Rogue One also connects to The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels in a few subtle ways. Saw Gerrera, one of the main characters, first debuted in The Clone Wars and recently appeared again in Rebels. Furthermore, from Rebels, the famous ship The Ghost, as well as one of its crew members, Chopper, make brief appearances in Rogue One. Towards the end of the film, “General Syndulla” can be heard over background speakers at the Rebel Alliance base, and when Jyn and Cassian are looking through the Citadel projects, Jyn calls out Black Saber, which references an infamous lightsaber that originates in The Clone Wars and has resurfaced in Star Wars Rebels.
Easter eggs aside, Rogue One was very nostalgic for fans of the original trilogy movies. Saw Gerrera says the iconic phrase, “It’s a trap!” which was also said by Admiral Ackbar in Return of the Jedi. K-2SO, the ever-humorous reprogrammed Imperial droid, says, “I have a bad feeling about this.” as he, Jyn, and Cassian infiltrate the Citadel. That same phrase has been said in all seven Star Wars episodes. Darth Vader again displays his infamous force choke during a meeting with Director Krennic in his castle on an unnamed planet, which is in fact Mustafar, the place where Vader suffered his severe wounds that caused him to dawn his menacing suit in Revenge of the Sith.
Those particular scenes on Mustafar gave chills to fans of the prequels as viewers got to briefly see the first look of Darth Vader out of his suit since Episode III, bearing a similar resemblance to how he looked after his fatal fight with Obi-Wan Kenobi. In one of the final scenes of the film, Vader boards a rebel ship and cuts the crew down in a horrific assault with his crimson lightsaber, and viewers are reminded just how powerful and terrifying he truly is. However, a small group of rebels managed to pass on the Death Star plans Vader was after and just barely escape his wrath before delivering the plans to Princess Leia Organa.
Looking at the movie in general, the main theme behind everything seemed to be trust. Jyn said to Cassian near the beginning of the film, “Trust goes both ways.” Jyn and Cassian both lost and found trust in one another. Jyn had to put her trust in the Rebel Alliance. She lost her trust in her father Galen when he joined the Empire, but that trust was renewed when she realized he joined them to rig a trap in the Death Star. Saw was another example of trust, or rather, a lack thereof. In his old age, he believed everything was a lie, a trap, or some form of deception. He even thought Jyn may’ve sought him out, not as a friend, but as an enemy, which was certainly not the case. All throughout the film, trust came into play at every turn. It drove characters, deterred them, and reshaped them.
Overall, this movie was everything any Star Wars fan could expect it to be and much more. It revitalized the franchise. Though the movie had a darker end with almost the entire crew dying in fiery explosions (save for K-2SO, who was killed from blaster fire), things lightened up a bit with a hopeful tone from Princess Leia as the rebels escaped with the Death Star plans, putting the events of A New Hope in motion. I’d strongly recommend this to anyone interested in the Star Wars franchise (despite what others may tell you or what you yourself may feel about the film before seeing it) as well as anyone looking for an action-packed, yet still meaningful film.