One of the things I absolutely love is a large, sprawling story. That’s why I’m a huge fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and why I thought Lucasfilm’s plan to create live action Star Wars films framed outside of the main saga, including Rogue One, was such a great idea.
The key to balancing a universe is to put in enough connective tissue between all the properties, without them getting in the way. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story pulled it off phenomenally well with a bunch of Star Wars Rebels easter eggs that I picked up on immediately, but easily went over the heads of anyone who doesn’t watch the animated series.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Star Wars Rebels creator Dave Filoni says that these references were meant to add depth, while not to confusing the non-show watchers. Here’s what he said:
“None of the things we put in really jump out at you. If you don’t watch Rebels, there’s never a moment where you’re staring at the [movie] screen going, ‘Why was that important?’ For the people who do know, they get that added level of immersion.”
None of the animated characters made it on to the big screen, except for the droid C1-10P, also known as Chopper. Lucasfilm has released a still from the movie in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it shot of the droid rolling around Yavin IV. You can see him rolling around in the bottom-left-hand corner below:
The Ghost starship also makes a cameo appearance during the battle over Scarif, and considering the crew of the ship, it would make sense that they would head out to help the Rogue One team. Filoni confirmed that it is in fact the Ghost at the battle, and not just a ship that looks like it. He can even imagine a scenario where we get to see the battle from the animated heroes’ point of view. Here’s what he said:
“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.”
The series seems to be covering a year per season, and it started off five years before the battle of Yavin as depicted in A New Hope. If it continues at the current rate, we probably won’t see these events for another two years, at least.
There’s also the pesky question of what happens to the Ghost team by the time A New Hope happens, since it doesn’t appear that they were there to take on the Death Star, nor around for the battles of Hoth or Endor. It’s even possible that the battle of Scarif will be the series finale of Star Wars Rebels.