(Warning! This story has plenty of cameos and thus, quite a few SPOILERS! Read with caution!) The signature Star Wars cameo is becoming a cottage industry for this latest run of franchise installments. The Force Awakens had plenty, and Rogue One carries on the tradition. We're sure Han Solo will also have its fair share, and we definitely hope that green rabbit looking alien from the Marvel comics shows up, something we wouldn't put past the directors of 21 Jump Street and The Lego Movie. But while some of these cameos are quite obvious, others are harder to spot. And some show up in name only.
There are a few big cameos that we did not include on this list, because you'd have to be blind to miss them. And even then you'd recognize their voices. Mon Mothma and Darth Vader both, while having limited screen time, play key roles in what amounts to some pretty cool extended cameo sequences. Then you have the CGI Grand Moff Tarkin, who's video game visage is almost enough to pull you right out of the movie. Finally, we have the big three. The heavy hitters. Appearing towards, or at, the end of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story are the droid pair R2-D2 and C-3PO as well as a very CGI looking Princess Leia, which gives Carrie Fisher back her 19-year-old face. Some of these are fun, some of them feel shoehorned in. But it's the ones you really have to hunt for that truly make us smile. And there are plenty to go around.
We're sure some of these were missed. In fact, we're positive that is the case. And as more and more fans go back for a third and fourth viewing, new cameos will be spotted and shared across the Internet. But for now, we've collected 19 of the most prominent ones. Some are definitely harder to spot than others. And some you'll need a remote to pause when this solo adventure comes home to Blu-ray and VOD to truly get a good look at.
Perhaps most interesting is that the Star Wars cameos span quite a few different movies, and even some of the TV shows. Saw Gerrera is perhaps the biggest connection to one of the animated series. The Forest Whittaker character first showed up as a much younger man in Star Wars Clone Wars, and the years have not been kind to him here. But there are also a number of hidden references and Easter eggs for the currently airing Star Wars Rebels. Again, some of these are a little harder to spot than others.
While Rogue One takes place just hours before the events that kick off A New Hope, it's not the only original trilogy installment that gets a nod. And the prequels all contribute to little touches here and there. Perhaps the least sourced movie is Empire Strikes Back, with some character moments more heavily reflecting Return of the Jedi. There are plenty of Revenge of the Sith sights to behold if you know where to look. We first begin with all the cool things that were brought back from the one that started it all, 1977's Star Wars, later retitled Episode IV: A New Hope during one of the movie's many re-releases to help connect it to Empire Strikes Back, and create a true trilogy. We also begin with a man who shows up in the earliest moments of A New Hope, only to meet his fate fairly quickly.
Captain Antilles is an important dude. And in a different movie, he could have been the lead. He's held down a healthy life in the ancillary canon, appearing in a number of novels. Reymus Antilles is a big part of the Star Wars myth, though he only had a few precious moments of screen time in A New Hope. He is Darth Vader's first on-screen kill in the 1977 original, though we admit, he got off easy considering some of the cruel actions Vader takes at the end of Rogue One. Antilles is the captain of the Tantive IV, and gets strangled by Darth when he refuses to give up the plans to the Death Star, claiming his ship has intercepted no transmissions. He was previously seen at the end of Revenge of the Sith, where he takes temporary ownership of C-3PO and R2-D2. Though not a key player in Rogue One, he gets two crucial scenes. The first when Bail Organa leaves Yavin IV for Alderann. Bail commands the captain to 'get ready'. We see Reymus again at the end of the movie, when his crew of Rebels have escaped the wrath of Darth Vader, and he's able too give Vader's daughter, Princess Leia, the Death Star plans.
