This article has been updated.
Essential to the Rebel Alliance’s attack on the Shield Gate above the planet Scarif, Red Leader and Gold Leader proved their heroism and skills at piloting their Y-wing and X-wing starfighters. But, these two famous pilots almost didn’t make it into the epic final battle of Rogue One.
Though Rogue One takes place shortly before the events of A New Hope, the original Star Wars film was obviously made 40 years ago. And, though actor Angus MacInnes (Gold Leader) is still very much alive, Drewe Henley (Red Leader) is deceased. So how did both fly their spaceships in the climactic battle in Rogue One? It turns out director Gareth Edwards found some archival footage from the original Star Wars, but he almost didn’t go through the process of incorporating it into the new movie.
“It’s the sort of thing you think, ‘How many people will notice?’ Do you know what I mean? It’s like, is this a lot of effort for very little reward?” Edwards said.
But, Edwards’s efforts were rewarded when he saw a screening of Rogue One with an audience in Los Angeles: “…there was this massive cheer at [that] particular point in the film,” he told The Radio Times. “It was the only time during the premiere where I actually punched the air.”
Rogue One, complete with vintage Star Wars pilot footage, is out now.