As soon as Star Wars: Episode VII was announced, the rumors began to fly about what it would contain. From the beginning, however, there were a number of things about the production that we knew were certainties. The same cannot be said for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. As the movie did not follow any existing protagonist, we had little idea where the story would even begin, much less where it was going.
At the same time, once it was confirmed that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story would take place immediately prior to the events of A New Hope, the possibility of seeing classic characters return became too good for the rumor mill to resist. As it stands now, it's difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff and truly know what the hell is going on in this movie. With just a few months left to go, we're going to dig through all the crazy rumors and see which ones have turned out to be true and which were just nuts
The Plot Deals With Stealing The Death Star Plans, But From The Rebels
This one may seem strange, considering that most fans almost certainly know that the new Star Wars film deals with the Rebel Alliance's plan to steal the Death Star plans. However, way back at the beginning, the word was that the movie would focus on the Empire's attempt to steal the plans back, with Ben Mendelsohn's character being tasked with hiring bounty hunters to do the job. While it's still possible part of the movie could deal with this side, we have no idea exactly when Jyn Erso and her team will obtain the plans, but it seems mostly unlikely at this point.
Boba Fett Will Appear
This rumor comes from a brief glimpse at a LEGO tie-in image that seemed to imply that Boba Fett's spaceship, Slave I, was going to be released as a build set as part of Rogue One's merchandising campaign. We haven't heard or seen anything about anything Boba Fett-related since then. While we don't have any reason to completely discount this rumor, it would seem unlikely. The number of original trilogy characters making an appearance are being kept to a minimum, and the fact that the rumored Boba Fett spinoff movie has never been confirmed makes it less likely that Lucasfilm knows what the future holds for the character. There was another rumor that seemed to imply he'd be appearing here, however, and that one's next.
Status: Unknown, but unlikely
Felicity Jones Is Playing Boba Fett's Daughter
This rumor was part of the previously mentioned rumor that involved bounty hunters being sent to retrieve the Death Star plans from the Rebels. Apparently, Boba Fett was going to be one of them and that somehow meant that the film's lead, Felicity Jones, was playing his daughter. The source was allegedly "trusted" and while we're not saying they were lying, we're saying they were wrong. Mads Mikkelsen has let it be known that he's playing the father of Jones' Jyn Erso, so unless his character turns out to be Boba Fett, then this rumor doesn't pan out. That's really unlikely.
Felicity Jones' Character Is Named Lyra Erso
Did we mention people were really curious what Felicity Jones was doing in this movie? This rumor was tenuous from the beginning but it held on for quite some time, and very nearly turned out to be true. Actress Gabrielle Fritz was listed as the photo double of a character named Lyra Erso in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. As Felicity Jones was the only white woman who was confirmed to have been cast in the film at that point, people made the assumption, understandably, if slightly off, that this must be her character. It wasn't until the first trailer came out that we were sure this wasn't true. For what it's worth, it seems that Lyra Erso will be a character in the film, so it's possible dad isn't the only family that Jyn will have.
Mads Mikkelsen Built The Death Star
When we first heard that Mads Mikkelsen would be part of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story there was an automatic assumption, given his career path, that he'd be a villain. This theory was put slightly to the test when he told the world he would play Jyn Erso's father. The rumor had been that his character, believed to be named Galen, was the man in charge of constructing the Death Star. We know for sure that he has "information" that the Rebel Alliance and the Empire both want, and considering the fact that the Rebels recruit his daughter to get information about the Death Star, it would seem that this one is very likely, even if it hasn't been officially confirmed from any official source.
Status: Pretty much confirmed
The Young Han Solo Will Appear
The word that up-and-coming actor Alden Ehrenreich had been cast as the young Han Solo seemed to have been confirmed months ago, but Lucasfilm only announced it at Star Wars Celebration Europe this past summer. It would seem that some took the early casting, and the fact that the actor had reportedly signed on to do at least three movies, as a sign that he might make an appearance in Rogue One. The timeline makes sense. However, we're confident that this one is officially not going to happen as director Gareth Edwards flat out said so. There was no equivocation whatever. Either it's not happening, or he's lying, end of discussion.
Darth Vader Will Appear, And James Earl Jones Will Return
One of the great things about going back to an earlier era in Star Wars is that we can see characters who are long gone in the current part of the saga. Darth Vader's appearance was long rumored and seemed like one of those things that was as close to a sure thing as we could get, until the newest trailer outright put him on the screen. Just seeing the costume is only part of the deal, though. Luckily, it's also been confirmed that the epic baritone of James Earl Jones will be back to give voice to the Dark Lord of the Sith. There's one side of the character, however, that we won't be seeing.
Hayden Christiansen Will Return
To be clear, there was never a rumor that Hayden Christiansen would be back to play Anakin Skywalker, with or without black armored respirator. Instead, Christiansen made a comment that he would be willing to return to the franchise if he were ever asked, and since there was a movie being made at the time, a rumor was born. The idea was that he might play a small cameo role, likely something in a Stormtrooper helmet or lots of alien makeup. It's not happening, though. Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy said "no" three times in one sentence to put the rumor to bed.
Grand Moff Tarkin Will Be Back, In CGI
The last of the major characters from the first trilogy who have been rumored to be joining Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is Grand Moff Tarkin. The major issue with the idea was that the movie doesn't happen early enough in the timeline to justify casting a younger actor and Peter Cushing is very dead. However, the rumor was that Tarkin would be brought back via a very effective, and reportedly expensive, bit of CGI hocus pocus. The source of this seemed a little tenuous so, while we're not discounting it as still a possibility, we're guessing it's not going to happen.
Status: Unknown, highly unlikely
The Rogue One Team Will Have Codenames
There was a time, not that long ago, when we knew next to nothing about the characters that made up the team of Rogue One. We were so desperate for details that we'd take anything. Therefore, when we got the information that the characters, who didn't have names yet, would have codenames in the movie, we hoped they might tell us something about the characters. They didn't even make sense at the time. Felicity Jones' character was being called Seal Leader, while Forest Whitaker's character was supposedly called Eel (not Seal) Commander. Since the initial report, we've heard nothing about the codenames, even after learning more about the characters -- including most of their actual names. This one feels like a game of telephone gone bad. We're also wondering if these were actually codenames used on set in an attempt to keep the actual names from leaking. It's possible this one could be true, even if it is, it's probably unimportant.
Status: Unknown, maybe?
There Won't Be An Opening Text Crawl
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a test balloon in many ways. It's the first film in the franchise not to deal with the history of the Skywalker family. It's entirely new characters doing entirely different sorts of things. Lucasfilm has spoken at length about how they want the film to stand apart from the other episodes. Much of this will be done thematically, but the rest could be done structurally. The idea of not opening the film with a crawl of text has been floated as a possibility. This is the sort of thing that can be added, or removed, at the last minute so we don't know if a decision has been made, and even if it has, they could easily change their minds.
Status: Unknown, flip a coin
Dr. Cornelius Evazan, Wait, Who?
We said we had covered appearances by major original trilogy characters, but there is at least one, extremely minor character, who is also rumored to appear. You likely don't even know the name of Dr. Cornelius Evazan, but you might recognize his face above. He shows up at the Mos Eisley cantina, gets in Luke Skywalkers' face, and gets a lightsaber across his chest for his trouble. Well, some random acting database reportedly contains an entry for an unknown actor which claims that he will be reprising this role in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. We're guessing you probably weren't dying to know what this guy was up to before he went for a drink on Tatooine. We're sure if this one is legit it will a brief cameo, just there for the fans to recognize, but who knows? It could be funny. It could also be untrue and we totally wouldn't notice.