Walrus Man and Dr. Evazan
Interestingly enough, we're at a point where some kids have never seen A New Hope. Blasphemous, I know. But they will have no idea or point of reference for Ponda Babba, who was originally named Walrus Man by Kenner when the Star Wars action figures launched, because he didn't yet have a proper name, and Dr. Evazan, who never even got an action figure during the original run of the toy line. The two are spotted on the Jedi holy planet of Jedha, where they literally bump into Jyn and Cassian. The good doctor even gets to spout his trademark line. Somehow, this pair managed to escape all the death and destruction that happens on Jedha shortly before their run in with Luke and Old Ben at the Mos Eisley Cantina. This is one of the more unexpected cameos. But fun none the less.
The next big batch of cameos are all part of the Rebel raid on Scarif that happens during the third act of the movie. And perhaps the return of Wedge Antilles is most interesting. While this hasn't really been explored in the current Star Wars canon, it is believed that Antilles is a name that is as common as Smith or Jones, and that Wedge and Raymus Antilles are not related. We get no further evidence of them being family here. Where this cameo is a little different, the actor that actually appeared in the flesh as Wedge is not in the movie. Instead we hear David Ankrum, who voiced Wedge in A New Hope. Dennis Lawson played Wedge in the 1977 original. But his voice was dubbed over, because he couldn't perfect his American accent in time for the shoot. Ankrum was brought into the sound mix, because they didn't want Wedge sounding British. While Ankrum is not credited for his work here, there are reports that he returned to record voice overs as Rogue Two, aka Wedge. Though Dennis Lawson didn't return alongside the other classic actors in Star Wars: The Force Awakens to reprise his role as a much older Wedge, the character lives on in Rogue One. And it's possible that he'll pop up again at some point.
Red and Gold Leader
This ode to the original classic is a little more obvious. And if you don't know who Red and Gold Leader are, you only need certain members in the audience to tell you with their oohs and ahas as these two are brought back to the big screen flying their X-WIngs during the big raid on Scarif. And though they are nearly forty years older than when they first appeared in A New Hope, the actors that play Red Leader (of the X-Wing squad) and Gold Leader (of the Y-Wing squad), did return thanks to the help of some advanced CGI techniques. The same kind that helped bring Princess Leia back to her pristine youth. The voice of Drewe Henley (who died this past year) and Angus MacInnes are used to recreate these roles. What's unclear is just how much they contributed in these scenes. If they were present. Or if these are all-CGI characters. They are a little easier on the eyes than Leia and Tarkin because they are obscured by helmets.
Original Red 5
That brings us to Red 5. In A New Hope, Luke Skywalker has taken on the call sign of Red 5. And we see here why that position is open, answering one of the many lingering questions fans have had over the years. Namely who was Red 5 before Luke? And what happened to 'that guy'? The unlucky SOB. The original Red 5 gets gunned down in Rogue One during the battle of Scarif. What isn't answered is where did they find that spare X-Wing fighter for Luke when he arrived with Han, Chewbacca, Leia and the droids on Yavin IV.
This cameo is not as obscure as some of the others. But for the lay fan, they probably do not even know the name General Dodonna. He is a key piece of the Alliance's brass. Strutting around in a white beard, this Rebel commander is the one who briefs the pilots on their Death Star raid. And he gives Han and Luke their medals at the end of A New Hope. He gets less to do here. In Rogue One, he is seen in a few of the all encompassing group shots, but he doesn't play a significant role in this prequel. He does sticks around long enough to see the arrival of the Millennium Falcon on Yavin IV in the next movie.
RA-7 is another character that was first named by Kenner as part of their second wave of Kenner action figures. At the time he was called the Death Star Droid. Now he has a different name, given to him much later on in the series run. RA-7 is instantly recognizable, though the guy has never gotten much screen time. He has bug-like eyes and a silver body that is very reminiscent of C-3PO. He is the first droid seen in the Sandcrawler that absconds with R2-D2, and serves as background set dressing when C-3PO and R2-D2 have their big reunion in the desert after being separated for a few hours. The droid actually appears twice in Rogue One. The shiny metal humanoid is first seen walking past Jyn and Cassian on Jedha. And another version of the droid is later seen on Scarif. In the movies, this droid has never actually been seen on the Death Star, in either a New Hope or Return of the Jedi.
