Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
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When the Millenium Falcon presumably escapes the Empire's grip in Empire Strikes Back, Vader tells Admiral Piett to "Alert all commands. Calculate every possible destination along their last known trajectory.". It's likely once the Tantive IV escaped from Scarif, Vader issued the same order. When given the most-likely destinations, Vader saw one lead to Tatooine, his home planet. Which Vader would likely flag immediately and choose as the likely destination. Edit (Coming Soon)
Rogue One focuses on the stealing of the original Death Star plans. Therefore, the main bulk of the film takes place almost two decades after Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005) and just a short time before Star Wars (1977). As the opening crawl of Episode IV, A New Hope, states: It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire. During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire's ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet. Rogue One tells the story of the mission these Rebel spies were on. Edit (Coming Soon)
The Bothans participated in the Rebel intelligence mission surrounding the second Death Star (which appears in Episode VI, Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)), whereas Rogue One focuses on the mission to steal the blueprints for the first Death Star (which appears in Episode IV, Star Wars (1977). Edit (Coming Soon)
Jyn Erso: Daughter of Galen and Lyra Erso, left in the care of Saw Gerrera at the age of 8, until he left her on her own at the age of 16. She is recruited by the rebellion to contact Gerrera in an attempt to gain access to Bodhi Rook, whom he is holding prisoner.
Galen Erso: Father of Jyn and husband to Lyra. He is a brilliant scientist and researcher who specializes in kyber crystals (the crystals Jedi used to power their lightsabers). He is manipulated by his old friend Orson Krennic into researching kyber crystals for the Empire under the guise of it being for Energy research. When Galen learns that his research is being weaponized, he takes his family and flees the empire.
Orson Krennic: Krennic is a Commander in the Imperial Engineering Corps. He is incredibly ambitious, quickly climbing through the ranks of the Republic, then the Empire. He is also very intuitive, with a great ability to read people and manipulate them. Entrusted with the construction of the Death Star, he puts his reputation on the line to recruit Galen Erso onto the project by tricking him into thinking the research is for a sustainable energy project, when really it was for creating the Death Star's super laser. Krennic also has a long-standing rivalry with Grand Moff Tarkin to the point that Krennic actually once lured Tarkin into an ambush in the hopes of him getting killed so Krennic could climb farther up the ranks of the Empire.
Cassian Andor: A Rebel spy and assassin, willing to get his hands dirty in service of the greater good. He is assigned to escort Jyn Erso to meet Saw Gerrera.
K-2SO: Cassian Andor's reprogrammed Imperial KX-series Security Droid. Due to his reprogramming, he is unable to filter his thoughts and always says exactly what he's thinking. He is loyal to Cassian and suspicious of Jyn.
Bodhi Rook: An Imperial pilot, convinced to defect from the Empire by Galen Erso and leaves to find Saw Gerrera to deliver a message from Galen.
Chirrut Îmwe: A blind, force sensitive temple guardian for The Church Of The Force (known as the guardians of the whills). Once the Jedi were wiped out, he spent his time on Jedha, with his close friend Baze Malbus, looking for work.
Baze Malbus: Another temple guardian for the Church Of The Force and close friend of Chirrut Îmwe whom he looks out for. He is highly skilled with heavy weaponry. He may also be force sensitive due to his deadly accuracy, though he seems to have lost his faith due to the Jedi being wiped out and the Empire taking over.
Saw Gerrera: Originally a guerilla fighter on his home planet of Onderon. He and his sister, Steela lead a band of resistance fighters against the Separatist invaders. The Jedi eventually intervene. Saw, Steela and their fellow resistance fighters receive training from none other than Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi in military tactics. By the time Rogue One takes place, Saw has become a rebel extremist, to the point the actual Rebellion has severed ties with him. They send his former ward, Jyn Erso to try and reason with him.
Grand Moff Tarkin: Tarkin is the Governor of his home planet of Eriadu as well as Grand Moff of the outer-rim territories. He is one of the most powerful men in the Empire after Emperor Palpatine. He is placed in charge of the Death Star by the Emperor, much to Orson Krennic's chargrin. Krennic and Tarkin have a long-standing rivalry. Where they constantly trying to undermine each other. Being that Tarkin is close with Vader and the Emperor, Krennic wants his position. Edit (Coming Soon)
These were not actually AT-ATs (All Terrain Armored Transport, as seen in The Empire Strikes Back). They were AT-ACTs (All Terrain Armored Cargo Transport). These were not designed for attacking, but transporting supplies and likely shipments of Kyber crystals for the Death Star. So it's likely they were not as heavily armored as the AT-ATs. In addition, transports were going up against starfighters and Imperial surface-to-air missiles rather than snowspeeders that were only equipped with blasters and tow-cables. Edit (Coming Soon)
At the end of the film, the Tantive IV jumps to lightspeed, fleeing the orbit of Scarif towards Tatooine, with Darth Vader hot on their heels. A New Hope opens with Vader capturing the Tantive IV over Tatooine. The films have never made it clear how long travel from one planet to the next takes during the use of lightspeed or hyperspace. It likely varies from system to system. So it could take a few minutes, a few hours or a few days. Edit (Coming Soon)
A likely explanation is that Mothma and the other Alliance council members had left the base somewhere between the events of Rogue One and A New Hope. Near the end of Rogue, during the vote, many senators can be seen speaking against the mission to steal the Death Star plans on Scariff. Bail Organa then tells Mon Mothma that he needs to return to his home planet Alderaan, in order to warn his people that war is inevitable. It is plausible that Mothma, and most of the other senators, did the same thing, because in A New Hope, none of those senators are seen either. This implies that the political leaders have all left to warn their people, and only the military leaders are left at the Yavin IV base. Edit (Coming Soon)
While Jedah is being destroyed, Jyn asks Saw to come with her. He simply says, "I will run no longer." It's possible due to his injuries and robotic legs, he simply can't move fast enough and would have slowed them down too much. Getting all of them killed in the process. Saw may also have realized that he had gone too far with his rebel cell. Becoming an extremist and letting his fear and paranoia take over his reasoning. Even after being given evidence that Bodhi's defection was genuine, he decided to have him interrogated by Bor Gullet, with the chance Bodhi would lose his mind. Even afterwards, Saw kept Bodhi locked away. Next, Jyn arrives and Saw feared she was there to kill him. Clearly he can no longer tell friend from foe, so he decided his rebellion was over and that he was done running and hiding. Edit (Coming Soon)