Last week, Entertainment Weekly unleashed a deluge of new information about Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the first standalone Star Wars film. Thanks to that, we now have a grand total of 12 named characters for the film, which opens December 16, 2016. All but one (that would be Darth Vader) are new. But we Star Wars fans, we’re never content. We want more!
Specifically, what we’d love to see is more familiar faces in Rogue One. So we considered some existing Star Wars characters, from throughout the canon (films, animated TV series, novels, comics), who could have a shot at appearing in the new film, and we’ve ranked them based on the percentage chance we believe they have of popping up.
Cross your fingers or sarlacc tentacles for the 15 Star Wars Characters We Hope To See In Rogue One.
15 MAZ KANATA – CHANCE SHE’LL APPEAR: 5%
Clearly, we think it’s extremely unlikely that we’ll see Maz Kanata in Rogue One, but we’d love it if we did. It would be fun to see some sort of tie-in to The Force Awakens, and Maz seems like one of the few new characters introduced in Episode VI who could appear in the first standalone film. Why? Simply because she was not only alive before A New Hope, but also likely looked very much as she did in The Force Awakens, because she’s more than a thousand years old. Most, if not all, other TFA characters were either not yet born or too young to have a role in Rogue One’s events.
The question is, what would her role be? It’s said that she ran her bar in a castle on Takodana for a thousand years, so what business would she have in the middle of those rebellion battles? What business would anyone involved have going out to her far-flung planet to have a drink? Not much business at all, is the answer.
14 AHSOKA TANO – CHANCE SHE’LL APPEAR: 10%
No, we don’t think it’s likely that former padawan Ahsoka Tano will appear in Rogue One, but it would be really cool if she did. After all, we’ve only ever seen her as an animated character on The Clone Wars and Rebels, so it would be cool to see a live-action version of her. And we already know that one previously animated-only character will appear in Rogue One: Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) from The Clone Wars.
The main reason we don’t expect to see her in the first Star Wars Anthology film is because we’ve been told this movie, unlike all seven of the others, will not rely heavily on Jedi and the Force to drive the plot and solve conflicts. That being said, Ahsoka did leave the Jedi Order before she could be promoted to Jedi Knight, so she’s not officially a Jedi, although she is a Force user. Also, Darth Vader will have an on-screen presence in the movie, so that means Force users won’t be completely absent, leaving a sliver of hope for the likes of Ms. Tano. If at any point anyone mentions Fulcrum in the movie, that’s her codename, post-padawan.
13 BOBA FETT – CHANCE HE’LL APPEAR: 15%
Who doesn’t want to see more Boba Fett? Everybody’s favorite bounty hunter, he was introduced in the Star Wars Holiday Special before he featured in The Empire Strikes Back. But, as cool as he looked, with his imposing mask, armor and jetpack, he got precious little screen time and was ultimately unceremoniously dumped into the sarlacc early in Return of the Jedi.
Fans would love to see more of him and there have been rumblings that the third Anthology movie will be a Boba Fett story. But why not give fans a sneak peak at an earlier Boba in Rogue One? It doesn’t seem all that likely, but what if we saw him briefly in cahoots with the good guys for a change? He’s a bounty hunter, so he’ll work for the highest bidder. In other films, that bidder happened to be the bad guys. But maybe he could be someone the Rebels hire to help find someone with knowledge of the Death Star plans.
12 CALUAN EMATT – CHANCE HE’LL APPEAR: 15%
Like Maz Kanata, Caluan Ematt is another character we first saw on screen in The Force Awakens with a slim chance of appearing in Rogue One. A Major in the Resistance, you saw him in Episode VII during a strategy session at the Resistance base when they’re trying to figure out how to attack Starkiller Base, and he refers to it as “another Death Star.”
But where is he at the time of Rogue One? Of that, we can’t be sure. His earliest appearance in canon, in the junior novel Smuggler’s Run: A Han Solo and Chewbacca Adventure, places him in between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. But the fact that he bemoans there being another Death Star leads us to believe he was around the Rebellion for the first Death Star. He would’ve been most likely in his late 20s at that time and he’s known to be very loyal to Princess Leia, so it’s possible he was around during the caper to steal the Death Star plans.
11 CAPTAIN REX – CHANCE HE’LL APPEAR: 20%
Ah, good old CT-T567, otherwise known as the clone trooper Captain Rex. We saw in The Clone Wars movie and animated series that he was a great leader in the Grand Army of the Republic, serving alongside Anakin Skywalker. Toward the end of the Clone Wars, he removed his inhibitor chip just before Order 66 was called into play, so he was not forced to destroy the Jedi along with his fellow clones.
An older Rex has since popped up on the latest animated series, Rebels, along with a couple of other former clone troopers, Wolffe and Gregor. It wasn’t easy, because Rex insisted he was no longer a soldier, but eventually he was convinced by Kanan and Ezra to join the Rebellion. He joined them on important missions, even going undercover as a stormtrooper. All this is to say that Rex is a great and dedicated fighter for the Rebellion, so he’d be a valuable member of the team going in search of the Death Star plans in Rogue One. Plus, he’s never been seen in live action, so this is a great opportunity.
