After quite a long wait, Rogue One, the first of (presumeably) many Star Wars solo films (no pun intended) is here. It's very good, one of the best and you should go and see it right away.
Naturally this film contains an awful lot of references to other parts of the Star Wars universe. So many that you might miss some of them the first time around. To help you out, here are all the easter eggs we spotted
Be warned, this article is heavy on the spoilers. Don't start whining because you made the mistake of reading this before you saw the film.
The Cantina Thugs
Who can forget those poor fools who picked a fight on Luke in the Mos Eisley Cantina, only to come face to face with one of the last Jedi in the galaxy. Those same fools also appear in Rogue One, and seem ready to pick a fight with Jyn when she arrives at Jedha. Maybe this explains why they were so cranky on Tatooine? Narrowly escaping the wrath of the Death Star is bound to put a damper on anyone's week.
You may remember Dekarik as that holographic chess-like game that featured in A New Hope and The Force Awakens. It also makes an appearance in Rogue One, albeit in a slightly less hi-tech form. Saw Gerrera's rebels can be seen playing it in their Jedha hideout, though they're using physical models rather than holograms.
Saw Gerrera is a character that originally debuted in the Clone Wars TV series, fighting an underground rebellion against the Separatists who've occupied his home planet. In Rogue One he's played by Forrest Whitaker and fighting a similar battle. This time, however, he's switched to fighting against the Empire - who anyone with even the basic of Star Wars knowledge will know used to be the Republic and the Separatists' greatest enemy.
He also has a breathing aide that's gives off a few Vadery vibes, even though he doesn't need it all the time.
One of many cameos to feature in Rogue One, albeit one we saw coming. What we didn't expect, however, was how big a role Tarkin would play in the film. He's not on the same level as the Rogue One rebels or Director Krennic, but he plays a large part in the events of the film - more so than even Darth Vader. It's even more impressive when you realise Tarkin actor Peter Cushing died in 1994, and the CGI used to recreate him doesn't look completely fake.
The Exhaust Port
For decades people have mocked the Imperials for having such an obvious weakness in the original Death Star, even though the only way to gain access to it was firing a torpedo down a two-metre shaft at the end of a heavily guarded trench. Now we know the origin of that flaw, and it's not the bureaucratic nonsense that ended up being the case in the Legends canon. It turns the weakness was put there deliberately by Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen) in order to aid the rebellion. A lot of people assumed that was the case, and now we know for sure.
Half Life 2
A surprising little link in Rogue One, deliberate or not, are the similarities between Krennic's elite Deathtroopers and the Combine soldiers from Half Life 2. Aside from the fact they're both faceless soldiers who wear dark colours, the Deathtroopers also speak in the same way as the Combine: unintelligible noises that sound oddly like radio chatter. It could be a coincidence, but given the popularity of Half Life 2 and its subsequent sequels it's hard to believe that this wasn't intentional.
The Rebel Leaders
With such a heavy emphasis on the Rebel Alliance, it's hardly surprising that Rogue One features a number of the alliances elite members from across the Star Wars franchise. First up is Mon Mothma, who is played by Genevieve O'Reilly. O'Reilly didn't play Mothma in Return of the Jedi, the first appearance of her character, but she did play Mothma in Revenge of the Sith's deleted scenes.
Next up is Jimmy Smitts, who plays Leia's father Bail Organa - the character he also played in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.
Finally we have Jan Dodonna, though it's not clear who plays him since we didn't sit through the credits. He originally appeared in the briefing scene towards the end of A New Hope, played by Alex McRindle.
Star Wars history buffs will know that during pre-production on The Empire Strikes Back, George Lucas toyed with the idea and had legendary artist Ralph McQuarrie draw up some preliminary concept art (one example is above). The idea was eventually scrapped, and while it featured in the Legends canon, this is the first time it's appeared on screen.
We've spoken about this before, and this is a case of a Star Wars parody seemingly influencing future Star Wars films. A chunk of Rogue One's plot involves the rebels trying to destroy the planet-wide security shield around the planet Scarif (home to Imperial intelligence archives). This is basically the entire plot of Spaceballs, which features the villainous spaceballs trying to get through the shield surrounding the planet Druidia and steal their atmosphere.
I have a bad feeling about this
It happens in every Star Wars film, and it seems fitting that the cynical and free-spoken droid K-2SO should be the one to say it here. Unfortunately he gets cut off by his comrades, which has never happened in a Star Wars film.
As it turns out, Canary Wharf wasn't where the interior shots of the Death Star were filmed. We were duped, because those scene are actually the Imperial archives on Scarif.
While we don't get to see any of the Lothal rebels that feature in Star Wars: Rebels, we do get a very brief glimpse of a ship that looks an awful lot like the Ghost. While it's likely that there are several refit VCX-100 light freighters in the rebel fleet, it's nice to think that the team could be there helping out. Unfortunately this is a blink-and-you-missed it cameo, which we only spotted because it was in a trailer.
Edit: There's also a reference to a General Syndulla on the intercom on Yavin IV. A clear reference to Rebels' Hera.
As Jyn and Cassian are going through the Imperial archives looking for the Death Star plans, they briefly mention something called 'Black Sabre'. While this is probably just an Imperial code name, with no real relevance to the project itself, it could easily be a reference to the Darksaber, a black-bladed lightsaber that features in The Clone Wars. It was in the hands of Mandalorians for centuries, before winding up in the hands of Darth Maul. Advance footage has shown he kept hold of it until the era of Rebels, but we don't know what happens after that.
R2-D2 and C3PO
A nice cameo featuring Star Wars' two most recognisable droids, and obviously C-3PO has to complain about something to his short-statured companion.
The rebel frigate seen at the beginning of A New Hope (and the end of Revenge of the Sith) gets seen at the end of the film. While this isn't really an easter egg per se, it is a perfect link to the first film in the franchise. It's here that we see Princess Leia, portrayed by Carrie Fisher as she appeared 39 years ago. Presumably she was rejuvenated using the same effects used to bring Peter Cushing back on screen.
Obi Wan wasn't mentioned by name, but it's difficult to misinterpret things when Mon Mothma speaks to Bail Organa about the fate of the plans. Here we also get a reference to Obi Wan's exploits during the Clone Wars, with Bail stating that he'll be tasking someone he "trusts with his life" to seek his aid. That someone, naturally, is Leia. It's also clear that she was the one tasked with delivering the Death Star plans to Yavin IV from the get-go.
This is an odd easter egg, if you can call it that, because it's referring to something that isn't actually in the film. The Wilhelm Scream has been a staple sound effect in Hollywood for decades, and has featured in every Star Wars film to date. Except Rogue One, apparently. There were plenty of opportunities for a Wilhelm Scream, and plenty of other screams, but I didn't hear it a single time -and it's not exactly hard to miss.
The final battle
It's clear now that some archive footage from A New Hope was used during the space battle above Scarif. Red Leader and Gold Leader are two notable examples of this taking place, adding an extra layer of continuity thanks to two relatively minor characters. Red 5 is also seen being destroyed, leaving that spot open for Luke during the Death Star battle in the near future.
The Hammerhead corvette also appeared in Rebels, sent by Princess Leia and Alderaan to aid the Lothal cell. This is the first time they've been named, however.
Did you spot anything we missed? Make sure to let us know in the comments.