ByBrooke Geller, writer at Creators.co
Movie Pilot staff writer, aspiring shieldmaiden and friend to all doggos. twitter.com/brookalus
Brooke Geller

This article contains major spoilers for Rogue One— proceed with caution!

was nostalgic in all the right ways; A satisfying account of the events that preceded A New Hope and started our love affair with Star Wars. The inspiring tale of rebel glory was laden with apt references to George Lucas' first space baby, including countless Easter Eggs.

However, a fan recently picked up on an interesting detail during a re-watch of A New Hope that might just be a reference to the events of Rogue One— despite being made almost 40 years prior:

It seems there's a missing place at the table during this iconic Imperial meeting, and it might just have belonged to Director Krennic— who was a little too preoccupied with being dead to get the memo.

Rogue One [Lucasfilm]
Rogue One [Lucasfilm]

See also:

Imperial Chairs

The screenshot was taken from the following scene from A New Hope, which takes place in the Death Star conference room:

The table was surrounded by 12 chairs. This diagram from the Star Wars wiki shows a more detailed seating plan from that scene:

[Star Wars Wiki]
[Star Wars Wiki]

But Wait, There's More

The seat next to Grand Moff Tarkin isn't the only one that's empty. Of the 12 chairs in the room, three are unoccupied— not including Darth Vader's, as he chooses to remain standing. There's one next to Tarkin, and two closer to the door.

The first explanation for the missing chairs is that the number of chairs in the room isn't precise, but somewhat arbitrary. 12 chairs fit around the table nicely, so that's how many are in the room. It could have absolutely nothing to do with how many people are expected to be in attendance.

Sure, Tarkin automatically gets the high-backed, throne-like seat at the head of the table, but everyone else could be free to sit wherever they like. And if I were an Imperial officer, I'd be pretty scared of sitting right next to the boss— hence the two empty seats on either side of him.

Star Wars Episode IV [Lucasfilm]
Star Wars Episode IV [Lucasfilm]

Pulling Rank

But if you look more carefully at the seating plan, there's a definite hierarchy there— hence Vader's position right next to Tarkin. It would make sense that Krennic would normally be seated on the other side of him during meetings. Did George Lucas already have Krennic's Rogue One backstory and death in mind before he even wrote A New Hope?

Another Possibility

Star Wars Rebels [Lucasfilm]
Star Wars Rebels [Lucasfilm]

It's entirely possible that the spare seat wasn't assigned to Krennic, but to another Imperial officer: Thrawn. The ruthless Chiss was one of the highest-ranking members of the Imperial military. He was consulted directly after the Battle of Yavin, and was heavily involved in the events leading up to and following the destruction of the Death Star.

[Lucasfilm]
[Lucasfilm]

It's totally possible that the seat next to Tarkin was intended for Krennic; But it's just as likely that it was reserved for Thrawn. As for the other two spare seats? Your guess is as good as mine.

Who do you think the spare seats belonged to?

(Sources: Comic Book, Star Wars Wiki)