darth vader rogue one

Darth Vader

Another one of the more obvious returns in this film, but I have some trivia to relay about this one.

While James Earl Jones returned to voice Darth Vader, original on-screen actor David Prowse did not return. In the film, Vader is played on screen by two people, Daniel Naprous (a stuntman and horse master on the Harry Potter films) and Spencer Wilding (a stuntman who played one of the League of Shadows Warriors in Batman Begins). I’m assuming one of them worked on the principal photography; he was unavailable for the reshoots (Naprous’ resume says he was busy on Kingsman: The Golden Circle during the time Disney was conducting the reshoots).

black saber

Black Saber

While Jyn and Cassian search for the hard drive containing the Death Star plans, they go through a bunch of file names including Black Saber.

“Darksaber” was a sleeker a lightsaber-esque hand-to-hand weapon favored by the Mandalorians in both Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. The Darksaber was an ancient lightsaber created by the Jedi Order, that was stolen by Clan Vizla of the Mandalorians and passed down through generations of warriors. The last known Mandalorian to own the blade was Pre Vizsla, the leader of Death Watch during the Clone Wars.

The weapon resurfaced recently in Star Wars canon in Star Wars Rebels where Sabine Wren, a member of the early rebellion and a descendant of House Vizsla, acquired the weapon on Dathomir. It seems evident we will learn more about the Black Saber in the coming years. Why did the Empire have a file on the black saber?

Ord Mantell

Ord Mantell

The list of file names in the Imperial library also included Ord Mantell and Pax Aurora.

Ord Mantell was a planet Han Solo references in The Empire Strikes Back as a world where he “ran into” a bounty hunter. The planet is located in the Bright Jewel system of the galaxy’s Mid Rim that was the homeworld of the Mantellian Savrip species. Wookieepedia tells us that “in the waning days of the Galactic Republic, Ord Mantell City housed a base of operations for the Black Sun crime syndicate” before it “came under control of the Galactic Empire and became home to an Imperial deepdock.” So this may explain why the planet is listed in the Empire’s file library.

With the destruction of Imperial base on Scarif, most of the data for these secret projects was probably lost forever. Still, it’s interesting to think that the Empire had all sorts of other plans that weren’t the Death Star. What other terrible ways are there to rule the galaxy?

rogue one data room

Stellarsphere, War-Mantle, Cluster-Prism, and Pax Aurora

There are other files listed, here is an excerpt from the Rogue One novelization:

She spoke sternly, demanding Cassian’s attention as she read from the screen. “Project code names: Stellarsphere. Mark Omega. Pax Aurora…” Were all of them weapons like the Death Star, designed for terror and genocide? Had her father known about the others? She couldn’t afford to think about it — there were too many horrors down that road. “War-Mantle. Cluster-Prism. Black-Saber.”

The prequel novel Catalyst implies that a few of them are actually subcomponents of the Death Star itself:

The Imperial Energy Division was new, but it, too, operated under the umbrella of Project Celestial Power. In fact, each separate department of the battle station project had its own cover name and cover agency, and Galen wasn’t alone in working for a counterfeit division and having his research put to alternative uses. Scattered across the galaxy were teams of scientists working on conventional weaponry, tractor beam and hyperdrive technology, even hull cladding systems. Each project was concealed behind names like Stellar Sphere, Mark Omega, and Pax Aurora. But all those paled in comparison with research on the superlaser.

 

oola

Twi’Lek Slave Dancer

One of the things we see in Saw Gerrera’s hideout is a hologram of a Twi’lek slave dancer. While this isn’t Oola from Return of the Jedi, it is a tribute to this moment.

princess leia

Princess Leia

Another obvious cameo: Princess Leia has an appearance in the final scene of the movie. Norwegian actress Ingvild Deila is the body double for Princess Leia in the film, while her face was computer generated to recapture the look of Carrie Fisher‘s character from A New Hope. Deila played World Hub Tech in Avengers: Age of Ultron.

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Rian Johnson and Ram Bergman

Director Rian Johnson was in London prepping Star Wars Episode 8 while Rogue One was shooting, and when he visited set, they gave him a chance to have a cameo in the film. Johnson and producer Ram Bergman play the laser operators on the Death Star. Rian repaid the favor by giving Rogue One director Gareth Edwards a cameo in the eighth installment of the Skywalker saga.

General Dodonna

General Dodonna

General Dodonna was re-cast in this film, played by Ian McElhinney. In A New Hope, British actor Alex McCrindle played the general, who formulated the plan that led to the successful Battle of Yavin and the destruction of the Death Star. It’s interesting that they chose to recast this role (as the original actor died in 1990) rather than do the CG face replacement that was done on Leia and Tarkin.

mon mothma in rogue one

Mon Mothma

Another returning character is Mon Mothma, a politician in the Galactic Senate and leader in the rebel alliance to restore the resistance. Irish actress Genevieve O’Reilly reprised her role from Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. The character was played by English actress Caroline Blakiston in Return of the Jedi.

The Ghost in Rogue One

The Ghost

It’s a shame that the characters in Star Wars Rebels don’t have a bigger role in Rogue One. You can see their ship, The Ghost, in the final battle above Scarif (that image is in the header of page one of this piece). Rogue One‘s visual effects supervisor (and story creator) John Knoll initially pitched that the crew of the Ghost should be present for this decisive battle. The ship can also be seen, if you have eagle eyes, on a launch pad at the Rebels base on Yavin IV (see the image above).

I wonder if the series finale of Star Wars Rebels will connect with this in some way? Will the final moments of the series see the Ghost crew get a call to Scarif? Or perhaps their role in this battle will play out in the television show as part of their series conclusion. Filoni tells EW that Rogue One’s action may someday be retold from his characters’ perspective on a future season of Rebels: “I already have some theories about the story behind it. I can imagine doing that entire [Scarif] battle from their point of view, whoever is on the Ghost at that point.”

24 Legacy Cast

Bail Organa

And yet another returning character is Bail Organa, Senator of Alderaan and the adopted father of Leia. He was married to Queen Breha Organa of Alderaan which is why Leia is a “Princess.” Adrian Dunbar originally played the character in scenes shot for Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, but they didn’t make the final cut of the movie. Jimmy Smits, who took over the role in Episodes II and III, reprises his role in Rogue One. The character has also been voiced by Phil LeMarr in eight episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and two episodes of Star Wars Rebels.

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