We’re getting ever closer to the December 16th release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, aka the first Star Wars prequel that might actually be any good. We’ve learned a great deal about the film’s plot in recent months thanks to a series of new trailers and TV spots, but while we know the basic structure of the film and even how it will end — ‘Spoiler’ Alert: the Rebels get the Death Star plans, allowing the first Star Wars to happen — there are many things we still don’t know about Rogue One.
Fortunately, Star Wars fans are a dedicated bunch and have assembled a plethora of theories about plot details and potential connections to other films in the franchise. I’ve rounded up some of the best of them and while some are certainly more plausible than others, I think you’ll agree that each one of the following fan theories are thought-provoking in their own way.
There’s also no mention of Jar Jar Binks being a Sith Lord anywhere, so that’s a plus.
Snoke Will Make An Appearance
While it is certainly plausible to assume to that Disney would want to include Supreme Leader Snoke, the mysterious new villain introduced in The Force Awakens, in Rogue One somehow, this specific theory operates on the assumption that Snoke’s true identity will also be revealed. The leading theory right now is that Snoke is actually Darth Plagueis, the former master of Darth Sidious aka Emperor Palpatine’s whom Palpatine claims to have killed.
As Redditor Snakie113 points out, a specific shot from the Rogue One trailer could be a clue to Snoke / Plagueis’ involvement. We see a figure in a black hood and cape standing before a column that looks like a Bacta-tank, a device used to treat injuries. The figure in the hood is most likely Palpatine, but is it possible that Snoke is the one in the tank? Snakie113 posits that Palpatine could be keeping Snoke’s body as a trophy and/or is studying him to try and find the secret to immortality.
Theory Rating: Possible. It’s doubtful that we’ll get any mention of Plagueis but there is a decent chance that Snoke will get a nod.
Jyn is Rey’s Mom
While this theory has been denied by Daisy Ridley, many Star Wars fans are still convinced that Rogue One’s lead female protagonist, Jyn Erso, is the mother of Rey from The Force Awakens. Admittedly, the evidence largely consists of shaky coincidences — they’re both white, they both have British accents, they’re both brunettes — but it also helps that that Disney is keeping the truth of Rey’s parentage really close to their chest, so Jyn being her mother sounds perfectly plausible at this point in time.
Of course, if Jyn is in fact Rey’s mother, it would mean that she would have given birth to her when she was in her late thirties or even early forties, given that Rey was born roughly 15 years after the events of Rogue One and Felicity Jones is 32-years-old (although she could certainly pass for younger).
Theory Rating: Plausible, But Unlikely
Jyn is Captain Phasma
Admittedly, this is a prety farfetched theory, but it’s also one of the more popular ones that keeps getting tossed around, so it’s worth taking a look at. This one first came to fruition after the original Rogue One teaser was released, as the final shot of that trailer depicts Jyn wearing an Imperial outfit while Forest Whitaker’s voiceover asks “What will you do if they break you? If you continue to fight, what will you become?” One interpretation of this line is that it references Jyn’s allegiance switching from the Rebellion to the Empire over the course of the film. Why would she switch sides? Who knows! Maybe she gets double-crossed at some point or just wants to turn to the Dark Side to get her hands on those cookies they’re always promising?
Of course, if Jyn really is Captain Phasma, it would mean that First Order soldier would be in her 50s or 60s when we meet her in The Force Awakens, which seems hard to believe. It’s also hard to imagine the 5 ft 2 in Felicity Jones somehow growing into the 6 ft 3 in Gwendoline Christie, but as Darth Vader would attest, the Empire has some pretty great reconstructive surgery teams, so gaining a foot in height isn’t necessarily out of the question … just highly unlikely.
Theory Rating: Completely Insane, But Awesome If True.
Jyn And Her Team Become The Knights Of Ren
Many of the most popular Rogue One theories floating around the internet draw connections between the film and The Force Awakens, which makes sense considering they’re both currently the most popular and oft-discussed films in the franchise. While I think that Rogue One will keep the Force Awakens connections to a minimum (the films are set about 30 years apart, after all), it is fun to speculate over potential links that might crop up. One of the best theories I’ve come across that, while highly unlikely, would actually be kind of awesome if it actually came true is that Jyn’s team of Death Star plan smugglers eventually become the Knights of Ren, Kylo Ren’s mysterious goon squad who made a brief appearance in a flashback scene in The Force Awakens.
This theory hinges on the fact that the Knights of Ren are still largely shrouded in mystery and if you look closely, there is a Knight that corresponds to each member of Jyn’s team. As The Cancrizans point out, the Sniper and Cassian Andor hold their weapons in a similar manner, the Armory and Bodhi Rook both wear goggles and carry a bunch of small items on their chest, the Heavy and Baze Malbus have armor that covers only one shoulder, and the Rogue could easily be Jyn herself. Sure, the whole thing is pretty far-fetched, but considering the fine folks at Lucasfilm really didn’t give us any information about the Knights of Ren in The Force Awakens, it’s definitely not the craziest fan theory out there.
Theory Rating: Thought-Provoking, But Ultimately Quite A Stretch.
