This December, Rogue One could kick off a new era of Star Wars films. In less than two months, Jyn Erso and a squad of Rebels will make a dash at stealing the blueprints for the dreaded Death Star, and there’s reason to believe the events of the prequel could foreshadow some major developments to come in Star Wars: Episode VIII next year.
Though Disney and Lucasfilm reps maintain that the anthology Star Wars films — like Rogue One and the Han Solo movie — are “standalone” adventures, even a cursory glance at Rogue One proves nothing could be further from the truth. While we’ll still have to actually see what the movie is like, it’s hard to believe anyone would get excited about the trailer if they’d never seen a Star Wars movie and didn’t understand the significance of the Death Star. In fact, you could argue that even just the trailers for Rogue One require more CliffsNotes than The Force Awakens.
And with that in mind, this looks to be the secret truth of the anthology Star Wars films: They will totally contain portents for stuff in the new trilogy which began with The Force Awakens. Exhibit A has already arrived: the fact that the offiical Star Wars Twitter account all but confirmed that Starkiller Base and the planet Jedha are one in the same. If you thought you wouldn’t be getting specific references to The Force Awakens in Rogue One, you’re already wrong. And this isn’t a reference to something which appears in other Star Wars movies that also appears in Rogue One, like X-wings or something. Starkiller Base is indigenous to The Force Awakens but will now appear in it’s pre-Starkiller form in Rogue One.
Does this mean there could be even more references to Force Awakens and it’s yet to be released sequels in Rogue One? This isn’t to say Krennic could become Snoke or any insane theory like that, but if the planet Jedha is a big deal in the Jedi lore, this could tell us all sorts of stuff about Luke Skywalker in Episode VIII.
Exhibit B in this increased interconnectivity prediction is all about Donald Glover’s young Lando being in the upcoming Han Solo movie. Why would another standalone Star Wars movie feature a young Lando if Episodes VIII or IX in the primary trilogy wouldn’t also feature the return of Billy Dee Williams as the character he originated? Surely, just as Rogue One will reveal things about The Force Awakens, the Han Solo movie will show us something in Lando and Han’s past that will be made more interesting and complex when an older Lando appears in the regular timeline.
With a third Star Wars anthology film coming in 2020 — and after the conclusion of the new trilogy in 2019 — it also seems crazy that this other mystery movie wouldn’t focus on some character, theme, or event which was central to the previous trilogy of films.
And while Rogue One might seem like a tonal departure from The Force Awakens, it may end up laying out more than a few hints for the direction of what’s to come in the big story of Kylo Ren, General Leia, Rey, Finn, and of course, the original main character of Star Wars: Luke Skywalker.