Another iconic droid that pops up in Rogue One is the mouse droid, who is actually seen on the Death Star. This little guy gets a big roar from Chewbacca in the original movie, turning tail in one of that film's cuter sequences. Here in Rogue One, he's just part of the background chatter, and easy to miss. This time out, we see the mouse droids squeaking around the Stormtroopers on Scarif.
Imperial Probe Droid
The Imperial Probe Droid was a thing of wonder when it first appeared on screen in Empire Strikes Back. Primarily because it was one of the first new things fans saw as that movie kicked off on the snowy planet of Hoth. But this droid is also capable of handling warmer weather. In a blink and you'll miss it appearance, the Imperial Probe Droid is seen in the background of Jedha as Cassian and Jyn walk the city streets. This is one of the few callbacks to Empire seen in the movie, aside from the giant AT-ACT's that overpower the third act. They are a close cousin to the AT-ATs seen in the beginning of the first ever Star Wars sequel. Now, we move onto the animated Disney XD series, Star Wars Rebels.
There are quite a lot of Star Wars Rebels nods and winks in Rogue One, hinting as to where that animated series is headed. Perhaps the coolest moment comes with the real-life reveal of astro-mech droid Chopper, who up until now, has only been rendered in CG animation. His appearance is also a blink and you'll miss it kind of moment. We don't get to see any of his friends in the flesh, but the crew of the Ghost is most certainly present on Yavin IV. Chopper can be seen rolling past Mon Mothma when she learns of the Rogue One's mission on Scarif. The belief is that a future episode of Star Wars Rebels will show the Ghost crew heading into the Battle of Scarif, with the raid getting told from a different point of view.
Helping fuel this speculation is the inclusion of Star Wars Rebels character Hera Syndulla. She's not physically seen in the movie. But the Twi'lek captain of the Ghost is certainly referenced in fine form. She is now a General. We learn this when her name is called over the loudspeakers on Yavin IV. It's a nice touch, and a great way to have a certified Rebels crossover.
But the fun doesn't stop there. Hera's ship The Ghost also gets a cameo, this one being of the physical kind. The ship is seen twice in Rogue One. Eagle-eyed viewers are first able to spot it sitting outside the Massassi temple as Jyn, Cassian and K-2SO leave Yavin IV for Jedha. It then returns during the big Rebel raid on Scarif. We don't see The Ghost again but it is believed that the ship successfully made the jump to hyperspace with the rest of the rebel ships at the end of Rogue One. The Ghost crew is believed to become a key part of the Rebel alliance. And this all confirms that the gang does spend some time on Yavin IV. If the Ghost didn't make the jump to hyperspace, this also explains why we never heard of the ship or its crew in later Star Wars live-action movies.
Finally, we come to the last Star Wars Rebels nod that has been discovered by fans. The Hammerhead Cruisers make a great appearance during the Battle of Scarif, as they smash into a Star Destroyer, managing to push it into another one of the massive vessels. These Hammerheads first showed up on an episode of Star Wars Rebels, with this being their first-ever live action appearance. It's not a big thing, but it's pretty cool. Now, lets move onto some of the harder to spot actor cameos.
As you probably known, Warwick Davis got his start in the world of acting at a very young age, appearing as the Ewok Wicket in Return of the Jedi. And he has appeared in various guises in the rest of the live-action Star Wars movies since this. He's almost become like Star War's version of Marvel's signature Stan Lee cameo. Only Davis usually has his head covered up and is harder to spot. Last year, he played the weird looking character Wollivan in The Force Awakens' Maz Kanata castle scene. Here, he gets another completely new character, who's short screen time, no pun intended, is quite memorable. This time, he brings Weeteef Cyubee to life. The guy is among Saw Gerrera's ranks as a a band of Rebels hiding on Jedha. He helps take down a hover tank in the heart of Jedha City, and is later seen maxin' and relaxin' at the Rebel's secret hidden base.
