The next two live-action Star Wars movies are currently shooting and are at various points in the production process, but that being the case, we are getting a steady stream of details from all kinds of varied sources. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is currently undergoing reshoots, prepping for the December release, and Rian Johnson is getting near wrapping principal photography on Episode VIII. As such, there is a lot of new merchandise in the works, and as we know, Star Wars merch can be very revealing.
A new listing on Entertainment Earth has revealed a couple of new Hot Wheels two packs, which feature two different Star Wars ships in each package. At least one of the packages appears to be including a new vehicle called the "Starship Raven," but it is the more familiar vehicles that may be more interesting and revealing. One of the packages is said to include a Star Destroyer, and perhaps more tantalizingly, a Mon Calamari Cruiser. True Star Wars fans know that the words Mon Calamari are absolutely synonymous with Admiral Ackbar.
According to the post on Entertainment Earth, it looks like the toy sets are going to be released in September of this year, which coincides with the release of new Star Wars merchandise for Rogue One as part of this year's Force Friday event. If that is the case, this could mean that the Mon Calamari Cruiser will make an appearance in the movie, but more importantly, that could also mean that Ackbar could be coming back. We are definitely grasping at some straws here, but there are enough straws to grasp at that make us think this could be possible.
Firstly, it was reported back in February that Tim Rose, who plays Admiral Ackbar, had to cancel an appearance at Pensacon in order to go start working on a movie. Since Peter Mayhew, who plays Chewbacca, also had to cancel an appearance at the convention to go work on the same movie, which was filming in London, it is assumed they were both going to work on Episode VIII. That means that we are going to be getting more Ackbar in the future, but that would lend credibility to the idea that Disney could have tapped him for a cameo or small role in Rogue One as well. Mon Mothma is appearing in Rogue One, and Ackbar has a bit of history with that character and as a Rebel Alliance leader, so he would fit right in.
Admiral Ackbar didn't appear in a live-action Star Wars movie until Return of the Jedi, but in the expanded universe he had a long history fighting against the Empire and as a Rebel leader. Rogue One takes place in the time period between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, and it revolves around the band of Rebels who stole the plans for the original Death Star. Ackbar was critical in the assault of the second Death Star in the Mon Calamari Cruiser, partially by realizing that the Empire had pulled an elaborate ruse on the Rebels. So, his inclusion in Rogue One would be a nice way to more deeply connect his character to the history of the Rebel Alliance. Granted, this toy could easily just be a Return of the Jedi throwback package, but it is much more interesting to think of it as a tease of the return of Admiral Ackbar and the Mon Calamari Cruiser.