As Rogue One finally arrives home, here's new intel that will take you deeper into the film.
By now you’ve probably seen Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in the theaters and have started seeing again at home -- it's available on all formats today! At home, with the ability to pause your movie at any point, you’ll now be able to spot all kinds of details you missed the first time around…or second time...or third time. This is the perfect opportunity to look for those blink-and-you’ll-miss-them Easter eggs and also check out some of the cool background characters and items. One of the coolest things about Star Wars is that everyone has a story, and one of the best ways to learn about the stories of some of those Rogue One minor roles is to check out the Rogue One: The Ultimate Visual Guide. Written by Lucasfilm creative executive and all-around expert in residence Pablo Hidalgo, this guide, which came out last December from DK, is overflowing with details on the characters, worlds, vehicles, and items in the film, with plenty of great images, including some awesome cross-section illustrations by Kemp Remillard. Time to hit rewind on Rogue One as we take you into the guide and share some of its secrets!
1. Toy story.
As a child living on a remote farm on Lah’mu, Jyn Erso doesn’t have a lot of friends, but she does have a lot of toys and an active imagination. A spread on her playthings sheds a great light into the mind of a child, with homemade dolls, stuffed animals, and carved starships. When it’s time to flee, Jyn has to choose who to accompany her -- Koodie the tooka or Koodie’s best friend, Stormie the trooper doll. I’m sure they spent many a time on adventures with the more furry Wuzzwork, Sniksnak the shaak, and “Bad Mister Goob.” When you can’t make friends, you learn to MAKE friends.
2. An Erso by any other name.
In Rogue One, the Rebel Alliance rescues an Imperial prisoner from a labor camp on Wobani. To the Empire, she’s known as Liana Hallik, but Rebel Intelligence knows her real identity: Jyn Erso, daughter of the famed Imperial scientist Galen Erso. But that’s not the only alias Jyn has used -- she’s also used Tanith Ponta and Kestrel Dawn as cover names. When she arrives on Scarif, she takes on the disguise of Technician Kent Deezling. And of course, to her father, she’s his little Stardust.
3. Now there are two of them!
A familiar sight among Saw Gerrera’s crew is Two Tubes, so named for the breathing apparatus worn. But there isn’t just one Two Tubes -- there are two! Eggmates Edrio and Benthic, are more than just brothers, but each has a different role in Gerrera’s band. When Jyn, Cassian, and K-2SO get captured by Saw’s group, you can spot them both -- Benthic is the sniper with the long coat, while Edrio is a pilot in Saw’s small squadron of X-wings, the Cavern Angels. Benthic is also the one that Bodhi Rook mistakes for Saw Gerrera. As Tognaths with primitive nervous systems, they are immune to most pain, which makes them safe for Saw to entrust critical information, as they can’t be tortured into revealing their secrets.
4. A meiloorun a day...
While this Visual Guide covers a lot of the characters, locales, and more from the film, there a few notable exceptions. Because the book was scheduled to release at the same time as the movie, there are a few appearances that were intentionally left out to create some surprises for moviegoers. But like Obi-Wan’s missing planet in Attack of the Clones, you can still piece together an intentional omission if you know where to look. The section on Jedha civilians has clues about a fugitive surgeon who has been transforming the wounded into mindless servants known as the Decraniated. The headless humanoid Caysin Bog may also be the patient of this mysterious medic. And finally, Tam Posla is a helmeted lawman way out of his home jurisdiction, but is determined to bring the dangerous pair using the names Roofoo and Sawkee to justice. It seems the doctor is in…Jedha, at least for a while, though don’t schedule an appointment -- it could be a death sentence for you, from a guy with a death sentence in 12 systems.
5. Starship McStarshipface.
There’s a lot of fleet junkies among Star Wars fans, who love to know all about the ships, shuttles, and starfighters and their commanders on all sides of the conflict. And with so many ships appearing in Rogue One, the guide does not disappoint. While fans of A New Hope might recognize that Darth Vader’s Imperial Star Destroyer is the Devastator, we learn here that it’s the last of the Mark I series of that vessel, but with a lot of special modifications. There’s a detailed look at the Profundity, the massive Mon Calamari star cruiser, which once served as the civic governance tower of an underwater city before taking flight to flee the Empire -- a city that Admiral Raddus was once mayor of! Krennic’s Delta-class shuttle was inspired by a ship-designing sculptor who was into paper-folding, and while the utilitarian Director Krennic simply knows his ship as ST 149,Captain Pterro, Krennic’s aide de camp, secretly refers to it as the Pteradon.
