The character of Grand Moff Tarkin, played in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) by Peter Cushing, is revived and "performed" by Cushing, despite his death in 1994. Cushing was resurrected with CGI by Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) with the blessing of his estate, and actually performed by Guy Henry on set. Henry and ILM went through hours of old footage from Cushing in order to get all of his facial mannerisms right. Henry then performed the role on set, while wearing head-mounted cameras that recorded all his facial movements. ILM then replaced his face with a digital mask of Cushing. As luck would have it, a face cast of Cushing made for Top Secret! (1984) had recently been found in an archive, and was of great use in this process. Cushing received a special "with special recognition to Peter Cushing" honorable mention in the end credits. Similarly, with the blessing of Carrie Fisher, the character of young Princess Leia has a brief cameo, with much help recreating her facial features with CGI, while physically performed by Ingvild Deila.
Gareth Edwards and his creative team discovered some old film canisters while rummaging around the Lucasfilm warehouses. When he asked what they were, an employee said they were old Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) footage. The discovery led to the inclusion of unused Episode IV material featuring Red Leader and Gold Leader in this movie.
The footage of some of the X-Wing pilots (especially Red and Gold Leader) including a call-sign exchange are originally deleted footage from the Death Star attack shot for Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) but digitally cut into the footage shot for this film.
The rebel base at Yavin IV features several full-sized cardboard cutouts of X-Wings and Y-Wing fighters, using the same technique of filling out the hangar as in the original Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977).
The space battle features the Blue Squadron of X-wings (as well as Red Squadron and Gold Squadron already known from the original Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)). Blue Squadron was supposed to be in the original film, but because the blue color on the fighters created issues with the blue screen technique that could not be overcome with the technology available in 1977, the color was changed to Red.
After Disney's purchase of Lucasfilm, John Knoll heard about some of the early concepts for new "Star Wars" movies and was not impressed with any of them. He began developing his idea for this film and started talking it up to his fellow ILM employees, refining the story into a 30-minute pitch. People at ILM liked it so much that he was encouraged to bring it to Kathleen Kennedy, the new president of Lucasfilm. She loved the pitch and the movie was put into production.
Anthony Daniels was jokingly disgruntled that Alan Tudyk was allowed to play K-2SO in the relative comfort of a motion-capture suit, whereas Daniels had to endure years of discomfort and injuries in the C-3PO costume. Daniels laughingly cursed at Tudyk after Rogue One's premiere. Tudyk later said that a "F*** you" from Daniels was one of the highest compliments he had ever received.
The studio had only two choices to play Chirrut: Donnie Yen and Jet Li. Yen was approached first because of his salary of $4 million against Li's $10 million. To gauge his interest and as secondary plan, director Gareth Edwards also offered him the other role of Baze. Yen expressed interest in playing Chirrut but was hesitant in accepting it, because it required him to be away in London for five months. However, it was his young son's love of the Star Wars films and comics that wore down his reluctance, and it was his idea to make his character blind.
Darth Vader's appearance in this film is meticulously patterned after his look in the original "Star Wars". While Vader's chest plate is uncovered in later installments, his costume initially had his Sith robes draped over his shield, as well as red lenses in the eye holes of the mask. Considering this film takes place mere days before the original film, the costume designers recreated Vader's look down to the last detail.
George Lucas loved the film so much that director Gareth Edwards posted on his Twitter feed, [sic] "It was the most important review to me he's kind of like God, I will take that conversation to my grave, his opinion means the world to me."
In Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), when Grand Moff Tarkin is announcing the dissolution of the Senate to Vader and the other officers, there are several empty chairs around the conference table. Presumably one of these seats belonged to Director Krennic, who died on Scarif.
Cassian mentions the "Guardians of the Whills" when speaking with Jyn on Jedha before the attack on the hover-tank. "The Star Wars: From the Journal of the Whills" was the original working title of George Lucas' story. The Whills were wise beings who narrated the Star Wars saga to their pupils, explaining it as having happened "a long time ago in a galaxy far away." This flashback format was ultimately deemed unnecessary and abandoned. There is a consensus among fans that the Whills are the species that Yoda belonged to, but this has never been officially confirmed.
