Get excited, Star Wars fans: The release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is right around the corner. For months, the saga’s massive fanbase has been formulating its own theories about what could happen in the new film, which tells the story of the members of the Rebel Alliance who infiltrate the Empire in order to get their hands on the Death Star plans (y’know, the ones a certain princess implants in a certain R2 unit early on in Star Wars: A New Hope). The trailers have teased a new ensemble cast led by Oscar-nominated actress Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything) and a fresh focus on detailing the conflict between the rebels and the Imperial forces.
Although the Rogue One marketing campaign hasn’t been nearly as protective of its plot as Star Wars: The Force Awakens, there’s still a lot we don’t know about the film, its story, and its characters. Sure, we could simply wait for the film’s release to see what happens rather than speculate on what we might see beyond the bits of plot already hinted at, but where’s the fun in that? Let’s delve a bit deeper into Rogue One to lay out some predictions of our own for what director Gareth Edwards might have in store for us.
1. A surprise appearance by a classic character
The trailers have already revealed that Darth Vader will play a role in the film, albeit not as the primary villain. However, we’re betting that the filmmakers won’t be able to resist incorporating other beloved characters into the story as well. After all, Rogue One does feature a classic trilogy setting that sets itself up for cameos. Emperor Palpatine actor Ian McDiarmid has debunked rumors that he’ll appear, while other rumors indicate that Alden Ehrenreich could make his debut as Han Solo in a brief scene before his spinoff film in 2018. In any case, expect someone other than the already announced Vader, Mon Mothma, and Bail Organa to appear in Rogue One.
2. Jyn Erso comes face to face with Vader
Rogue One may be setting up Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) as the primary hero and villain, respectively. However, that doesn’t mean that Jyn can’t share a scene with the Dark Lord of the Sith himself. We’re not saying that the two will necessarily fight — though that would be fun to see — but the film probably wouldn’t be quite as satisfying if Jyn doesn’t at least make eye contact with Vader at some point, similar to how Luke and Vader almost meet in A New Hope.
3. Donnie Yen’s character will die
Seeing as Rogue One is a war film first and foremost, it goes without saying that some of the film’s heroes will probably not make it through to the end credits. Donnie Yen’s Chirrut Îmwe is the most spiritual character of the bunch, believing in the will of the Force above all else. As such, it’s not hard to imagine that he might have to sacrifice himself for the team’s mission to succeed, believing that he is serving the Force itself in doing so. It would be a bittersweet moment for audiences, as we know that Chirrut’s death ultimately leads to the destruction of the Death Star.
4. The Death Star in action
Speaking of the Empire’s super weapon, there’s no chance in hell that Rogue One will feature a space station with the ability to destroy a planet and not take advantage of that on-screen. While the Death Star did destroy Alderaan in A New Hope, nothing was established to make us think that this was the first time it’s been used. If The Force Awakens can show Starkiller Base eradicate several planets in one fell swoop, don’t be surprised to see some unlucky planet meet its end in Rogue One.
5. Connections to The Force Awakens
Coming right after The Force Awakens, Rogue One carries with it the distinction of being not only the first standalone Star Wars film, but also the first with the potential to fill in gaps left by the current “episode” films. With so much unexplained in The Force Awakens, Rogue One could reveal some key backstory for new characters. Among the most popular rumors are that Jyn is Rey’s mother and the presence of Snoke in Rogue One. Luckily, we won’t have long to wait to find out if either of these rumors play a role in the film.
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