10 HAN SOLO – CHANCE HE’LL APPEAR: 25%
Now that Alden Ehrenreich has been cast to play Han Solo in the second Star Wars Anthology film, rumors have swirled that part of the reshoots planned involve wedging him into Rogue One. But is this realistic? First of all, does he fit into the storyline, such as we’ve been told? It follows a group of Rebel spies as they steal the plans for the Death Star. But before A New Hope, Han Solo was decidedly not a part of the Rebellion. He was far too busy being a suave smuggler and getting in trouble with Jabba the Hutt. So it wouldn’t seem he fits into the story, barring a cameo where characters accidentally and briefly run into him, which would seem forced.
The second issue is Ehrenreich’s age. He’s 26 as of this writing, but arguably looks younger. He certainly doesn’t look older. At the time of A New Hope, which takes place just after Rogue One, Han was 29, played by a rugged 35-year-old Harrison Ford. So, right there, there’s a nine year difference in the actors’ ages. Plus, although we don’t know anything about the story for the Han movie yet, we’d have to guess it would take place before A New Hope as well, meaning Ehrenreich was hired to play a young Han.
9 9. PRINCESS LEIA – CHANCE SHE’LL APPEAR: 30%
Having grown up with Bail Organa, a Rebel leader, as her adopted father, rebellion was a huge part of Princess Leia’s life from the very beginning on Alderaan. As young as age 16, she was helping out the Rebel forces and met up with rebels Kanan Jarrus and Ezra Bridger, who we know from the Rebels animated TV series. In A New Hope we first meet her aboard the Rebel ship Tantive IV, transporting the very plans we’ll see stolen in Rogue One, a mission she volunteered for, according to the book A New Hope: The Princess, the Scoundrel and the Farmboy.
Since she plays such a key role in the plans at the center of Rogue One, it would be nice to see her in some capacity in the movie. Of course, Carrie Fisher’s time for playing a young Leia has long since passed, and we’re not sure it would sit right with fans if they tabbed some sort of lookalike to play her. But maybe we could just see her from behind at the end of the movie, with her familiar white gown and hair buns, silently boarding Tantive IV with the plans.
8 DEPUTY DIRECTOR WULLF YULAREN – CHANCE HE’LL APPEAR: 40%
First of all, who? Wullf? In The Clone Wars animated TV series, Yularen was an admiral in the Galactic Republic. He served alongside the likes of Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi, commanding fleets during important missions, including helping to rescue Jedi Master Quinlan Vos from the clutches of Count Dooku, although unbeknownst to him, Vos had switched sides.
Speaking of switching sides, that’s exactly what Yularen eventually did, jumping ship from the Galactic Republic in favor of the Galactic Empire, eventually being promoted to Deputy Director status. It’s interesting to note that title, since “Director” isn’t one heard often in Star Wars, but the character who’s said to be the central villain of Rogue One is called Director Orson Krennic. Since Yularen was actually assigned to the Death Star, and seen but not heard in A New Hope (wearing a rare white Imperial uniform, like Krennic's), it wouldn’t be too surprising to see him as one of Krennic’s direct reports.
7 WEDGE ANTILLES – CHANCE HE’LL APPEAR: 50%
Wedge Antilles is a fan favorite for his minor role as an expert Rebel pilot and pal of Luke Skywalker, appearing in all three films in the original trilogy. In fact, he and Luke were the only survivors of Red Squadron following the destruction of the Death Star in A New Hope. While he doesn’t get a ton of screen time, it’s clear that he’s a trusted comrade of Luke’s.
According to the novel Aftermath, Wedge was recruited into the Rebel Alliance well before the events of A New Hope by Fulcrum, aka former Jedi padawan Ahsoka Tano. And Wedge was actually stationed at the Rebel base on Yavin 4, which appears in the trailer for Rogue One, when the Death Star plans were stolen. If he was there, there’s a solid chance he could pop up in the new movie. Though he was played by Denis Lawson in all three movies, he was also briefly played by another actor in an earlier scene in A New Hope, so it wouldn’t be too jarring to see yet another actor playing him in Rogue One.
6 CIENA REE – CHANCE SHE’LL APPEAR: 55%
Imperial soldier (and ultimately a Star Destroyer Captain) Ciena Ree has only made one appearance in Star Wars canon, in the 2015 novel Lost Stars, but it was a memorable one – and it lines her up pretty nicely to make some sort of appearance in Rogue One, should the filmmakers decide to include her.
She was a top student in the Royal Imperial Academy. Handed the rank of lieutenant right out of school, she wound up on the Star Destroyer Devastator. That would be Darth Vader’s ship and this was right around the time of Rogue One. The novel says she was aboard the Devastator when Princess Leia was captured at the beginning of A New Hope. So if she was aboard Vader’s Star Destroyer during the events of Rogue One, which is highly plausible, and Vader is going to be in Rogue One, then it’s entirely possible she could appear somewhere in the periphery of the action.
