In Star Wars canon, Easter Eggs aren't just fun little self-referential tidbits for fans to pick up on — they're key to establishing a wider narrative, tying this vast story together. In many ways, Rogue One was just one giant Easter Egg: Leading directly into A New Hope, this anthology movie succeeded in immersing us in Original Trilogy era #StarWars, while branching away from the main story. And in the process, it reshaped the Original Trilogy as we know it.
While counting out all the awesome Easter Eggs in Rogue One, there was one reference to Star Wars: Rebels that really stood out — and as the producer now reveals, this was no accident.
Get Me A Hammerhead Corvette!
In what has got to be one of Star Wars' coolest battle sequences, the Rebel Alliance used a hammerhead corvette to literally push one Star Destroyer into the other two during #RogueOne's Battle of Scarif. It was a fantastic moment, one in which we all inwardly (or outwardly) cheered at the simple ingenuity of the Rebellion. Yeah, go Rebels! You smash that ship with another ship! It was awesome.
But for fans of #StarWarsRebels, this wasn't just a neat battle strategy, it was a callback to the popular episode "A Princess On Lothal", in which Leia teams up with the Ghost crew to steal these very same hammerhead corvettes from the Empire.
It may seem easy to pass this reference off as the two stories just using the same type of ship, but as Rogue One producer John Knoll told io9, hammerhead corvettes were invented specifically for that Rebels episode, and including them in Rogue One was an effort to bring the narrative universe closer together.
"This came out of discussions a bunch of us had about 'What should the Rebel fleet really consist of?' [The Story Group said] 'Well, they could have the Hammerhead Corvette' and they showed me some images from 'Rebels'. So that prompted me to grab the model and make a movie version of it. Suddenly I needed a ship that could act as a tugboat and I thought, 'Well, let’s use the Hammerhead for that.' So it kind of turned into a starring role."
For Rebels fans, this was such a triumphant moment, as we saw the tangible impact the Ghost crew had on the main Star Wars saga. The use of the hammerhead corvette was a defining moment in the Scarif battle — had they not incapacitated the Star Destroyers in this way, the plans may never have even made it off Scarif and into Leia's hands.
It's a small thing, but echoing this victory back to Rebels is a real piece of narrative finesse, showing the ripple effect of each Rebel Alliance mission.
A Ghostly Cameo
But the hammerhead corvettes weren't the only callback to Rebels in Rogue One — the Ghost crew themselves even appeared in the movie... from a distance. Even before the film was released, we spotted the Ghost as part of the Rebel fleet in the Battle of Scarif.
As it turns out, the Ghost also appeared on the Yavin IV base, in an aerial shot as Jyn and her team prepared to steal a ship and fly to Scarif. And as animation supervisor Hal Hickel explained to io9, this wasn't just a smug self-referential Easter Egg.
"Really it’s just casual and friendly contact between folks at Lucasfilm working on different aspects of the Star Wars universe and going, ‘This would be super cool. Can we put your ship in our movie?'"
According to Knoll, this cameo grew out of a casual chat he was having with Rebels showrunner Dave Feloni, who was delighted at the idea of the Ghost appearing in Rogue One. It's great to know that those creating the Star Wars narrative really care about continuity, and all aspects of the canon.
The appearance of both the hammerhead corvettes and the Ghost in Rogue One was an excellent payoff for fans of the Disney XD show, which strives to tell the origin story of the Rebel Alliance. Rebels isn't just a spinoff show, it's a crucial part of the mythology, and just like Rogue One, it tells the story of the other guys — those not named Skywalker — who were just as important to the Rebellion in their own way.
Basically, Star Wars: Rebels is awesome and you should watch it.
Tell us in the comments: Which was your favorite Rogue One Easter Egg?