My 5 Favorite ‘Rogue One’ Easter Egg References That Paid Homage To ‘A New Hope’

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Rogue One was a complete surprise. This film gave the fan in me everything I wanted and more. I had goosebumps the entire time while watching this movie. I haven’t quite figured out where it ranks in my list, but it’s certainly high. The motion picture ties up a lot of loose ends that were noticeable in A New Hope, including why the Death Star was given a thermal exhaust port.

That all being said, I will be going into some SPOILERS here for this piece so if you’d like to go into Rogue One knowing very little, I’d suggest you come back to this article after viewing it. Alright, let’s get started!  

1. Ponda Baba And Dr. Cornelius Evazan’s Cameos On Jedha

A blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment, Rogue One featured a few cameos early on in the film. One of these cameos came on the small desert moon called Jedha. As Cassian Andor and Jyn Erso and wandering through the streets, we see them accidentally bump into a few familiar faces. Those who have seen A New Hope many times will quickly point out that these are the two criminals who give Luke a hard time at the Mos Eisley Cantina bar. This enables Obi-Wan Kenobi to intervene who ultimately removes one of Ponda Baba’s limbs with his lightsaber. The scene is a nice acknowledgment to the die-hard Star Wars fans out there.

2. Bail Organa’s Ultimate Fate Along With Obi-Wan and Leia References

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It was only just a few months ago, when we learned that actor Jimmy Smits would be reprising his role as former a former Senator of the Republic. Though brief, Bail Organa’s scene further cements his ultimate fate in the Star Wars universe. This was a scene that had to be there. After Organa utters the words “I must return to Alderaan” directly to Mon Mothma, you can’t help but feel a gut punch right to the stomach since we already know what’s about to happen to the planet Alderaan. It’s one of those moments you saw coming, but you wish he and his people were warned of their impending doom.

Organa also makes a few other references here that are worth noting. After finishing his discussion with Mon Mothma, he makes a well implied nod to Obi-Wan Kenobi when he states that he will be contacting an old friend that “served him well” in the Clone Wars. At the conclusion of their discussion, Organa also says that he will sending someone who he “trusts with his life” making a clear reference to his adopted daughter Princess Leia. These nods make the scene more impactful, further setting up the events that will unfold in A New Hope. 

3. “You May Fire When Ready”

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Tarkin was one of the wonderful surprises in this film. Though Tarkin is featured more heavily in A New Hope, he has quite a few scenes that add some much needed depth to the film and also showed how much he and Director Orson Krennic do not get along. Those who have read Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel will know that these two have been competing with one another over full control of the Death Star’s completion.

At the conclusion of the film when mostly all of the Rebel spies have been annihilated, Tarkin declares a phrase awfully familiar from A New Hope. As the weapon is prepared to fire, Tarkin declares to his men, “You may fire when ready.” This phrase was first heard when Princess Leia was aboard the Death Star. Tarkin had a “test planet” in mind when he chose her home planet of Alderaan. This became one of Tarkin’s signature phrases and can be heard once again in Rogue One. 

4. A ‘Red 5’ Opening On Rogue Squadron

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This was probably a question fans weren’t expected to be answered in this movie. But alas, Edwards and company continue to fill in some of the plot holes that have left fans wondering for many years. One of the many questions after viewing A New Hope for the very first time was how Luke Skywalker was able to slot himself as ‘Red 5.’ Though it may seem like a random number label to be given prior to the battle over the Death Star Trench Run, on the contrary it is not.

In the space battle above Scarif, we see Red 5 killed in battle thus opening up a slot for a new member to take his place. That member would of course eventually become Luke Skywalker. It’s a small Easter Egg but a nice nod nonetheless to one of Rogue Squadrons future heroes.

5. Gold And Red Leader Squadron Take Part In The Battle Above Scarif

These two cameos were a complete surprise to me while watching this film, but I’m glad they were there. The entire audience erupted in a full applause when we laid eyes on our heroes (Red Leader Garven Dreis and Gold Leader Jon Vander) who would eventually take part in the Death Star Trench Run. Getting to see Gold and the Red Leader Squadron again brought a big smile to my face. I even shed a tear of joy knowing that these brave men not only took part in a battle that eventually won them the plans of the battle station, but that their ultimate fate will be sealed at the hands of Darth Vader’s ship on the assault against the Death Star.

The cool thing is, director Gareth Edwards actually used unseen footage from A New Hope and cleaned it up to place in the infamous space battle scene above Scarif. They did a fantastic job as it fits in nicely during the middle of the battle. This was by far my favorite cameo and reference to A New Hope in this film and I’m so glad Gareth Edwards placed this small but subtle Easter Egg for fans of the franchise.

What were some of your favorite Easter Eggs that payed homage to A New Hope? Where would you rank Rogue One in your list of favorite Star Wars films? I’d love to hear what you all have to say in the comment section below!

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