5 GRAND MOFF TARKIN – CHANCE HE’LL APPEAR: 70%
From very early on, there have been rumors that Grand Moff Tarkin would be involved in Rogue One somehow. We all remember Tarkin, right? The dude who commanded the Death Star in A New Hope, with the gaunt complexion and scary cheekbones, who just couldn’t wait to blow Alderaan to space dust? The Death Star was his baby, so it makes sense that he’d show up in a movie about stealing the Death Star plans. Of course, he went down with it when Luke Skywalker fired those proton torpedoes into a conveniently unprotected exhaust port.
Tarkin was played by the late Peter Cushing. And it’s the “late” thing that’s problematic. As we’ve said, this movie will take place just before the events of A New Hope, so Tarkin would have to look like the Tarkin we know, no younger and no different. So rumors have rumbled that, if he is included, it will be in a motion capture performance using CGI to make him look like Cushing. Sure, that technology has come a long way in recent years and we saw a bunch of it in The Force Awakens (Snoke and Maz Kanata), but using it to recreate a straight-up human, rather than an alien or beast, could come off as creepy if it’s not perfect.
4 ADMIRAL ACKBAR – CHANCE HE’LL APPEAR: 80%
Friendly and fish-faced, Gial Ackbar was an important member of Rebellion forces for six decades. Though we first saw him in Return of the Jedi, he was always around, from the time of the Clone Wars, all the way up to the Resistance’s battle against the First Order in The Force Awakens. Because of his high ranking, his species, Mon Calamari, actually supplied the Rebels with a fleet of star cruisers.
We know Ackbar’s whereabouts around the time of A New Hope’s Battle of Yavin, thanks to the canon comic Star Wars: Princess Leia, Part I. He was down on Yavin 4 in the Rebel base at the Massassi Temple seen in Episode IV, though Ackbar himself was not visible in the film. So it’s possible he was stationed on Yavin 4 during the time of Rogue One. And guess what? It certainly appears in the trailer that Jyn Erso is being escorted through the Yavin 4 base during the trailer for the new film.
3 BAIL ORGANA – CHANCE HE’LL APPEAR: 85%
Bail Organa was an important figure in the Rebellion against the Empire, and not just as Princess Leia’s adopted father. As the Viceroy and First Chairman of Alderaan, he helped found the Rebel Alliance. We saw him as an important leader in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, and he’s played significant roles in both animated series, The Clone Wars and Rebels. He continued to represent Alderaan at the Imperial Senate, even though he secretly plotted against the Empire.
As a key member of the rebellion, it makes sense that Organa would factor somewhere in the events of Rogue One, which occurs during a major turning point in the Rebels’ road to victory. Jimmy Smits played Organa in the prequels. Now 60, just enough time has passed since the filming of the prequels that he’s aged right alongside Organa, so the timing is perfect to get Smits and Organa back into Star Wars.
2 EMPEROR PALPATINE – CHANCE HE’LL APPEAR: 90%
As the evil leader of the Empire, and Sith Master to apprentice Darth Vader, Emperor Palpatine was absent from A New Hope, on the fringes of The Empire Strikes Back and loomed large over Return of the Jedi. And, of course, the events of the prequels were largely orchestrated by him. With that in mind, it only makes sense that Palpatine would also loom over Rogue One.
We have been told that new villain Director Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) will be accountable to Palpatine, and only to Palpatine. In other words, Vader will have no real power over Krennic – unless, of course Vader gets frustrated and pops him with a Force choke at some point, but that’s a different kind of power. But we do know that Palpatine will have a presence in Rogue One. We just don’t know if that presence will be felt merely as an off-screen puppet master, or if 71-year-old Ian McDiarmid will be back in the black robes. We did get a pretty strong hint in the trailer, when we see a black-robed figure from behind approaching a podium flanked by two crimson Imperial Guards – the Emperor’s guards, who go where he goes.
1 R2-D2 AND C-3PO – CHANCE THEY’LL APPEAR: 95%
Everybody’s favorite droids, R2-D2 and C-3PO, have appeared in all seven Star Wars movies to date. So why break the streak just because we’re entering a new realm of Star Wars movies, with the stand-alone Anthology Series? It’s still Star Wars and we’re still following the same band of Rebels trying to take down the Empire, just different characters within that rebellion.
So what do we know about their whereabouts during the time that will be portrayed in Rogue One? We know from Revenge of the Sith that Anakin Skywalker abandoned his droids when he jumped to the dark side, and they were left to Bail Organa of Alderaan, Artoo with his memories intact, and Threepio with his memory wiped. Organa was a great leader of the Rebellion and was known to send his droids to help out on key missions. And we know that the first time we see the droids in A New Hope, they’re with Princess Leia aboard the Tantive IV, and Artoo is holding the Death Star plans that we’ll see being stolen in Rogue One.
So at the very least they’ll be in the vicinity of the action in Rogue One and it would actually make a lot of sense if the new movie ends – and it’s supposed to end just 10 minutes before the start of A New Hope – with the droids aboard Tantive IV, peacefully transporting the plans to the Rebels, unaware of the approaching Star Destroyer.
Can you think of any other characters who could make an appearance? Let us know in the comments!