7 Star Wars Callbacks to Look Out for in Rogue One

4 minute read

Warning: This post contains spoilers for Rogue One.

Rogue One may be the Star Wars franchise’s first standalone story, but the film—which serves as a sort-of prequel to A New Hope—is chock full of references to the main saga. While the movie revolves around new protagonist Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and her Rebel crew’s attempt to steal the plans for the Imperial Death Star, director Gareth Edwards still manages to drop in a number of references to characters, dialogue and plot points from the original Star Wars trilogy.

Here are seven callbacks to keep an eye out for in Rogue One.

1. He doesn’t like you

As Jyn and Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) walk the streets of Jedha City in search of a lead on Saw Gerrera’s (Forrest Whitaker) whereabouts, the Captain has a minor altercation with a familiar pair, Dr. Cornelius Evazan and Ponda Baba—the two Cantina patrons who pick a fight with Luke in A New Hope.

2. It’s a trap

After Jyn is brought before Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) in his Jedha hideout, the mercenary wonders aloud if it’s actually her standing before him, muttering that her sudden reappearance may be a trick by the Empire. It’s during this internal debate that he utters three words that have become synonymous with the Rebel effort: “It’s a trap.”

Fans know this famous line was originally said by Admiral Ackbar upon realizing the Empire is prepared for his fleet’s attack during the Battle of Endor scene in Return of the Jedi.

3. I find your lack of faith disturbing

Following a chat between Darth Vader (voiced by James Earl Jones) and Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) in which the two discuss Krennic’s progress on the Death Star, Vader takes a moment to remind the Director who’s really in charge, using the Force to temporarily strangle him from across the room. Force-choking seems to be one of the Sith Lord’s preferred methods of punishment, as he uses it on multiple occasions in A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back.

4. These are the droids you’re looking for

New droid K-2SO makes a delightful first impression in Rogue One, but a cameo by old favorites R2-D2 and C-3PO remains one of the best surprises of the movie. There’s also a later appearance by the MSE-6, an Imperial repair droid that first shows up in A New Hope.

5. A Jedi in exile

As Mon Mothma and Bail Organa make plans to aid the Rogue One crew, Organa tells her he will reach out to a Jedi in exile for help. He can only be referring to Obi-Wan Kenobi, who lived alone on Tatooine under the alias of Ben Kenobi during the 19 years between the events of Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope.

Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Lucasfilm Ltd.

6. Gold Leader standing by

The Rebellion’s victory against the Empire in Rogue One couldn’t be achieved without the efforts of the Rebel starfighter fleet, who engage Imperial forces during the final space battle above Scarif. These epic dogfighting sequences—including a cameo by Gold Leader Jon “Dutch” Vander—are a nod to both the Battle of Yavin scene of A New Hope and the Battle of Endor in Return of the Jedi.

7. The Princess

In the closing moments of Rogue One, Rebel soldiers in possession of the chip containing Jyn’s transmission of the stolen Death Star plans manage to board the Tantive IV and escape the wrath of Darth Vader. Once on the ship, they head to the control room, where none other than a CGI Princess Leia is waiting. Of course, this should come as no surprise, as Leia is already in possession of the Death Star plans when A New Hope begins.


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Write to Megan McCluskey at megan.mccluskey@time.com