obscure cameo: it is the “Hammerhead Corvette” that singlehandedly takes out a Star Destroyer!
With this KOTOR ship design made official once more, fans have crossed their fingers hoping for a Darth Revan appearance, even in flashback or Holocron format.
4 The Hera connection
The spiritual sequel to the Clone Wars cartoon is Star Wars Rebels. This follows a ragtag band of resistance fighters who eventually link up with the Rebel Alliance while barely surviving encounters with characters like Darth Vader and Grand Admiral Thrawn. As the series edged closer to the beginning of A New Hope, many fans began to question just how many of our heroes would make it out alive, considering that we never saw them in the Original Trilogy.
Thanks to a fun Rogue One Easter egg, though, we already know that Hera manages to survive. On Yavin IV, you can hear an intercom in the background requesting the presence of “General Syndulla.” This is Hera's last name, and it represents ironclad proof that she survives Rebels and continues in a leadership capacity with the Rebel Alliance. For fans of Rebels and fans of the character, this opens up some exciting possibilities about her future appearances.
3 Grisly Job Opening for Luke
Fans have had decades to nitpick the first Star Wars movie. And one of the things that many people can't let go of is how quickly Luke gets to fly an X-Wing in the most important mission of all time. Why do they trust this new guy so much? Is it just because Biggs recommends him?
In Rogue One, we get our answer to that question in the most direct way. The battle above Scarif features several familiar faces from the Death Star trench run (more on them soon), and they are flying under their familiar handles such as “Red Leader.” We also see the familiar handle “Red Five,” which was Luke Skywalker's handle. Obviously, Luke isn't with the Rebels at this point.
As for this poor pilot, we see him get killed in action during the fighting. Thus, the answer to how Luke got to be Red Five: the team had lost that pilot pretty recently and had no one to take his place until Luke showed up!
2 An Old Hope
Rogue One was pretty controversial in its different methods of bringing the past to life. For instance, the late Peter Cushing is effectively resurrected as Grand Moff Tarkin through the magic of CGI. Similar CGI magic brings a 1977 Carrie Fisher back in one of the final scenes of the movie. Because of these CGI tricks, it's easy to imagine that similar methods were used to resurrect Luke's old X-Wing pilot buddies.
As it turns out, they were brought back to life in a much simpler way. Rogue One director Gareth Edwards managed to get access to Disney's impressive archive of Star Wars footage. This included several bits of footage shot for A New Hope but never used, giving him access to new takes and even dialogue that happened to come from the very same actors. Because of this, these scenes represent the most organic homage to the original films.
1 Kyber Crystal Mythology
A recurring element in Rogue One is the Kyber crystal. We see that it has a kind of spiritual significance with relation to the Force: Jyn Erso wears a Kyber Crystal necklace, and the Guardians of the Whills helped protect the Kyber Crystals in Jedha city before the Empire started stripmining the Crystals to help power the Death Star laser.
As it turns out, this is only part of the Kyber Crystal story. The story goes back to the earliest Star Wars script drafts, in which “Kiber” Crystals could boost Force powers. In the Splinter of the Mind's Eye novel (which was written as the basis for a low-budget Star Wars sequel if the first movie flopped), a “Kaiburr” Crystal is an object Darth Vader seeks to make himself practically invincible.
Over the years, “Kyber” crystals became known primarily as the sources that power Jedi lightsabers. According to director Gareth Edwards, that is what makes Jedha City so important— its large amount of Kyber Crystals made it important to the Jedi, but then the Empire wiped out the Jedi and started taking the crystals for their own purposes.
Got a Rogue One Easter egg we overlooked? Be sure to head over to our comments!