Star Wars Spinoff Rogue One: 5 Quick Things You Need To Know

While die-hard Star Wars fans have spent the last few hours celebrating and speculating about Rogue One - the recently titled Gareth Edwards-directed spin-off movie coming in 2016 – there are understandably a lot of people still left in the dark. After all, unless a person knows exactly how Rogue One is defined within in the context of the legendary sci-fi franchise, the new title is completely meaningless. It’s those individuals who we are here to help.

In general terms, Rogue One is the leader of Rogue Squadron, a unit of pilots fighting with the Rebel Alliance against the evil Galactic Empire. But when did this group form? Who are the members? Where have we seen them before? All of these questions and more will be answered below!

Star Wars

Rogue Squadron Was Formed Right After The Battle Of Yavin

It’s not entirely clear at this point exactly where Rogue One is going to be set on the expansive Star Wars timeline, but we do know one thing: there’s a possibility that it could be set in the aftermath of the first Death Star’s obliteration as seen in Star Wars: A New Hope. It was after this decisive victory – which has been dubbed The Battle Of Yavin - that Rogue Squadron was formed, primarily out of the Red Squadron group of X-Wing pilots that wound up blowing up the Empire’s planet-destroying starship. Of course, it wasn’t just the cross-winged vehicles that wound up being utilized by the newly formed unit…

Star Wars

It’s Not All About The X-Wings

Given that one wound up being the primary vehicle of choice for Luke Skywalker in the original trilogy, X-Wings most definitely rank as some of the most popular ships in the Star Wars universe - but they’re not necessarily the ideal equipment in every entanglement that Rogue Squadron finds itself in. So while the group may have been founded by X-Wing pilots, and typically do operate those specific fighters, it’s not always those specific fighters that wind up being flown during missions. As seen in the no-longer-canon expanded universe, the squad has been known to utilize A-Wings (for speed), B-Wings (for bombing raids) and Y-Wings (for transport/escort). They’ve even been known to use specific vehicles while navigating planets with specific eco-systems – but the truth is that anyone who considers themselves a Star Wars fan already knows this, because they’ve already seen Rogue Squadron do it…

Star Wars

You’ve Already Seen Rogue Squadron In Action Before

Following today’s exciting Rogue One announcement, there are surely many of you who feel a bit out of the loop where Star Wars is concerned. Well, I have some good news for you: if you’ve seen The Empire Strikes Back then that means you are already ahead of the curve by having already seen Rogue One and Rogue Squadron in action. This is because it was during the Battle of Hoth in the film’s opening sequence that the group was introduced into canon flying around in Snowspeeders (it should be noted that, according to literature, this was an augmented version of the Rogues lineup because of the specialty vehicles being used, but it still counts!)

Star Wars

Rogue Squadron Features The Best Of The Best Pilots The Rebel Alliance Has

It’s not in any way a stretch to imagine that the Star Wars franchise would be interested in making a movie about a rag-tag group of underdog Rebel pilots who overcome staggering odds and score a decisive sin for the Alliance, but that’s not the movie that Rogue One is going to be. Rather, the titular call sign is actually given to the best pilot that the Rebels have, and the rest of Rogue Squadron’s roster are filled with the elite and most talented individuals to work alongside their leader. This surely means that the upcoming film will present plenty of opportunities for skilled, badass flying maneuvers, but also a great deal of drama between the characters in the unit.

Star Wars

Some Very Important Characters Have Been Assigned The Rogue One Call Sign

As you’ve been reading this feature, you’ve probably been putting the pieces and hints together, but allow me to solve the puzzle for you: Luke Skywalker was one of the first Rebels to be identified as Rogue One a.k.a. Rogue Leader. That being said, he isn’t the only one has served the leadership role and is recognizable to Star Wars fans. In the now non-canonical Expanded Universe, Wedge Antilles – Luke’s good friend and fellow X-Wing pilot introduced in Star Wars: A New Hope - also held the title for a time (including the Battle of Endor in Return of the Jedi, where the team apparently redubbed itself Red Squadron again for nostalgia). Of course, given the fact that Felicity Jones is set to be the lead character in the Rogue One film, we’re expecting that she will play a new person holding the position in the Gareth Edwards-directed movie.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.