Every since Rogue One opened last weekend, fans have been pouring over every detail. And some of the funner Easter eggs revolve around the currently airing animated series Star Wars Rebels. There are a lot of winks and nods to the hit show, which got hardcore nerd hearts all aflutter. Now, we have an official Lucasfilm released image that shows off grumpy astro-mech droid Chopper in his 'blink-and-miss' cameo. The rest of this story has some mild spoilers, but perhaps not if you aren't familiar with Star Wars Rebels and its characters.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story came packing some exciting connective tissue to all things Star Wars past and present, but perhaps none more thrilling than the appearance of iconic Star Wars Rebels Ship, the Ghost, which is first spotted on Yavin 4 before being seen heading into the thrilling climax at the Battle of Scarif. During the film, Hera gets a shout out, as the name "General Syndulla" is called over an intercom system. But perhaps most exciting is getting to see Chopper in action, even if his screen time runs in mere seconds.
It's no secret that the world of Star Wars Rebels is connected to the main cinematic Star Wars canon. And that idea will continue when Star Wars Rebels returns for the back half of Season 3 in 2017. Rogue One star Forest Whitaker is going to reprise his role as Saw Gerrera on Rebels this January, laying the ground work for the Disney XD show to eventually show the Battle of Scarif from a different perspective.
StarWars.com caught up with Lucasfilm Story Group's Matt Martin to chat about the exciting Easter eggs scattered through the movie's two hour runtime. He actually had the prevlage of operating Chopper while the droid's scene was shot on Yavin 4. He says this about the experience.
"It was really surreal. I wasn't actually there for the purpose of operating a droid. The Rogue One production team asked to have Chop shipped over and we were more than happy to do so. An animated character in a live action movie...and it's OUR Chopper! Awesome! A few weeks later I was sent over to help produce some behind-the-scenes content for StarWars.com and it happened to be when they were shooting in the Yavin set. I saw my buddy Chopper sitting there with all the other droids, as well as some of my friends who were brought onto the production to build and operate the droids. When Chopper was called in for one of the scenes, Lee Towersey on the droid team just handed me Chop's control and said, "You know how to do this, right?" You can't really tell since it's so brief in the film, but the scene was actually really intense. It was the most challenging droid-driving I've ever done. There had to be at least 30 extras running around, as well as a little personnel transport thing, and I had to make sure Chop didn't crash into any of them or impede their motion. It was very nerve-wracking at first, especially because I was in a position where I couldn't see very well. Eventually I found my way up onto a gantry and things were a bit easier. I'm pretty sure I never ruined a take, but one time Genevieve O'Reilly [Mon Mothma] accidentally bumped into the droid, she looked around, spotted me holding the control on the gantry and mouthed, "I'm sorry!" I'd expect nothing less from a former senator. So thanks to Lee and the rest of the crew for allowing me to be a VERY small part of the production without any sort of qualifications. It'll be one of the highlights of my life, for sure."
While it was surreal to see Chopper on set in the flesh, it was also incredibly thrilling. Martin goes onto compare the droid to seeing his pet in a movie. He explains.
"It just felt right. This is how it's supposed to be. It was just very natural. That said, it's also always nice to see a familiar face when you're traveling abroad. It was the next best thing to showing up in London and seeing my dog there."
If you go over and visit StarWars.com, you can read more about the inclusion of Hera and her 'General' status, as well as the Hammerhead Corvettes that have a crucial scene in the end Battle of Scarif, after having already played an important role on Star Wars Rebels. If you missed Chopper the first time around, here's the official image, which will help you out when you attempt to find the droid for yourself in the movie.