In Rogue One, Darth Vader mentions that the Death Star has a reputation for “causing problems,” and Star Wars prequel movies are similarly tricky in terms of the headache of complicated continuity. Technically speaking, the newest Star Wars film is a prequel to A New Hope, which means that by simply existing, Rogue One is adding new information to the Star Wars mythos. Back when George Lucas helmed Episodes I, III, and III, blatant continuity errors between those films and the original trilogy cropped up all the time, and many them will never be forgiven by certain fans. So, by all accounts, since Rogue One contains a ton of fan service, it seems reasonable to assume there aren’t many continuity errors in relation to A New Hope. And yet, if you think Rogue One fits perfectly with A New Hope or the rest of the saga, you would be mistaken, about a great many things. Here’s all the Star Wars retcon in Rogue One.
One of the most important characters in Rogue One is the pushy General Draven, a guy who seems to have control not only of certain military forces, but of people in Rebel intelligence, too. He’s the guy who tells Cassian to kill Galen Erso no matter what. Clearly a coldhearted bastard, General Draven is nowhere in sight in A New Hope. Maybe he was demoted or made fun of to the point of having to quit his job after he was proven to be really wrong about everything?
U-wings and New TIE Fighters
Both the Empire and the Rebels have awesome new ships in Rogue One. The Rebels got the multipurpose troop carrier, the U-wing, while the Empire got TIE Striker. Why don’t we see any of these ships in Star Wars again? The easy answer for the TIE Striker is that they are sort of like the Empire’s version of an airspeeder, meaning there were no other situations in which these kinds of ships made sense in the films we’ve seen. The same case could be made for the U-wing, though it seems like it would have been really handy during the Battle of Hoth. Maybe they couldn’t adapt the U-wings to the cold? But if that’s true, why do the X-wings fly away from Hoth with no difficulty?
Obviously, Rogue One’s heroic Blue Squadron is absent during the Battle of Yavin in A New Hope. Part of this can be explained by the simple fact that it looks like nearly everyone in Blue Squadron dies above Scarif in Rogue One. The main representative of Blue Squadron — General Anton Merrick — is totally killed during the battle. And yet, Blue Squadron seemed to have lived on: Some members of the squadron appeared in the in-canon Marvel comics series, Vader Down.
Where are C-3PO and R2-D2?
After Mon Mothma learns that Jyn Erso and company went to Scarif on their own, the Rebel fleet scrambles to catch up with them. Briefly, C-3PO and R2-D2 are seen in the hangar bay of Yavin IV, and C-3PO says dismissively “They’re going to Scarif.” But, C-3PO is definitely going to Scarif, too: Later in the film, we learn the Tantive IV is hidden inside of the Rebel flagship. Which means, C-3PO and R2-D2 are on that ship, too, because they have to be there in A New Hope. Somebody must have grabbed them and put them on the ship right after 3PO’s quip. Maybe, C-3PO should have said “We are going to Scarif.”
Bail Organa and Obi-Wan Kenobi
A vague reference is made to Obi-Wan Kenobi when Bail Organa confers with Mon Mothma on Yavin IV. Bail says, “He served me well in the Clone Wars.” Who is this line of dialogue for? Because everybody should know it’s not really accurate. Mon Mothma was a senator who hung out with Bail Organa during the time of Revenge of the Sith. Presumably, she knows not only who Obi-Wan is, but Bail’s function during the Clone Wars had nothing to do with commanding Obi-Wan. The prequels establish that Bail helps out Obi-Wan in Revenge of the Sith, not the other way around. It make sense Leia might have some fuzzy history when she says, “Years ago you served my father in the Clone Wars” in A New Hope, but having Bail say it to someone who knows it’s not true is just really weird. The only explanation here is that Bail is so into keeping Obi-Wan’s identity a secret, that he’s made up a fake backstory for why he knows him.
Darth Vader’s Phrasing and Everything About How the Rebels Got the Plans in A New Hope
At the end of Rogue One, we see Princess Leia’s starship Tantive IV blast its way out of the Rebel flagship. Darth Vader should now clearly know this is a Rebel ship as it just left a Rebel battle. This contradicts established events in A New Hope in several ways. First, in the original film Vader says “several transmissions were beamed” to the ship. This is now a little different. The transmissions were sent to a different ship — Admiral Raddus’s flagship — and then put on a disc, and then handed off to a guy who runs through an airlock to the Tantive IV. Vader watches this all happen, so, presumably Vader knows this when he boards the ship in A New Hope.
Second, when Vader kills Captain Antilles, that guy says “we intercepted no transmissions.” It’s a weird denial, because he’s actually telling the truth. Based on what we’ve seen in Rogue One, Vader should have said this: “I saw a guy give a disc to another guy, and then leave the middle of battle where one of my bases got ripped-off.” And then Antilles should now say — post Rogue One retcon — “Hey, man, that wasn’t us. You’ve got the wrong ship. I have no fucking idea what you’re talking about.”
Princess Leia’s Cover Story
Speaking of someone who says, “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Leia’s cover story for ferrying the plans in the first place now seems a little wonky. Presumably, the idea here was to use her diplomatic status to prevent Darth Vader from boarding the ship in the first place. But, now, Rogue One establishes that she and the crew of the Tantive IV were just hiding in the belly of another, bigger ship the whole time. From a tactical standpoint, it seems like the Rebels were just reading the script: Leia’s ship has to be there because it’s written that way, and because she has to have the plans in A New Hope. But, the exact reason why she’s there, and how this is supposed to give anybody anonymity later is baffling.
The Death Star Design Flaw and What Exactly the Rebels Know About It
This is the big one. In Rogue One, the entire impetus Jyn Erso gives everyone for caring about capturing the Death Star plans is that she knows for a fact that her father created a design flaw in the superweapon. While this isn’t completely contradicted in A New Hope, it certainly doesn’t seem like the Rebel Alliance knew what they were looking for, or at the very least, Leia and General Dodonna were not given the memo as to the whole background for the plans. In A New Hope, Leia is skeptical when speaking to Han about the plans saying: “I only hope that when the data’s analyzed a weakness can be found. It’s not over yet.”
This seems strange considering we now know Leia was in orbit above Scarif in Rogue One, so presumably she’s briefed on why they “technical readouts of that battle station” are so important. Similarly, when General Dodonna briefs Red and Gold Squadrons in A New Hope, he says “an analysis of the plans provided by Princess Leia.” But, now, we know General Dodanna met Jyn Erso, though, and presumably he knew all about where the plans came from, i.e. not just from Princess Leia. Dodonna was played by Alex McCrindle in A New Hope, but was played Ian McElhinney in Rogue One, too. Maybe they were just being polite because Leia was standing there and it was too big of a bummer to mention the nice Rebels who died?
Rogue One is out now.