Rogue One: A Star Wars Story contains several small details that may provide further insight into the events of Star Wars: Episode VI - Return Of The Jedi. As the concluding chapter to the original Star Wars trilogy, Return Of The Jedi chronicles an almighty final battle between the Empire and the Rebels and (spoiler alert) the good guys ultimately win the day. As the heroes celebrate into the night with their furry Ewok pals and a group of translucent old men, the audience are invited to join in the fun, as the original saga bows out on the happiest of notes.
This was very much not the case in Rogue One. The first Star Wars movie to take place outside of the main series, Rogue One was as unique and daring as its title suggests, particularly when it comes to the film's final moments, which saw each member of the main protagonist group die in pursuit of their mission to obtain the Death Star plans. Despite its troubled production, Rogue One was widely praised upon release and commended for adding depth and background to the original Star Wars story.
However, those contributions may be even more detailed than it appeared at first glance. In Return Of The Jedi, Admiral Ackbar leads a fleet of Rebel ships into battle against the Empire, but has already sent a small ground team onto Endor to take out the planet's shield generator, thus rendering the Empire defenseless against the space fleet's assault. It's a solid plan, and with Luke Skywalker taking down the Emperor himself at the same time, a fatal blow is dealt to the evil regime - for thirty years at least.
This plan is mirrored in Rogue One's Battle of Scarif. Here, the ill-fated ragtag bunch of Rebels embark on an unauthorized mission to infiltrate Scarif and steal the Death Star plans, and when the higher-ups at Rebel HQ learn of this, they eventually send out their ships to act as backup. Upon arrival, the fleet find that they must destroy the planet's Shield Gate in order for the ground team to transmit the coveted plans they had given their lives to procure.
Perhaps these similarities could be seen as little more than tactical consistency on behalf of the Rebels or, more cynically, a lack of originality from the writers. But further details suggest that these two strategies were similar by design and actually hint at a deeper story within the Star Wars universe. In Rogue One, the Rebel fleet supporting Jyn Erso's team in the Battle of Scarif is led by Admiral Raddus, a Mon Calamari member of the Rebel Alliance. Later in the timeline at the Battle of Endor, the fleet is headed by Admiral Ackbar, another member of the Mon Calamari species. It's also worth noting that in The Last Jedi, Ackbar is the commander of a ship called the Raddus.
This serves to imply that Ackbar was greatly inspired by his fellow Mon Calamari comrade and this detail makes the similarities in their battle tactics seem like far less of a coincidence. Perhaps it's only natural that when faced with a mission that required the destruction of a shield to accomplish, Ackbar immediately thought of Raddus. Whether Ackbar intentionally modeled his Battle of Endor strategy on Raddus' approach in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will likely never be confirmed on the big screen, but the consistencies between the two certainly add a deeper layer of context and history to the Star Wars universe.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019