As a standalone film set right smack dab in the middle of the Star Wars franchise, Rogue One is in a unique position to include references to both the prequel and original trilogies. Director Gareth Edwards has even noted that he wanted to throw in a ton of Easter eggs into the film, but decided to limit himself so as to not overdo it. Still, even with this self-imposed limit, Edwards managed to include quite a few cool details and more than a few winks and nods to Star Wars past and present (and even a tip of the cap to some other sci-fi classics). While this list doesn’t include every single Easter egg in Rogue One, we’ve chosen to highlight some of the ones that really stood out, as well as a few that you may have never even noticed.
If you haven’t seen Rogue One yet, you should probably proceed at your own risk because this list goes into full Spoiler territory.
The Blue Milk
Perhaps the most delightful visual in an otherwise dark scene is the shot of blue milk in the Erso’s kitchen. Apparently, blue milk is a popular beverage on farms in the Star Wars universe, as Luke Skywalker is shown knocking back a glass on his aunt and uncle’s moisture farm in A New Hope. According to Wookiepedia, blue milk comes from Banthas, but we don’t remember seeing any on the planet of Lah’mu …
If you’re wondering whether Director Orson Krennic’s cool looking black stormtroopers have a specific name, it turns out that they’re called Death Troopers, which doesn’t sound ominous at all. As you might expect, Death Troopers are an elite class of stormtrooper that are part of the Empire’s Imperial Intelligence and often act as guards for officers in the Tarkin Initiative, the collective that Krennic is a part of. Interestingly, the Death Trooper name comes from a failed Advanced Weapons Research project that resulted in the creation of uncontrollable undead troopers, which is kind of awesome.
HAVW A6 Juggernaut
When we first meet Jyn as an adult, she’s imprisoned in an Imperial Labor Camp on the planet Wobani and is later busted out of a large transport vehicle by the Rebellion. That vehicle, a HAVW A6 Juggernaut, was first seen in Revenge of the Sith, only there it was used as an armored troop transport by the Republic’s Clone army. It appears that the Empire has repurposed the vehicle in the intervening years to transport prisoners, although it’s unclear whether they still use the Juggernaut on the battlefield.
Cassian Andor – first Rebel Spy on screen
This isn’t really a Easter egg per se, but as Den of Geek points out, Cassian Andor, the Rebel pilot played by Diego Luna, is technically the first Rebel spy we’ve seen on screen in any of the Star Wars movies to date. For all the talk about the Rebellion having many spies, it’s interesting that it’s taken this long to actually feature a character who is one. Still no sign of those Bothan spies though (and yes, we realize that the “many Bothan spies died” line is made in reference to the second Death Star).
Evazan and Ponda Baba
Many Star Wars fans likely picked this dastardly duo out, but it’s still a cool cameo worth pointing out. While Jyn and Cassian are walking though the Jedha market place, they bump into Cornelius Evazan and Ponda Baba, the hideous scum that attempt to kill Luke Skywalker in the Mos Eisley Cantina scene in A New Hope. Of course, since Rogue One is set prior to the events of that film, Ponda still has both arms intact.
While these two characters are the most prominent Easter Eggs in the Jedha scene, there are a few other small references worth mentioning. We see what appears to be an RA-7 droid at one point, which is one of the models on board the Jawa sandcrawler in A New Hope. There’s also a Viper Probe Droid (the one that Han and Chewie destroy on Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back) in the background of one shot, as well as a Saw Gerrara soldier sporting a Scout Trooper helmet.
Twi’lek Dancer & Dejarik
Apparently there are only a few worthwhile ways to pass the time in the Star Wars universe, as we see Saw Gerrara’s forces enjoying some of the same leisure activities as other characters in the franchise. One group of them can be spotted watching a hologram of Twi’lek dancers, which as we all know is a favorite pastime of one Jabba the Hutt in Return of the Jedi, while another group can be seen playing Dejarik, the board game that Chewie and C-3PO play on board the Millennium Falcon.