The original Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) features one shot of the main heroes standing outside the Yavin IV temple. Although the temple itself was a matte painting, the actors in the foreground, including various rebels and their transports, were filmed at Cardington Sheds in Bedfordshire, England. The "Rogue One" crew returned to the same location to film not only exteriors, but this time also recreated the interior of the Rebel base there.
This is the first live action Star Wars movie to not use scrolling text "crawl" at the opening of the movie. The animated film Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008) also did not feature a crawl. Though, it does still have the standard "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...." opening text.
A jug of blue milk can be seen in Lyra's kitchen when Jyn is hurriedly packing her things. Blue milk first appeared in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) in Aunt Beru's kitchen when Uncle Owen was advising Luke to stay away from Ben Kenobi.
To confer the intended look of the ground battles, director Gareth Edwards and the design team simply took old pictures taken during World War II and Vietnam, replaced army helmets with Rebel head covers, and added X-Wings into the shots. They also drew storyboards inspired by photos from Middle-Eastern conflict zones. Representatives of the studio were immediately taken by the imagery, and encouraged him to proceed with the idea.
At one point, Chirrut Îmwe says, "May the Force of others be with you." This was from George Lucas' original 1974 rough draft screenplay of Star Wars called "The Star Wars," and was used in the similarly named Dark Horse comic adaption released in 2013/2014.
Alan Tudyk initially turned down the role of K-2SO because the start of filming clashed with pre-production of his crowdfunded comedy series Con Man (2015). When Gareth Edwards told him that the filming was moved back by a month in July 2015, he agreed to join the production. To prepare for the role he took mask lessons with a New York-based mask teacher Orlando Pabotoy, to learn to express more through body language. He has since said that the role was one of the best he had worked on because it allowed him to wear a motion-capture suit on set along with the bonus of walking on 13-inch stilts. Tudyk filmed a brief scene where he appears as Wray Nerely, his character from "Con Man", but it ended up getting deleted.
When Jyn and Cassian are walking through the crowded streets of Jedha, they bump into two guys where one of the men says "Hey! You just watch yourself!" These are Dr Evazan and Ponda Baba (Walrus Man) who are seen in the cantina in Episode IV: A New Hope where Obi-Wan Kenobi cuts off one of the men's arms after bothering Luke. The line is lifted directly from that scene.
The idea of a kyber crystal originated in early drafts for the original film by George Lucas, and was first mentioned in the Alan Dean Foster novel "Splinter of the Mind's Eye", which was the first original Star Wars novel released after "A New Hope" premiered in 1977. In the novel, which was based on Lucas' ideas for a possible sequel, the "kaiburr crystal" was an artifact that gave a Jedi immense power over the Force.
Gareth Edwards instructed the art department to only use elements that would have been available in 1977 to get the movie to look contemporary to Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977). The flight control animations, for example, had to be kept as simple as possible, resisting the urge to make them too 'flashy'.
Tony Gilroy was paid $5 million for twelve weeks' work on script revising and re-shoots, especially on the third act. He also recommended the producers hire his brother, editor John Gilroy, to edit the re-shot footage. None of the first two trailers' footage made it into the final film.
During the attack on the shield, the Y-wing pilot "Gold Leader" tells the pilots to "watch out for those towers," a call that he will repeat in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) during the attack on the Death Star.
While stated earlier in this trivia section as, this is the second time Vader is seen in his meditation chamber (a hyperbaric version) this is incorrect. In this film he's seen in a Bacta tank. The same form of rehab tank that Luke uses in The Empire Strikes Back after being wounded by the Wampa. This is a nod to his (Vader's) history in the extended universe, where it's known that he repeatedly spends extended periods of time in a Bacta tank in hopes that it will repair the damage done to his lungs from the lava on Mustafar, as he despises having to wear/use the mask to breathe.
Some tracks of Michael Giacchino's score feature reworkings of John Williams' original Star Wars scores. The most notable of these is the track Krennic's Aspirations, which features both the Imperial motive from A New Hope as well as a slowed down version of the Imperial March from The Empire Strikes Back. This reworking of the Imperial March also appears a few more times throughout the movie.
Gareth Edwards said that he came up with the planet name Scarif after ordering a coffee in a Starbucks shop, a chain that is known for writing down the names of their customers on the cups. The barista simply misspelled Gareth's name as "Scareth."
