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Sure, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will be the first standalone film set in the galaxy far, far away, but that doesn't mean it's going to be a completely insulated affair. As the story of how the Rebellion obtained plans to the Death Star, the film is guaranteed to be chock full of cameos and references to other installments in the legendary franchise.
That being said, don't expect characters like Han Solo or Obi-Wan Kenobi to waltz into frame at any point. This isn't that type of movie. With that in mind, we have compiled a list of Star Wars characters that could realistically appear during the events of Rogue One. Some of these characters may not be the focal point of the franchise, but they're vital to the events of (and the events directly preceding) A New Hope. Now let's get started with one of the most iconic bad guys in the history of the Star Wars universe...
Technically Ian McDiarmid already came out and admitted that he will not appear in Rogue One as the dreaded Emperor Palpatine, but that does not inherently mean that the character won't make an appearance at some point. Rogue One takes place during the height of The Empire's power, and as such it would make plenty of sense for the face of the Imperial forces to pop up -- whether it be in person, as a hologram, or even as a work of art. The Empire very clearly operates under a very strict chain of command, and if Orson Krennic is taking orders from Darth Vader, then it's entirely plausible that we will see the man Vader takes orders from as well.
One of the most unsung heroes of the entire Original Trilogy is none other than ace pilot, Wedge Antilles. Probably the luckiest guy in the entire Star Wars galaxy, Wedge took part in the Battle of Yavin, the Battle of Hoth and took on the second Death Star during the Battle of Endor. He's a core member of Red Squadron by the time Luke Skywalker shows up to take part in the Rebellion, and considering the fact that X-Wings will definitely make an appearance in Rogue One, it would make plenty of sense for us to get glimpse at Red Two at some point.
IT'S A TRAP! Despite his unquestioned status as a supporting character, there's a strong case to be made that Admiral Ackbar has one of the most iconic lines in the entire original trilogy. Seriously, he's one of the most meme-worthy Star Wars characters of all time. The skillful Rebel general has become beloved over the years for his catfish-esque appearance and uniquely guttural voice, and his popularity made an appearance in The Force Awakens last year a given. He was clearly a seasoned veteran when he made his debut during the events of Return of the Jedi, and as such we want to see him work during some of the Rebellion's earlier campaigns.
It's become very clear that Rogue One (thankfully) won't include a young Luke Skywalker in its story, but there's still ample room for his childhood friend, Biggs Darklighter. As Luke's childhood buddy, Biggs initially left Tatooine to sign up for the Imperial Naval Academy, but ultimately deserted in order to sign up with the Rebels. Despite being Luke Skywalker's close friend, he receives a relatively unceremonious death during the Battle of Yavin, and a Rogue One cameo could go a long way towards informing the nature this once minor character, thus making his demise that much more meaningful.
Another iconic member of Red Squadron, Jek Porkins has become somewhat iconic among certain segments of the Internet over the years. Like so many other characters in the Star Wars mythos, despite the fact that he doesn't actually get much screen time before being blown out of the sky, he has developed a cult following and a rich history. Some fans have even gone so far as to edit him in to the end of Return of the Jedi as a Force Ghost. Considering the chronology of Rogue One in relation to the events of A New Hope, it's definitely within the realm of possibility for this Star Wars legend to pop up at some point to lend some air support.
Between all of the central Star Wars characters who debuted in A New Hope, none is more important to the plot of Rogue One than Princess Leia. In the words of Darth Vader: she's part of the Rebel Alliance and a traitor, which means she has a hand in the mission to steal the Death Star plans. We already know that her father, Bail Organa, will appear during the events of the film, and depending on how close the ending of Rogue One is to the beginning of A New Hope, it would make plenty of sense for us to get a quick glimpse of her iconic hair buns before the credits roll.
R2-D2 & C-3PO
As the first two central Star Wars characters to ever appear on screen, it would be an incredibly fitting tribute to the legacy of the franchise -- which will turn 40 years old this coming year -- to have C-3PO and R2-D2 appear in some capacity. It would also be an incredibly easy cameo to pull off if Princess Leia also appears in Rogue One. Just think about it, R2-D2's decision to wander off and take the plans from Leia in the opening minutes of A New Hope definitely looks like an incredibly premeditated decision. If Rogue One shows us how they planned to rendezvous aboard the Tantive IV, it would make plenty of sense.
Given the fact that Rogue One will focus more heavily on the scoundrels of the Star Wars universe than ever before, it would make plenty of sense for the film to feature one of the most beloved scoundrels of all time in a cameo role. Although he clearly meets a grisly demise during the events of A New Hope, Greedo is an iconic bounty hunter in Star Wars lore, and wholly indicative of the galaxy's criminal underworld during the reign of The Empire. Seeing Greedo shortly before being shot by Han Solo would simply be fan service at its finest, and we need to see it happen.
What Star Wars cameos do you want to see in Rogue One? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!