So, you've just watched Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Thrilled by the war film, the new cast members, and the insanely exciting conclusion to the movie, you're now desparate for more. Yes, every Star Wars film is someone's first, and this time, that's you. So what did that ending mean, and why were the big Star Wars fans in the audience freaking out so much?
Read on for full SPOILERS and an explanation.
The end of the film saw a group of soldiers from the Rebel Alliance copying over the Death Star plans that Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor successfully stole and transmitted to Admiral Raddus's ship. Taking the plans on a data chit, they retreated to their own ship, a rather famous one in the Star Wars universe called the Tantive IV. Of course, Darth Vader attacks, killing several of the Rebels as they made their escape, but escape they did, on the ship.
Once on the Tantive IV, the Rebel soldiers turn their data over to a woman in a white gown - Princess Leia of Alderaan. Daughter of Senator Bail Organa, Leia, along with her father, is a member of the Rebel Alliance, and a high-ranking member at that. Her father was one of the founders, and has been working to resist the Empire literally since its organization. And this is very nearly where the original Star Wars movie, now also known as Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope picks up.
In that film, having traced the Rebel transmission of the Death Star plans to the Tantive IV, Darth Vader and his stormtroopers board the ship. Leia manages to put the data chit in her astromech, R2-D2, and sends him away from the ship with his counterpart C-3PO. You may have recognized them at the Rebel base in Rogue One.
The Imperials, including Darth Vader, interrogate Leia and her men, and take her captive, and that's where the next adventure truly begins.
The ending used some advanced CGI techniques from Industrial Light and Magic (ILM), mapping actress Carrie Fisher's face onto another actress's performance to pull off having the character show up at the end of Rogue One. The idea was to have Rogue One so closely and inextricably linked to A New Hope that fans could see how its origin came directly out of that movie's beginnings.
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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is in theaters now. Directed by Gareth Edwards, it's the first of the new standalone features from Lucasfilm and Disney, which take place outside the core "Skywalker Saga" of films noted by an Episode number. Rogue One tells the story of the small band of rebels that were tasked with stealing the plans to the first Death Star. The story spins directly off the opening crawl from the original Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. In that crawl, it read: "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."