In both the non-canon Legendary Star Wars universe and in canon materials like the animated series Clone Wars and Rebels, the color of a kyber crystal determines the color of the lightsaber it powers. Jyn's crystal is white, which either makes her crystal extremely rare. The only in-canon character to use a white lightsaber is Ahsoka Tano, Anakin's former padawan in the two animated series.
The highly ranked Imperial officer Tarkin was designated in Star Wars promotional materials as "Grand Moff Tarkin," but in the film Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) he was named only as "Governor Tarkin." He was called that by Princess Leia when she was brought to his presence. In this film he is again referred to as "Governor Tarkin." The title "Moff," which according to printed materials is a kind of Admiral, has never been spoken in Star Wars live action movies. Printed sources beginning in the late 1980s gave Tarkin the first name Wilhuff, which has also never been spoken on film.
At one point during production, it was rumored that Hayden Christensen would reprise his role as Darth Vader but those rumors turned out to be false. In 2016 Kathleen Kennedy revealed James Earl Jones will voice Darth Vader while played onscreen by a stunt double.
In the trailer, Jyn walks out onto a catwalk while a TIE Fighter rises in front of her. This scene was not used in the final film. Director Gareth Edwards later explained in an interview with Empire that the shot was part of an abandoned third-act storyline. However, the marketing department loved the shot because it captured the spirit of the movie so well, and insisted on using it in the marketing campaign, despite knowing it would not be used in the final film.
According to Ralph McQuarrie, the design for Darth Vader's castle was based on the shape of a tuning key, symbolizing the turning to the dark side. The Jedha temple was also based on the same shape but is coloured in white as opposed to the castle's black.
Fallen statues in the desert planet of Jedha, in the beginning of the film, are seen at least twice in the shape of a Jedi lying on their side. The second shows him holding a lightsaber. These are ruins of an ancient Jedi temple as Jedha was a holy world of worship for those who believed in the Force.
The character name Jyn Erso is thought to be a reference to Jan Ors, a character in the video game Star Wars: Dark Forces (1995). In the first mission of the game Ors and Kyle Katarn recover the plans to the Death Star.
The reason for not showing the opening crawl was revealed by Gareth Edwards in a January 2017 interview. "We knew from the start that John Williams would not be available for our film, the opening crawl decision was made before we started filming, Gary Whitta actually wrote one in the first draft, you'll have to pester him for it. I do believe that the opening crawl words are actually floating out there in space somewhere - we just have to fund NASA well enough so their deep space telescopes can find them. Let's crowdfund it and make it happen." A few fans reached out to Gary Whitta on Twitter asking if he would reveal the opening crawl. He refused tweeting on his Twitter account, "It's not mine to share, I wrote it but Lucasfilm owns it."
[28:37]As Cassian and Jyn walk through the crowded streets of Jedha, an Imperial Probe Droid (Probot) similar to the one encountered by Han Solo and Chewbacca on Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) passes in the background.
There are now nine Star Wars films. The only two characters to now appear in all but one film are R2-D2 and C-3PO. Of the other main characters, Anakin/Vader appears in seven films, Leia appears in six, Luke, Yoda, and Han appear in five, and Chewbacca appears in six.
No copy existed of the Death Star blueprint data, as seen on screen near the end of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) during the pilot briefing, requiring the visual effects team to re-draw the entire animation frame by frame for this movie.
Shots of the inside of the Scarif base featuring the railway station were filmed at the Canary Wharf London Underground station. The budget did not allow for creating this additional set, so director Gareth Edwards opted to use Canary Wharf station for its strikingly futuristic design. Production could use the site only at night between closing and opening hours, leaving only a few hours for set decoration and filming. Since everything had to be done in complete secrecy to prevent internet leaks, props and costumes had to be smuggled in and out when there were passengers present. The most frustrating thing according to Edwards was that they were filming a Star Wars movie in such a public place, and could not tell anyone.
In earlier versions of the script, Lyra Erso was a Jedi. This was abandoned in later versions, as the idea of exploring the lives of the galaxy's normal inhabitants, especially after the fall of the Jedi Order, was considered more interesting.
