The latest episode of Star Wars Rebels featured two parts and plenty of plot points that made it feel like a quasi-prequel for Rogue One. I sat down and put together a video to explain its ties to the live-action film from Gareth Edwards, and how as a whole the animated series has helped to fill in story gaps between Star Wars Episodes 1-3 and Episodes 4-6. Actually, these little story nuggets are just another reason why the Star Wars animated universe can’t be discounted if you consider yourself a die hard fan.
The proof is in the pudding as they say, so head on down below and find out why I think “In the Name of the Rebellion” is a prequel to Rogue One.
The latest two episode block of Star Wars Rebels once again show how important the recent Star Wars animated projects are to the overall Star Wars saga. We’ve already seen characters from the show crossover into the live action space thanks to Rogue One, and now we have an instance where the live action film gets fleshed out a bit more in an animated prequel.
A majority of the Rogue One references and plot points come from the episode’s second part, but the first part also provided a few nods to the live action Star Wars films. In particular, early on in the episode we see the Phoenix squadron crew meet up with Hera who has been stationed at the Rebel base on Yavin IV. This is the first time the gang assembled at the iconic Star Wars location, which was featured in Rogue One and A New Hope.
These early scenes also reintroduced the crew to the Rebellion leadership, and provided scope for how the Phoenix squadron crew fits into the Rebels’ plans at this point in time. They’re essentially an elite stealth combat unit sent out on important missions that need to be kept under the radar, so again the tie between Rebels and the live action Rogue One and A New Hope is strong.
More importantly, this first episode exposed why the Rebellion is at odds with Saw Gerrera by the time Rogue One comes around. He openly calls out their leadership while grilling Mon Mothma over her inability to act aggressively and violently against the Empire. We also learn from Mon Mothma that Saw has been using Empire-like tactics to get his information on key Imperial installments, which is the main reason why the Rebellion will not openly work with, or associate with Saw’s cell.
These moments helped to set the stage for the Rogue One plot point fest in the second part, which featured a mission by Saw, Ezra, and Sabine to find the Empire’s secret weapon Saw has been prodding the Rebels about. At this point the Rebellion has no clue about the Death Star, but Saw has been putting the pieces together on his own based on his mission with Ezra and Kanan to Geonosis from last season, in which they all learned that the entire population was wiped out to keep the Empire’s weapon a secret.
With Saw’s information they track down a civilian freighter that happens to be transporting a massive cyber crystal, as well as civilian prisoners. Obviously to longtime fans it’s clear that this massive crystal is to be used for the Death Star’s weapon, but at this point in the saga the Rebels only have an idea on what a crystal of this size could do if it was weaponized.
We also learn from one of the prisoners that they’ve heard about the Empire talking about Jedha and its ties to energy rich materials, so another tie to Rogue One is casually referenced in this episode.
Once Saw, Ezra, and Sabine get past a few Death Troopers, which I might add are also nods to Rogue One — the first film to feature the all black trooper specialists — they find the kyber crystal and Saw deduces that it will lead them to the location of the Empire’s secret weapon.
While he was right with his thinking, their discovery aboard the freighter causes another nod to Rogue One when an Imperial officer tells his superior that he needs to contact Director Krennic, because the crystals location has been discovered by Rebels.
Due to this the freighter pulls out of hyperspace early and is met by a Star Destroyer. Realizing that the gig is up and that he didn’t find the secret weapon, Saw decides to blow the crystal to smithereens, which also takes out the Star Destroyer.
In two short episode of Star Wars Rebels we were treated to many nods to Rogue One and the live action Star Wars movie universe. We saw the Phoenix squadron make its way to Yavin IV. We found out exactly why Saw isn’t part of the Rebellion at large. We got an inside look at a few key moments that set major events featured in Rogue One into motion.
The ties between this animated series and the live action films that got us all into Star Wars in the first place are just too strong to ignore, and so far this final season of Rebels is shaping up to be one of the most influential and informative takes on the main events of the Skywalker Saga. If you love Star Wars lore you simply can no longer ignore these properties, so get over whatever may have held you back, and fire up Star Wars Rebels today, you will not be disappointed in the connections it shares with the live action Star Wars universe.
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