The year wait between Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story seemed like a very long one for fans of the franchise, but they were rewarded quite nicely. By most accounts, Rogue One delivered on its promise and is currently crushing it at the box office. For die-hard Star Wars fans, the movie had quite a bit to offer in terms of Easter eggs and references to the greater Star Wars universe. In fact, there were a few big references to the animated series Star Wars Rebels, which firmly connects the show to the live-action universe. Executive Producer Dave Filoni recently shed some light on those references in the movie.
Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Dave Filoni talked about what Star Wars Rebels stuff actually made it into the movie and how that may affect things moving forward. For one, fans of the show might have noticed that the Ghost, the ship prominently featured and used by the crew in the Disney XD series, showed up a couple of different times in the movie. Most notably, the Ghost can be seen with the Rebel fleet during the battle of Scarif, which means that the Star Wars Rebels gang was most definitely involved. Dave Filoni confirmed that this could have some fun implications on the show in the future. Here is what he had to say.
"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."
In addition to seeing the Ghost during the battle of Scarif, there is also a quick shot on the Rebel base on Yavin 4 in which the ship from Star Wars Rebels can be seen. The events in the show take place about five years before the events of Star Wars: Rogue One, and the show has more or less been moving at a rate of a year per season, so it would still be a little while before we see this possible retelling of the Scarif battle from the perspective of the Rebels crew. Those who don't watch the show shouldn't necessarily feel left out, though. Dave Filoni also pointed out that these references are only meant to add a layer of depth for those who do watch Star Wars Rebels and they certainly won't alienate those who don't.
"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."
One of those things Star Wars Rebels fans may or may not have noticed was the droid Chopper. It really was an extremely quick "blink and you'll miss it" kind of moment. It happened when the Rebel communications officer alerted Mon Mothma about the Scarif mission. During that scene, Chopper could be seen very briefly off to the left of the shot. It turns out Dave Filoni was actually there when that scene was shot.
"I was actually on set when they filmed that scene with him in the hangar. Everybody working on set knew Chopper, and referred to him the way you would about a dog. They all liked him, they think he's funny, but they know he's grumpy."
Chopper was most definitely something fun for Star Wars Rebels fans to see, but there was another, perhaps much more significant reference that showed up in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. At one point at the Rebel base on Yavin 4, a "General Syndulla" is paged on the intercom. Many fans of the show have assumed this was referring to Hera Syndulla, the captain of the Ghost. There was also the possibility that it was her dad, Cham Syndulla, also a general in the Rebel Alliance. Dave Filoni confirmed that is absolutely mean to refer to Hera and that means there are big things on the horizon for her character. Here is what he had to say about it.
"I can clarify that's absolutely Hera being paged, not her dad. The movie gives that away, but I would rather have all the [references] be right. Hera will eventually become a general in the Rebel Alliance."
Disney and Lucasfilm have an entire team of people dedicated to keeping the new Star Wars canon in order and that is no small task. So having these references to Star Wars Rebels and tying the worlds from the animated show into the live-action movies in this way is pretty cool for fans and leaves a lot of opportunity to explore some of these things in the future, both in movies and on the show. It was announced just yesterday that Forest Whitaker will return to reprise his role as Saw Gerrera in the back half of Star Wars Rebels Season 3, giving fans even more connective tissue to these merging worlds. In case you missed some of these references and Easter eggs on your first watch, be sure to keep an eye (and ear) out on your next viewing of Star Wars: Rogue One.