The episodic fashion of storytelling has long dominated the #StarWars franchise, following the saga of the Skywalker family, but #RogueOne proved that fans will turn up for a Star Wars film no matter who the characters involved are. Critical response has been largely positive and fans have taken kindly to the film as well, leaving Rogue One a box office record breaker.
Rogue One not only connects perfectly to A New Hope, but it also answers answers many other questions about the Star Wars universe that numerous fans didn't even know they had. (You can check out a few of them in the video below.)
From the revelation that the open seat next to Tarkin in Episode IV was likely Krennic's and the reason for the Red V callsign to be open to the onscreen debut of Darth Vader's home, Rogue One takes every opportunity to expand the Star Wars universe and while the film has spawned plenty of theories already, there's one more question and possible answer that may have subtly slipped under the radar.
Who Were Those Hooded Figures On Jedha?
When Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), and K-2SO (Alan Tudyk) travel to Jedha to find Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) they first bump into #ChirrutImwe (Donnie Yen) and Baze Mallus (Wen Jiang) who are a pair of non-Jedi disciples of the force. Cassian explains to Jyn that Chirrut and Baze are members of the disbanded Guardians of the Whills, an order that used to protect the Jedi temple and kyber crystals housed on Jedha.
Rogue One only explicitly names Chirrut and Baze as Guardians of the Whills, but Cassian also mentions that the order is still causing trouble in the city. This leads me to believe there is still a significant population of guardians hanging out in Jedha city. I'd wager that the other #GuardiansOfTheWhills in Jedha City are the hooded red figures that we see wandering about in those scenes.
One of the few things that we actually do know about the Guardians of the Whills, is that they are known for having built lightbows, such as the one Chirrut uses to beat down Stormtroopers with on the streets of Jedha. The red-cloaked figures that traverse through Jedha City were also armed with staffs, and though the headpiece is considerably different between those figure's and Chirrut's staff, there's nothing to say that different lightbows can't be slightly different just like the unique lightsabers Darth Maul, Kylo Ren, or Mace Windu use.
So The Red-Hooded Figures On Jedha Might Be Guardians Of The Whills, So What?
Given the similarities in appearance between the red-hooded figures on Jedha and the outfits worn by the Emperor's royal #ImperialGuards, I'm going to wager a guess that those Jedha inhabitants could be connected to the Royal Imperial Guardsmen.
The Imperial Guards have a much sleeker look, a trait that defines the ranks of the Empire's soldiers, but the flowing red cloak and the hooded mask are eerily similar in style to that of the fellows we see on Jedha. Even the cutout for the eyes is similar in shape. Plus, both groups appear to utilize a staff of sorts as their primary weapons.
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Why Would Those Two Groups Be Connected?
First, it's clear that both of Darth Vader and The Emperor are aware of the Jedi Temple on Jedha, since the Empire is mining the kyber crystals from within the city, and that means that they would both be aware of the Guardians of the Whills as well. Now, knowledge of a group of people doesn't necessarily mean they be connected, but it's certainly a start.
Second, that knowledge of the Guardians presents an opportunity for the Empire to recruit them. Clearly the Imperials haven't gone on to slaughter the Guardians like they did to the Jedi themselves, but they did destroy the Guardians' way of life. The Guardians are now stuck on Jedha without a temple or any Jedi to assist. They've been left to an aimless life that leaves Chirrut and Baze begging on the streets.
What if the Emperor presented an opportunity to some of the Guardians for them to join Imperial forces and continue their work as assistants of the force, albeit as traitors to the Jedi?
It's All Connected
Obviously, there's nothing concrete in Rogue One to tell us others from Chirrut and Baze's order may have turned to the side of the Empire, but I think there's enough speculative evidence here to consider the possibility.
The characters' costumes are similar, their weapon's are comparable and the opportunity and skill sets are there. It's simply a matter of finding concrete evidence to suggest whether or not the Guardians of the Whills could have been an inspiration or an origin for The Emperor's elite Imperial Guards.
What do you think about this theory? Let me know in the comments below.