This is the first full appearance of the original "jump to hyperspace" effect seen from the inside of a ship's cockpit since Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983), thirty-three years prior. The effect was seen in a trailer for Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015), but was not used in the final cut of that film. Instead, the effect is mostly obscured by the Rathtar that was clinging to (and subsequently torn apart on) the cockpit window of the Millenium Falcon. An animated recreation of the effect did appear in Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008).
Though existing in the same time-frame as Star Wars Rebels (2014), it was revealed that characters from the series will not cross over to the movie. Although there are several verbal references to characters from "Rebels", both Dave Filoni and Gareth Edwards felt that they should exist on their own, rather than build off each other. Interestingly, the character of Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) was originally developed for the abandoned TV project "Star Wars: Underworld". He then appeared in the scene in an episode four part Onderon arc of Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008) and, following the release of this film, appeared in Star Wars Rebels "Ghosts of Geonosis" (voiced by Whitaker).
Supervising sound editor Matthew Wood confirmed that Wedge, played by David Ankrum did a newly recorded small voice cameo during a Yavin 4 scene as their ships head out to go to the battle on Scarif. He is credited as an 'additional voice' and is not on the cast list as Wedge.
There is mention of a secret Imperial technology used by the First Order in Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017). As Jyn looks for the Death Star plans in the Scarif vault, she sees a topic named "Hyperspace Tracking." This is the technology that enables the First Order to chase the Resistance fleet even as they travel through hyperspace.
At least two of the astromechs seen in the background on the Resistance base on D'Qar in Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015) can also be spotted rolling around the rebel base on Yavin IV, namely R4-M9 and R5-X3.
The giant laser dish is the last part added to the original Death Star to make it complete. The second Death Star in Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983) has its laser dish already attached (and fully operational) even when the station's superstructure was still incomplete.
Several scenes from the trailers that didn't make it into the finished movie were the result of so called "Indie Hours". During those indie hours, the crew spontaneously shot scenes to see what results they would get, regardless if they will make it into the finished film or not. In one instance, when Felicity Jones was walking through the tunnel of the Imperial Archive set to go to her next scene, a crew member switched the lights on. Another crew member called her, and she instinctively turned around. Director Gareth Edwards was so taken by that composition that he instructed the crew to let the cameras roll. He initially asked for 10 seconds, but they ended up spending half an hour filming about 17 takes. When Edwards had to assemble the trailer, he included one take of that particular scene. Even though he knew that it wouldn't make it into the finished film, he was still proud of it.
Rebel Alliance soldiers in the battle for Scarif are seen wearing M1 helmets, a type of helmet used by the US military from 1941 to 1984, only solidifying that the scene inspired by battles fought on tropical islands like Tarawa and Pelelui in the Pacific Theater of World War 2.
Disney's decision to expand the Star Wars film franchise with Rogue One (2016) and making it the first installment of a anthology series of spin-off movies was influenced by the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe). Marvel Studios was reorganized by Disney in August 2015. The 2nd film in the anthology series Solo: A Star Wars Story was released in 2018.
When Jyn and Cassian are at the rebel base and first enter the transport to Jedha, there are two red Z's briefly visible above the door. This is one of the few times in the Star Wars universe when Latin characters are seen. Similar letter Z's appear on the hull of Snowspeeders in Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980).
When Jyn is taken on board the ship to start the mission (and her adventure within the story) she has a weapon which Cassian had to decide whether or not she should keep. Like all hand weapons/blasters in Star Wars, most are based on real weapons. Hers was based on a German Luger P-O8, revealed by the hand grip and unique rear section.
Michael Giacchino is the only composer to have composed film scores for both the Star Wars and Star Trek franchises. He previously composed the music for the J.J. Abrams Star Trek movies. Rogue One marks Giacchino's first entry in the Star Wars franchise.
Each of the first two Star Wars Anthology films, "Rogue One" and "Solo", end with a ship en route to Tatooine. In "Rogue One," it is Leia's blockade runner, the Tantive IV. In "Solo," it is Han and Chewbacca in the Millennium Falcon.
In the first trailer there is a scene where captured X-wing pilots are marched through Jedha City. Although the scene was cut for the final release, a crashed X-wing is visible in the background when Baze and Chirrut first fight the stormtroopers. However, this X-wing has black and white markings, identifying it as one of Saw Gerrrera's partisan ships.