This particular cameo has no link to previous movies or Star Wars lore. It's just a cool cameo for the Rizzle Kicks singer. Jordan Stephens is one of the Rebel soldiers on Scarif who tries to aid Bodhi Rook in his quest to get the Death Star transmissions to the Rebels locked out of the planet and hovering above them. So far, no production information has been released on how Jordan Stephens wound up in the movie, or what his connection to one of the actors or crew might be. Other notable names appearing in Rogue One not immediately associated with the franchise history is Horrible Histories and Yonderland actor Simon Farnaby, playing Blue Five, who bites it during flight as part of the Alliance's third X-Wing squadron.
Director Rian Johnson
Next we come to Rian Johnson. He is directing Star Wars 8, and was around for some of this shoot. He's a mega-fan of Star Wars, so he jumped at the chance to appear on screen, though he doesn't necessarily consider himself an actor. Johnson plays one of the laser operators on the Death Star alongside producer Ram Bergman, and they are seen shielding their faces from one of the space station's deadly blasts. To repay the favor, Rian has already given Rogue One director Gareth Edwards a juicy little cameo in Star Wars 8, though it won't be revealed until the movie opens next December. Han Solo directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller almost made it into the movie, too, with scenes that were meant to be part of the Jedha sequence. Alas, they both had to skip out as they went looking for schools for their kids to attend during their Han Solo shoot, which is confirmed for a February 2017 start date.
Sure, there are some cool new planets in Rogue One. Most notably Scarif and Jedha. But some old stomping grounds are revisited. And it has been confirmed that Darth Vader's home castle is situated right smack dab in the middle of a lava river on the planet Mustafar. You may remember this as the place where Anakin Skywalker lost his battle with Obi-Wan, his dignity, the chance to bond with his kids, and all his limbs. In the pervious books, which are now part of the Star Wars Legends canon, and not the official canon associated with the movies, Darth Vader lived on the acid rain planet Vijun. Mustafar is one of the few planets in the movie that doesn't get a title card. But it has been confirmed that this is the place. And that Darth Vader has returned here for his bi-weekly Bacta baths, which allow him to step out of his helmet and armor.
Also making another appearance here is the all important planet of Coruscant, which was never seen in the original trilogy until after the prequels debuted. It played a key role in the three George Lucas directed Anakin Skywalker movies, but was only later added into the end of Return of the Jedi. Coruscant is seen during Jyn's flashback, where her family meets with Krennic. If things are lined up proper in the timeline, this flashback falls roughly around the time the Republic fell. The scene is more fully elaborated on in the recent tie-in novel Catalyst, which tells of Krennic and Jyn's father Galen working together on the Death Star project.
We've talked about some of the ships that make a return appearance in Rogue One after first being seen in Star Wars Rebels. Like Coruscant and Mustafar, the Juggernaut Tank is also a throwback to the prequel trilogy. We first meet back up with the adult Jyn as she is being transported as a prison in this vehicle on the planet Wobani, an anagram for Obi-wan. This is an Imperial version of the Republic Juggernaut, a massive tank that was often spotted in Star Wars Clone Wars as well as in Revenge of the Sith on the Wookie planet of Kashyyyk. The vehicle is only seen briefly in any of the movies, and doesn't get much exterior screen time in Rogue One.
Alas, we come to our final cameo. Which some might consider an Easter egg more than a true cameo, as Old Ben doesn't actually show up on screen (but boy does that broken Jedi statue on Jedha sure look like Kenobi). This is the kind of cameo that might go over the less suave viewer's head. Mon Mothma doesn't think the initial secret mission to be carried out on Scarif is a good idea. But she knows she can't stop it. So she asks Bail Organa to get in touch with his old Jedi friend. This friend has apparently been in hiding since fighting alongside Bail in the Clone Wars. The only person they can be referencing here is Obi-Wan. It's a nice touch, and helps push us closer to the events seen in A New Hope.