Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens may have brought us back to a galaxy far far away, but this was just the beginning of a new chapter in the Star Wars Saga. In a pause between the episodic films, Rogue One will fill in some of the blanks in the story. Set just before A New Hope, this new anthology movie follows Rebel Alliance soldiers as they embark on their most dangerous mission yet — to steal the plans to the Death Star.
In the last few months, more details on Rogue One have been revealed — a of the characters, a to the animated shows, and an that was let slip at Star Wars Celebration.
Because Rogue One is an anthology film, it would be easy to write this movie off as a spin-off, with little to do with the main Saga films. However, there are plenty of connections to the episodic films, other than the fact that Jyn Erso’s team will retrieve the very plans that Princess Leia hides at the start of A New Hope. There are some key themes, and important revelations about the Force, ready to be revealed in Rogue One — and this may well link into Star Wars Episode VIII too, if are anything to go by.
A New Planet: The Jedi Haven
Two new planets have so far been revealed by the Rogue One creative team: Scarif, the tropical paradise that plays host to an epic battle between the Empire and the Rebellion (remember the AT-ATs in the trailer?) — and Jedha, a Jedi pilgrimage site.
Director Gareth Edwards already spoke about how Jedha is “the Mecca of Star Wars”, and now Entertainment Weekly has released some new details about this planet’s importance to all those who believe in the Force. Jedha is a sacred site to the Jedi, so it’s no surprise that the Empire quickly invaded this planet.
“It’s a place where people who believe in the Force would go on a pilgrimage. It was essentially taken over by the Empire. It’s an occupied territory… for reasons we probably can’t reveal.”
Occupying Jedha is no doubt part of the Empire’s grand plan to suppress any potential Jedi uprisings, and keep those who believe in the Force under their control. But Edwards’ comment also hints that Jedha is the home of something that the Empire sees as a threat — a sacred relic perhaps, or an ancient Jedi temple.
This would not only establish a connection to other movies in the franchise, but the TV shows as well — it could be that for many aspects that will have great plot importance in the films. After all, Jedi temples and ancient relics played a huge role in Season 2 of the animated show, and of course the mysteries of the holochron will be revealed in Season 3.
It’s All Coming Together
One of the most fascinating things about Star Wars is that even across its sprawling narrative — admittedly streamlined now that the EU is no longer canon — this is just one giant story. Rogue One isn’t just about stealing the Death Star plans, it’s filling in the blanks between the prequels and original trilogy. And that means establishing why the Jedi way is considered an ancient, “hokey religion” by the time A New Hope rolls around — although this was just nineteen years after Order 66 wiped the majority of the Jedi out.
This is probably thanks to the Empire’s campaign of suppression, stifling any Jedi uprisings before they could happen, and perpetuating the idea that the Jedi were crazy mysticists. Edwards touched on this when speaking to EW:
“The Force is basically in Star Wars like a religion, and they’re losing their faith in the period that we start the movie.”
Although Rogue One won’t feature any Jedi as main characters, this anthology film might have a lot more to do with the Force than we expected. Jedha will no doubt play a large part in this, as will Chirrut Imwe — Donnie Yen’s character believes strongly in the Force, and his role in the story may lead the rest of the team to start believing in this ancient religion once again.
It’s important to have a core theme in Star Wars films, and it’s possible that the hints about the Jedi in Rogue One will become all the more relevant when December 2018 rolls around — have already pointed towards the origins of the Force being a major plot point in Star Wars Episode 8. Could Jedha have something to do with this? Is it possible that this planet was the place the Force was first discovered?
We’ll just have to wait and see on that front, and while these Rogue One revelations don’t say much one way or another, it seems certain that Jedha is about to become very plot relevant. Keep your eyes peeled for more hints in the new trailer, which drops on Thursday!
For more about how the narrative of Star Wars is woven together, check out Rebels’ Sam Witwer explaining how Force users find one another…
…and tell us in the comments: What do you think is hidden on Jedha?
MP staff writer and editor. I talk about superheroes a lot. Sometimes I’m paid for it.