Andy de la Tour plays General Hurst Romodi, the bald headed Imperial officer who reports to Governor Tarkin. The same character appeared during the conference room in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) where he was played by uncredited extra Ian Selby. His name first appeared in the Star Wars novelization ghostwritten by Alan Dean Foster.
In the movie Spaceballs (1987), the Mel Brooks spoof of the original Star Wars movies, the main characters fight to prevent the evil Dark Helmet from seizing the atmosphere of the planet Druidia. Druidia itself is protected by a planet-enclosing shield accessible through one large hatch, a technology never used in the real Star Wars universe... until now. In what is perhaps an homage to a spoof the Imperial planet of Scarif is protected by a planet-enclosing shield accessible through one large hatch. The only difference is that Druidia's was a glass shield while Scarif's is an energy field.
The large 'podracer engine' seen in Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015) on both the planet Jakku as well as D'Qar reappears on Yavin IV in Rogue One. It was visible in the first official cast photo and during the scene in which the Rebels form their group to aide Jyn.
The pseudonym 'Lianna' that Jyn uses may be a reference to the same pseudonym, given to Mara Jade by the Emperor when he introduced her to Grand Admiral Thrawn as mentioned in 'Dark Force Rising', book two of the Star Wars Thrawn trilogy.
Jynn uses the same Quadnoculars (a type of spyglass) as Poe Dameron in Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015) rather than the earlier Binoculars used in the original trilogy. This means the Quadnocular design was being used much earlier in the time line than originally thought.
In very early stages of production, Jyn Erso was a sergeant. Even though it was later cut from the movie, several action figures still refer to her as Sergeant Jyn Erso. This was because the change was made after the action figures have already been produced. However, the movie's novelization confirms that Jyn has been given the rank of sergeant by Lieutenant Taidu Sefla.
This is the first Star Wars film of the franchise not to include the infamous Wilhelm scream, followed by Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017). According to sound editor Matthew Wood, this was an intentional choice, as a way to "move on".
Saw Gerrera's character (and name even) seems to be an homage to Argentinian freedom fighter, Ernesto 'Che' Guevara. Both men were considered extremists in their battles against dictatorships, resulting in mixed views of their legacies.
German actress, Alexandra Lange, provided the dubbed voice of Mon Mothma, both in this film and Return of the Jedi despite the two movies being made 34 years apart, and Mon Mothma is about 4 years younger in Rogue One than in Return of the Jedi.
The call sign that Bodhi Rook gives for the stolen imperial ship is SW-0608. "SW" are the initials of "Star Wars"; there are 6 main members of the Rogue One team (Jyn Erso, Cassian Andor, Bodhi Rook, K2-SO, Chirrut Îmwe, and Baze Malbus); and this is the 8th official live-action Star Wars film to be released.
The Death Star plans are kept in a secure facility on the planet Scarif. The name Scarif bears a striking similarity to the acronym SCIF - a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility. A SCIF is a secure facility used to store sensitive or classified data.
During its IMAX 70mm engagements, the film was preceded by the 7-minute opening sequence of Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk (2017). Additionally, Rogue One was one of only two features in 2016 to receive an IMAX 70mm release; the other being Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016).
It is unusual for a Star Wars film to be set in the Classic Trilogy Era, and for a Star Destroyer to not appear in the first scene. However, in keeping with tradition, a ship is seen flying either away from or toward the camera.
Galen Erso is likely a reference to the original character who helped create the rebel alliance, now in Legends canon - Galen Marek. His ship is likely a reference to the movie's title and the crew's call sign of Rogue One, with the ship's name being Rogue Shadow. Jyn Erso is also potentially a reference to Juno Eclipse, Rogue Shadow's pilot and Galen Marek's training droid PROXY may have had some influence in K- 2SO's design and character. This can all be found from Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (2008).
The first theatrical, live-action Star Wars movie to not include a Skywalker. (Darth Vader and Princess Leia are, of course, members of the Skywalker family, but neither of them go by the surname "Skywalker" in this film.)
Alan Tudyk (K-2SO) played pilot Hoban "Wash" Washburne in the TV series Firefly (2002) and its feature film sequel Serenity (2005). The Star Wars movies were one of Joss Whedon's influences behind Firefly/Serenity. The series was about a crew of former galactic war veterans turned space pirates doing legal or illegal jobs as they try to make a living and whilst evading an interplanetary government.
