When Rogue One: A Star Wars Story announced its title last year, Star Wars fans' ears perked up, since "Rogue One" was previously a callsign heard in The Empire Strikes Back and other stories. It's fitting considering that this story is focused on soldiers in the Rebellion, but the movie's cast and crew have been cagey about what Rogue One specifically refers to in this movie. Is it an individual? An operation? As it turns out, there are multiple reasons the first Star Wars spinoff was given that title, chief among them to separate itself from the primary movies, according to director Gareth Edwards.
Although he acknowledged how Rogue One has been used as a callsign in the past, Edwards told Empire that the main idea for the title (which occurred to him last month) was to distinguish how this Star Wars movie is the first of the franchise to not be connected to the main saga. He explained:
I'd been thinking about it. What does it mean? 'Rogue One' is a military call sign to some extent, but this is the first film that's gone off-piste and is not part of the saga -- or the Anakin story -- so it's the 'rogue' one, you know?
Although Rogue One will feature a few familiar faces from a galaxy far, far away, including Darth Vader, it's the first of the Star Wars movies to not be tied into a trilogy or primarily follow one of the Skywalkers. Therefore, it's the "rogue one" of the bunch, but it won't be the first. Two more Star Wars spinoff movies are coming in the near future, including one following a young Han Solo. Rogue One is kicking off the trend of giving moviegoers a self-contained Star Wars adventure in between new trilogy installments.
However, Rogue One wasn't just given that title to highlights its differences from the previous Star Wars movies. Gareth Edwards also noted how the title refers to main protagonist Jyn Erso and her "rogue streak," specifically how despite her drive to do the right thing, her guerrilla tactics end up causing a lot of destruction. He continued:
It's kind of describing her as well in a similar way. It has [all] these split, multiple meanings that made it feel like the right choice.
However, when asked whether Rogue One could also apply to himself, Edwards admitted he hadn't thought of that before. Whatever reason you like best for Rogue One's meaning, what is clear is that this will quite a different Star Wars movie than the others, emphasizing warfare and grittiness over the more mystical elements of the franchise. Fans will not only learn how the Rebellion first attempted to steal the Death Star plans, but also peer into the more ugly side of the resistance against the Empire that the Original Trilogy didn't spend as much time focusing on.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theaters on December 16.