Lor San Tekka Will Make An Appearance
Here’s another Force Awakens related theory that’s become pretty popular, but unlike the somewhat dereanged Captain Phasma and Knights of Ren theories, this one is entirely realistic. Although Max Von Sydow’s Lor San Tekka appears only briefly at the begining of The Force Awakens, it’s clear even just from his short conversation with Poe Dameron that Tekka is an important figure within the Rebellion and within the larger Star Wars mythos as a whole. Given Tekka’s advanced age in The Force Awakens, we could potentially see a younger version of the character in Rogue One.
Although there (probably) won’t be any actual Jedi in Rogue One, the Force will still play an important role. We don’t know much about Lars Von Tekka at his point, but we do know he’s a member of the Church of the Force, so perhaps this aspect of the character will be expanded upon. There’s also a theory out there that argues that Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen) is actually Lars Von Tekka, but I don’t really want to delve into all that craziness. All I know is that there’s a very good chance we could see Lor San Tekka in Rogue One and this would be a Force Awakens connection that actually makes sense. Bring it on.
Theory Rating: If this doesn’t happen, I’ll be very surprised.
Jyn Can Use The Force
It’s no secret that Rogue One is a Star Wars movie that puts the Jedi and the Force on the backburner in favor of telling a story about the men and women doing the grunt work in the war against the Empire, but that hasn’t stopped fans from speculating that the newest Star Wars heroine has a connection to the Force. While it’s easy to assume that the protagonist of a Star Wars movie is going to be Force-sensitive in some way — every other one before her has, so why should Jyn be any different? — this theory has regained momentum in recent weeks due to some of the new teasers being dropped for the film.
References to the Force pop up everywhere, with Jyn’s mother Lyra Erso (played by Valene Kane) telling her young daughter in a flashback to “trust in the Force,” and the trailer’s tagline repeats that sentiment — “In three weeks, trust the Force.” Jyn also says “may the Force be with us,” at one point to her team, further suggesting that she is a firm believer in the power of the Force. Of course, none of this is evidence that Jyn is actually able to wield the Force, but it’s entirely possible that she can. We’ll just have to wait to find out.
Theory Rating: Little Reason To Doubt This One
Darth Vader Will ‘Rescue’ The Rebels
Wait, what? Darth Vader is the Dark Lord of the Sith — he can’t be the hero! Admittedly, I scoffed when I first came across this theory in a post on the Star Wars Reddit page, but after reading through it, I think it has merit. As Redditor thisfits explains, the trailers for Rogue One seem to be setting up a idealogical conflict between Vader — who is a firm believer in the power of the Force and is distrustful of technology — and Director Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn), who is on the opposite end of the spectrum and practically worships the power of the Death Star.
According to thisfits, Vader becomes so frustrated with Krennic and the Empire’s overrealiance on the Death Star that he essentially makes a point by allowing the Rebels to escape with the Death Star plans, thus ensuring that the Force and the Dark Side will continue to reign supreme. Vader saving the day while also screwing over his annoying co-worker and looking like a boss while doing it? I’ve seen worse endings for a movie.
Theory Rating: Likely, But Will Probably Play Out Much Differently
Darth Vader Kills Most Of The Rebels
Alternatively, others are of the mind that Darth Vader is going to go full Sith Lord on Jyn’s team and incapacitate / kill most of them in a climactic scene near the end of the film. This is perhaps the most plausible Vader related Rogue One theory I’ve come across so far, as it would not only go a long way in justifying the Sith Lord’s presence in the film, but also explain why these characters aren’t present in the original trilogy.
While it would make for an interesting twist to see Vader, willingly or not, help the Rebel cause by ensuring that Jyn escapes with the Death Star plans, it would arguably make more sense (not to mention be more entertaining) if Vader got to showcase the “true power of the Dark Side” by laying waste to the Rebel scum that dared try and steal sensitive data from the Empire. Admittedly, I think it will be more a case of Vader killing one or two important characters than the entire Rebel team, but it’s still going to send a chill down the spine to see Vader at his most menacing.
Theory Rating: Practically Canon
Jedha Becomes Starkiller Base
Here’s an interesting theory that really shows how deeply people are looking for connections to The Force Awakens in Rogue One. Peter Sciretta from SlashFilm has a pretty good write-up on this theory, but the basic idea is that Jedha, the new desert moon introduced in Rogue One, is actually the planet used by the First Order for Starkiller Base in The Force Awakens. The cool thing is that there is actually a good deal of evidence supporting this theory.
Apparently, Jedha has rich deposits of kyber crystals, a precisous resource once used by the Jedi to build lightsabers that the Empire also use to power the Death Star. Factor in some star maps that suggest that Jedha and Starkiller Base may have the same location and you have one of the most plausible Rogue One theories going. There is the small issue of Jedha being referred to as an inner rim planet, while Starkiller Base is supposedly located in the outer unknown regions of the galaxy, but as Sciretta points out, Starkiller Base is able to move around the galaxy, so this doesn’t necessarily debunk the theory.
Theory Rating: Why Didn’t I Think Of That?