Jyn recognizes the significant project code name "Stardust" as her nickname - at the beginning of the film when Krennic and his troopers land, Galen Erso urgently tells his young daughter to go collect her things, adding "I love you, Stardust".
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
During the assault on Scarif, two Stormtroopers can be heard referring to the VT-15 going out of commission. This is a parallel to the scene in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) where two Stormtroopers are overheard discussing the new VT-16 being "...quite a thing to see..."
In the first draft of the screenplay, Jyn and Cassian survived the events of the film, despite director Gareth Edwards wanting all of the heroes to die. After speaking with Kathleen Kennedy and executives at Disney, he expressed this opinion and to his surprise, Kennedy agreed and gave him permission to kill off the characters.
Features digitally inserted characters from the original Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) release and unused footage from it, including Governor Tarkin, Princess Leia, Red Leader and Gold Leader.
Rogue One is the call sign that Bodhi Rook comes up with to use for the stolen imperial ship that the rebels take to steal the Death Star plans. Rogue Two is the call sign of the rebel snowspeeder pilot that finds Luke and Han on Hoth in Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980).
This is the first Star Wars film in which no one mentions the name "Skywalker." It's also the first (and so far only) Star Wars film without any transition wipes. And, despite being a character trademark, this is the first Star Wars movie that Darth Vader says the word "choke". The only Star Wars film ever made in which no "light side" lightsabers appear or are used (green or blue). The only lightsaber that gets used in the film is Vader's, and only at the tail end of the movie. The first Star Wars film in which no protagonist uses a lightsaber, there are no lightsaber duels. The first live-action, theatrical Star Wars movie to not include a Jedi as a main character. Darth Vader, who is a Sith and ex-Jedi, is a secondary character. The first Star Wars movie in which all of the main characters die. This is the first Star Wars film of the franchise not to include the infamous Wilhelm scream, followed by Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017). According to sound editor Matthew Wood, this was an intentional choice, as a way to "move on". This is the first live action Star Wars movie to not use scrolling text "crawl" at the opening of the movie. The animated film Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008) also did not feature a crawl. Though, it does still have the standard "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...." opening text. The first Star Wars film to introduce locations with on-screen captions. Filmed with digital Arri Alexa 65 cameras using Ultra Panavision 70 lenses. This makes this film the first "Star Wars" film, as well as the first Disney film since The Black Cauldron (1985), to be shot in the 70mm widescreen film format.
In Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), Governor Tarkin announces that the Emperor has dissolved the council permanently, and that all territories are directly controlled by regional governors. Although the reason for this decision was never explicitly stated, it is likely that the Emperor did this in direct response to the battle of Scarif, which occurs at the end of this movie. As this was the first open assault of the Rebel Alliance on the Empire, he probably used it as an excuse to implement some form of martial law throughout the Galaxy, and rid himself of the last governmental body that stood between himself and absolute power.
The Battle of Scarif helps to explain why the Rebel Alliance was only able to muster about thirty starfighters to attack the Death Star, and why they would let Luke, a pilot with no experience in X-Wings, join the attack. The battle severely depletes the Rebel starfighter corps and its leader, General Merrick, is killed in action. Luke is recruited to replace Red 5, who was also killed at Scarif. The battle also adds weight to Luke's admonition to Han that the Rebels "...could use a good pilot like you, you're turning your back on them."
Carrie Fisher (the original Princess Leia) passed away over a week after the film's cinema release in the United States. She was able to see the film before her death and reportedly squealed with joy at seeing the younger version of herself at the end of the movie.
In trailers and promotional footage, Jyn and Cassian are seen running through the Imperial base and on the beach on the planet Scarif, with Jyn carrying the data storage device holding the Death Star plans. Like many promo shots, such as Jyn standing in an Imperial hallway without her helmet, and a TIE Fighter rising in front of her on a catwalk at the top of the tower on Scarif, these scenes were not used in the final film, where the data storage device was only ever taken to the top of the tower. According to director Gareth Edwards, some shots were cut when the final act of the film was changed and their characters didn't survive at the end. Originally the transmission tower was located away from the base, requiring the Rebels to run along the beach towards it. Because this sequence was taking too long, it was decided to re-shoot it, with the tower now conveniently located in the same building. During an interview with the Director's Guild, Edwards also admitted that at the end of each shooting day, the cast and crew would frequently have fun with the sets and costumes at their disposal. They ended up shooting footage that looked cool, with no intention of ever using it in the finished movie. However, many of these shots looked so great that they ended up in trailers and promo pictures anyway.
