Never before have the TV and film sides of Star Wars been so close. Since Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Star Wars Rebels both focus on the Rebel Alliance, the film finds ways to honor the TV series. Rogue One serves as a love letter to fans of the TV show, especially since the movie occurs less than two years after the show’s current time frame. Here are the major ways that Rebels invaded the scope of Rogue One.
The Rebellion might be built on hope, but you’ll lose all hope if you disregard this warning for major spoilers!
Although the planet Mustafar isn’t a location that’s exclusive to Star Wars Rebels, the TV series was the first to suggest that the Sith maintained a presence on the volcanic world. Mustafar is famous for being the site of Darth Vader‘s ill-fated duel with Obi-Wan Kenobi in Revenge of the Sith. Over a decade later, Rebels indicated that the Sith established facilities on Mustafar to execute Jedi survivors of Order 66.
Interestingly, Rogue One expands on the Sith’s connection to Mustafar. The film shows that Vader has erected a personal sanctum on Mustafar. The existence of Vader’s personal residence originates in the Expanded Universe. Yet, it’s beyond me why Vader would want to preserve any connection to the planet where he incurred his grievous injuries. Perhaps Vader needs that reminder of how much he’s lost. Whatever the case, his enduring connection to Mustafar is a detail that Rebels first hinted at.
General Hera Syndulla
After the Rebel Alliance’s council meets in Rogue One, the Great Temple of Massassi‘s technician team makes an intriguing summons. Listen closely and you’ll hear, “General Syndulla, please report to the briefing room” over the comms system. Could this be Hera Syndulla, who currently serves as Phoenix Leader in Rebels? Series executive producer Dave Filoni has confirmed that “General Syndulla” indeed refers to Hera and not her father, Cham Syndulla.
So how does Hera eventually become a General of the Rebel Alliance? Depending on how far Star Wars Rebels progresses, the series will doubtlessly tell that story. It’s certainly cause for excitement among the show’s devoted fans.
Fans of the Rebels Recon series know that Chopper exists in real life as a fully functional droid. Before Chopper debuted on-screen on Star Wars Rebels, the R2-D2 Builders Club built a working model for him. And now, the working model has finally helped Chopper land a feature film role. The grumpy droid appears fleetingly in Rogue One as one of the astromechs on the Yavin 4 base’s flight deck. You really need to keep your eyes open for him. Otherwise, blink and you’ll miss him, like I did.
Since Hera Syndulla is Chopper’s owner, it follows that both of them would be at the Yavin 4 base at the same time. In any case, mark my words: When Rebels Recon returns in a few weeks, Chopper will finally have something to gloat about.
The key to the Rebel Alliance’s victory at the Battle of Scarif is a starship that debuted on Star Wars Rebels. In one of Rogue One‘s best moments, the Hammerhead corvette Lightmaker positions itself as a battering ram. Under the direction of Captain Kado Oquoné, the Lightmaker shoves an Imperial Star Destroyer into a second cruiser, destroying both ships and thus breaching Scarif’s shield gate. Thanks to the sacrifice of Oquoné’s crew, Jyn Erso is able to transmit the Death Star plans to the Rebel Fleet.
The Hammerhead Corvette first debuted in the Rebels episode “A Princess on Lothal,” in which Princess Leia Organa supplies three corvettes to Phoenix Squadron. The Rebels production crew designed the ships after a similar model from the Star Wars: The Old Republic MMORPG. Thus, the Hammerhead Corvette is a prime example of how both Rebels and Legends stories still influence the films.
Rogue One‘s most telling reference to Star Wars Rebels takes the form of a certain ship. During the battle over Scarif, eagle-eyed fans can spot a tiny VCX-100 light freighter amidst the Rebel Fleet. This past weekend, Lucasfilm creative executive Pablo Hidalgo generously confirmed fans’ suspicions. That freighter is indeed the Ghost!
The question is now who’s piloting the Ghost during Rogue One. Since both Hera Syndulla and Chopper are on Yavin 4, then they and the other Lothal rebels — if they’re still alive — might be involved in the Battle of Scarif. Still, we won’t know for sure until Rebels reaches the time frame of Rogue One.
Season three of Star Wars Rebels returns in just under a month. Jan 7, 2017 can’t come fast enough.