If while watching Rogue One you thought that one of the film’s many planets looked awfully familiar, you’d be correct, as director Gareth Edwards has admitted that one of the film’s planets was heavily inspired by Ridley Scott’s film Alien. Specifically, the planet Eadu, the rain-soaked planet where Jyn (briefly) reunites bears a striking resemblance to the planet LV-426 from Scott’s film. Edwards tells Fandango that Eadu is “very much inspired by Alien,” and that his film also takes cues from other sci-fi films such as Blade Runner, THX-1138, and of course the original Star Wars.
General Jan Dodonna
While the scenes set on Yavin IV feature some pretty obvious cameos, including Mon Mothma (the Rebellion’s leader first seen in Return of the Jedi) and Bail Organa (Princess Leia’s adoptive father, first seen in Revenge of the Sith), one character that some fans may not have taken note of is General Jan Dodonna. Played by Alex McCrindle in A New Hope, General Dodonna is responsible for formulating the plan that leads to the Rebellion’s victory in the Battle of Yavin and the destruction of the Death Star.
If you listen closely, you can hear a few familiar names dropped over the intercom at the base on Yavin IV. At one point, someone calls for a General Syndulla, aka Hera Syndulla, from the TV show Star Wars: Rebels. There’s also a call put out for a Captain Antilles, but because Star Wars naming can be kind of confusing, this call isn’t for X-Wing pilot Wedge Antilles, but rather Captain Raymus Antilles. Antilles is the pilot of the Tantive IV, the ship that Princess Leia escapes on with the Death Star plans at the end of the film. Unfortunately, he dies not long after at the hands of Darth Vader while trying to protect Leia.
Darth Vader Has A Freaking Castle!
Rogue One marks the first time we see Darth Vader’s lair, known as Bast Castle, in any of the Star Wars films, but it turns out that an early script of The Empire Strikes Back featured the castle. Concept artist Ralph McQuarrie even illustrated the structure, with his designs first appearing in the comic Dark Empire II 6: Hand of Darkness. As cool as it is to see that Vader has his own castle on a fiery lava planet as any good villain would, it’s a bit disconcerting when you realize that Vader lives on the very same planet where he almost burned to death and lost his humanity. Maybe he just doesn’t see the irony (or just Force-choked the life out of that realization ages ago)?
The exciting final battle over Scarif features three Rebel squadrons: Red and Gold, which are part of the Battle of Yavin in A New Hope, and Blue Squadron, whose appearance is a tip of the cap to fans familiar with the behind-the-scenes changes made to the first film. In the original screenplay for Star Wars, the squadron that takes on the Death Star was Blue Squadron, but according to The Making of Star Wars: The Definitive Story Behind the Original Film, George Lucas decided to change the name to Red (it’s interesting to note that the film’s novelization, which was released before the changes were made, references Blue Squadron as the fighter squad that takes down the Death Star).
Speaking of fighter squadrons, there’s a quick reference to Red Five during the Battle of Scarif, which fans may remember is the number that Luke Skywalker has during the Battle of Yavin. Rogue One gives us a bit of backstory on why Luke gets to be Red Five and it goes like this: the original Red Five dies and Luke takes his place. War truly is hell.
Unlike The Force Awakens, which featured a bevy of cameos from big stars such as Daniel Craig and Simon Pegg, Rogue One is a bit less flashy with its walk-on parts. According to actor Riz Ahmed, who plays Imperial defector Bodhi Rook, Jordan Stephens from English hip hop duo Rizzle Kicks has a small part in the film as a Rebel fighter. Sure, it might not be as cool as James Bond playing a stormtrooper, but who are we to deny anyone from getting the chance to fly an X-Wing around on screen?
Where’s Gareth Edwards?
Speaking of cameos, Rogue One director Gareth Edwards has claimed that he has a cameo in the film, but so far, it seems that no one has figured out what it is. Edwards has yet to reveal what his on screen role is and has said that the reveal may have to wait until the DVD extras (assuming nobody figures it out before then, of course). If you think you’ve figured out what Edwards’ cameo is, let us know!