6. Guardians of the galaxy.
While the film describes a little bit of the beliefs of Chirrut Îmwe and Baze Malbus in their roles as Guardians of the Whills, the guide has a few more secrets on these two former protectors of the Temple of the Kyber in Jedha’s Holy City. Chirrut is a master of the martial art zama-shiwo, which emphasizes physical awareness and conscious control of normally subconscious bodily functions to allow for, apparently, supernatural results. Helping the blinded warrior out in a fight is his staff, which has a tiny lantern with a kyber sliver at one end, whose harmonics Chirrut can sense. He also gets a situational awareness boost from an echo-box transmitter on the belt under his kasaya robe. Also under his robe? A gold Jedha pendant of an ancient starbird symbol, more recently seen in use by the Rebellion. Chirrut serves as Baze’s moral compass after the latter lost his faith through his experience on Jedha, but Baze carries more than just a crushed soul. He also has his finger on the trigger of a highly illegal Morellian Weapons Conglomerate “Staccato Lightning” repeating cannon that can hold 35,000 rounds when charged, and has two different barrels. While the two approach combat differently, they are a formidable team, trusting each other with their different weapons.
7. Birth of a Death Star.
Since Count Dooku’s receiving of the Death Star plans from Poggle the Lesser on Geonosis in Attack of the Clones and a skeletal framework is seen under construction at the end of Revenge of the Sith, many fans have wondered about the history of the technological terror. How does the temperamental Orson Krennic fit in? And the sterilization of Geonosis as hinted at in Star Wars Rebels? And the Rogue One prequel novel, Catalyst? The guide gives a quick timeline of the Death Star, linking key events over the decades leading up to the final installation of Galen Erso’s superweapon. But more than just detailing the armored space station itself, we get glimpses into different Imperial viewpoints about the Death Star through bios of some of the top Imperial command, engineers, support personnel, and troopers, both on the Death Star, in the fleet, and at Eadu and on Scarif. Who supports Krennic? Who supports Tarkin? And who thinks the project is a waste of resources?
8. Boots on the ground.
Sharp fans might recognize the soldier that helps Bodhi sow confusion over the Imperial comms as Corporal Tonc, and one of the main leaders on the mission to Scarif is Sergeant Ruescott Melshi, who gets the word to “Light it up!” from Cassian. But over a dozen rebel ground troops get bios, both from the volunteers from the Pathfinders who ship out on SW-0608, and the reinforcements that arrive by Blue Squadron’s U-wings.
From combat engineer Walea Timker to the sniper/spotter team of Serchill Rostok and Arro Basteren, to relative newcomer Bistan the door gunner, the Visual Guide has tons of info on who these most dangerous rebels are, and what gear they are carrying. Pao the large-mouthed Drabatan even gets his own full spread, probably because he needs it just for his full name: Paodok’Draba’Takat. Bonus fun fact: the operation to Scarif isn’t the first time we see Melshi in the film -- he’s also the leader of the mission to extract Jyn Erso from Wobani. I hope he’s gotten over her initial response to meeting rebels.
9. Striker position.
Helping to defend the airspace at Scarif are TIE strikers, an experimental design that goes against standard Imperial philosophy of one-design-fit-all. Influenced by the design of exodrive craft and Geonosian figthers, the TIE/sk x1 is most effective as an atmospheric fighter and has articulated solar panel wings, specialized repulsorlifts, and most unusual for TIE design, pressurized life support. And with Kemp Remillard’s cutaway illustration, we can go inside the ship -- what sits between the pilot and the gunner? A big rack of proton bombs!
10. The story of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Many of the previous visual guide style books from DK focus entirely on the content within the Star Wars universe -- characters, ships, technology, etc. Rogue One: The Ultimate Visual Guide also devotes a chapter to the story behind the movie, taking readers behind the scenes, from concept art to production and shooting. Moroff, the pale fur-covered creature that is seen as part of Saw’s band on Jedha, originally started out as a concept for a rebel named Senna. The armored tanks patrolling the holy city? Concept art shows them as an armored hovercraft, eventually shifting to having treads later when the TX-225 was produced for filming. (And thanks to another great cross-section elsewhere in the book, you can see where the gunner sits completely inside the vehicle, unlike the driver and commander). While many of the Scarif battlegrounds were shot in the Maldives, the landing pad in the tropics was filmed in Bovingdon, England, with a lot of imported palm trees and sand. And when filming in Gareth Edward’s “handheld” style filming many scenes, film crew members wore costumes just like extras so just in case they accidentally got filmed, the digital footage was still usable.
And this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the cool knowledge that you’ll come across when pore through the Visual Guide. So grab a copy, pop in Rogue One on your screen, and prepare to hit that pause button as you spot everything and everyone you didn’t even know had a name!
James Floyd is a writer, photographer, and organizer of puzzle adventures. He’s a bit tall for a Jawa. His current project is Wear Star Wars Every Day, a fundraising effort for a refugee aid organization. You can follow him on Twitter at @jamesjawa or check out his articles on Club Jade and Big Shiny Robot.