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STAR WARS to Read and Watch Before Seeing ROGUE ONE

STAR WARS to Read and Watch Before Seeing ROGUE ONE

The massive battle station known as the Death Star has a front and center role in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. It’s the first of the Star Wars standalone movies and focuses on the group of rebels responsible for stealing the plans for the Empire’s deadly weapon. Whether this is your first Star Wars movie or your eighth, there are a few stories and tidbits you can consume before the December 16 release help prepare your palate of the delicious taste of a new adventure set in a familiar period in the galaxy far, far away. Here’s what I recommend:

A New Hope Opening Crawl

The synopsis for Rogue One can be found within the opening crawl for A New Hope. Go rewatch or reread it.

Death Star Glimpses

We saw the Death Star in all its completed glory in A New Hope, but it’s showed up at other points in the timeline. Jump back to Attack of the Clones to watch the Geonosian Poggle the Lesser hand their design for the moon-sized spaceship to Count Dooku. Then, jump to the end of Revenge of the Sith. You can see the bare bones of the Death Star looming in the background above Geonosis as Darth Vader, Tarkin, and the Emperor observe.

Mon Mothma Preview

Rogue One sees Genevieve O’Reilly reprise her role as Mon Mothma. She played the character in Revenge of the Sith, but the scene was cut. You can view the deleted scene on the Blu-ray for the film and see her talking with Bail Organa (who’s also back in Rogue One) and Padmé Amidala. It’s not necessarily required viewing, but it’s fun to see her in the role.

Kyber Crystals

The book Ultimate Star Wars states kyber crystals power the Death Star’s superlaser. And if you’ve paid close attention to Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, the connection between kyber crystals and the Death Star’s superlaser has been implied. The Separatists, who were manipulated by Palpatine, itched to get their hands on the crystals known for powering lightsabers and so did the Empire. Watch these animated episodes:
Star Wars: The Clone Wars unfinished “Crystal Crisis on Utapau” arc – available on
Star Wars Rebels: “Breaking Ranks”

The Empire’s hunt for kyber crystals was also referred to in Ahsoka.

Rogue One: Catalyst by James Luceno

Rogue One: Catalyst is a prequel novel exploring the relationship between Orson Krennic and Galen Erso. The book goes into some serious building the Death Star nerdery, too. Based on the 30 minutes I’ve seen of Rogue One, going in with the context of Catalyst fresh in your mind will enrich any scene between Krennic and Erso. It’s not required, but their interactions will resonate more if you’ve read Catalyst.

Journal of the Whills

A plaque at Star Wars Launch Bay in Disneyland names Chirrut’s lightbow as being crafted by the “Guardians of the Whills.” The recently released Star Wars: Complete Locations names a large temple on Jedha as “The Temple of the Whills.” The Whills is a term that goes way back to George Lucas’ early drafts of Star Wars. The Journal of the Whills was a journal referencing the Jedi—a record of events of sorts. Spend some time familiarizing yourself with the concept on sites like Wookieepedia before the film. Trust me.

Saw Gerrera

Want to get to know the extremist played by Forest Whitaker that’s appeared in trailers for Rogue One? Go back to Star Wars: The Clone Wars season five and meet Saw Gerrera. Watch the four part Onderon arc, including: “A War on Two Fronts,” “Front Runners,” “The Soft War,” “Tipping Points.” You’ll see his resistance roots. Those episodes are set approximately 20 years before Rogue One.

Images: Disney/Lucasfilm, Del Rey, Amy Ratcliffe

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