Before the battle of Scarif, senator Bail Organa (Jimmy Smits) tells Mon Mothma that he is returning to Alderaan. Although it was never explicitly stated in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), Rogue One acknowledges that Bail was thus on the planet when it was destroyed by the Death Star.
The droid K-2SO can be heard saying the classical Star Wars phrase "I have a bad feeling about this" while entering the train towards the imperial base with Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor. The phrase is first uttered by Luke Skywalker in Episode IV and then again by Han Solo, Princess Leia, C-3PO, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Anakin Skywalker in all of the other Star Wars movies.
According to Alan Tudyk an alternate death scene for both him and Cassian was filmed, but later replaced during re-shoots. In the original scene, Jyn, Cassian, and K2SO successfully get the death star plans and must run across the beach to another building to transmit them. Jyn climbs to the tower to transmit the plans, while Cassian and K2SO stay on the ground floor to fight Storm Troopers. Both Cassian and K2SO are killed by Krennic during the fire fight. Portions of the scene can be seen on several behind the scenes videos.
The Hammerhead class cruiser, which rams the star destroyer late in the film, is a design which first appeared in the video game, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (2003) developed by Bioware and first appears Canon in "A Princess on Lothal," of the second season of the animated television series Star Wars Rebels.
The list of project code names is: Stellarsphere, Mark Omega, Pax Aurora, Ord Mantell, Cluster Prism, Black Sabre, Stardust. Some of these terms pop up in the Star Wars Extended Universe. Black Sabre refers to Darksabre, a lightsabre-esque weapon seen in Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008) and Star Wars Rebels (2014). Stellar Sphere, Mark Omega, and Pax Aurora are mentioned in the prequel novel Catalyst as secret projects for subcomponents of the Death Star.
With the arrival of this film, Mads Mikkelsen became the first major, credited actor to appear in a Star Wars movie (Rogue One), a James Bond movie (Casino Royale), and a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie (Doctor Strange). Coincidentally, his character dies in all three films. The only other major, credited actor (to date) to appear in all three franchises is Benicio Del Toro (Licence to Kill, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Last Jedi).
Cassian tells Jyn that he's looking for his Jedha contact's sister because his contact "went missing." Previously on the trading post Cassian in fact had to kill his contact when the stormtroopers discovered them.
The film takes place 19 years after Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005) and just before Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) and the film reveals how the Rebel Alliance stole the plans for the Death Star.
The space battle features the Blue Squadron of X-wings (as well as Red Squadron and Gold Squadron already known from the original Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)). Blue Squadron was supposed to be in the original film, but because the blue color on the fighters created issues with the blue screen technique that could not be overcome with the technology available in 1977, the color was changed to Red. This also provides a plot point to explain why Blue squadron is not seen in the (chronologically) later films, as Blue Squadron is the only squadron to go down to the Surface of Scarif, and is ultimately wiped out in the battle.
First Star Wars movie to feature a resort-like planet. Awash in leafy palms, sunny weather and clear blue seas, planet Scarif (aka the Maldives) was the designated storage location for the Empire's plans for the Death Star.
The scene where Chirrut walks through the crossfire to turn on the com-link switch while chanting his force mantra is reminiscent of a scene in Little Big Man (1970) where Old Lodge Skins walks toward the river during the Sand Creek massacre, claiming he is invisible. But this is more of a homage to Star Wars A New Hope where C3PO and R2 get through a barrage of blaster bolts unharmed.
The scene in which Chirrut Îmwe walks through a firefight during the battle on Scarif without getting hit by blaster fire is somewhat similar to the opening scene in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope when R2-D2 and C-3PO move unscathed through the middle of blaster fire when stormtroopers first board the rebel blockade runner.
Vader's line as he uses the Force to choke Krennic, "Be careful not to choke on your aspirations, director," is a clever pun. He is referring to Krennic's ambitions to power (aspirations) being his undoing, and also his gagging on his own lung secretions (aspirations) as he is being choked by Vader.