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The following contains spoilers for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. If you haven't seen it, don't read this.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story adds a great deal to the lore of the Star Wars universe, but it turns out, there's even more out there that we don't know. Gary Whitta, one of the screenwriters of Rogue One, recently took to Twitter to answer many fan questions about how the new movie relates to the rest of Star Wars canon, and his answers are fascinating.
Audiobook seller Audible ran an online discussion yesterday about Star Wars canon in conjunction with the Rogue One related novel Star Wars: Catalyst and writer Gary Whitta joined in to answer some fan questions. Some of his answers are amazing.
Jyn Was Never Meant To Be A Fighter
A great deal of the Star Wars saga up to this point deals with ideas like destiny. Anakin Skywalker is the chosen one, or is at least believed to be. Luke is pretty much predetermined to follow in the footsteps of his father. The same is not true for Jyn Erso. According to Gary Whitta, Jyn's fate in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is pretty much entirely due to nurture rather than nature. If she hadn't been forced to grow up fighting, she surely would have been somebody very different. She could have been a scientist like her father if things had gone differently.
We Learn More About Galen Erso's Motivations
Galen Erso was a man put in an impossible situation, forced to make a dangerous weapon, when he himself was a pacifist. Gary Whitta explains that in the end, Galen was, unfortunately, hopelessly naive. For a long time, he believed that the Empire really was trying to bring peace to the galaxy. After that, he essentially convinced himself that if he could make the breakthrough the Death Star needed, that technology could still be used to bring power to planets that wouldn't otherwise have access to it. In the end, he forms his own rebellion by inserting a fatal flaw into the design as an act of defiance.
Darth Vader's Home is a Reference to his Internal Conflict
The obsidian palace that Darth Vader calls home is located on the planet Mustafar, the same place where Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi fought in Star Wars: The Revenge of the Sith which led to Anakin needing the black suit to survive. Gary Whitta says that it was Vader himself who chose the location for the structure, not the Emperor. As such, this scene now shows us the earliest indication that Vader is dealing with internal conflict. Though, in this case, Whitta says it's his opinion, so that part may not quite be official canon.
K-2SO Enjoys the Freedom of the Rebellion
The reasons that everybody joins the team in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story are fairly clear, with the possible exception of one. K-2SO says he joins the team because Cassian Andor said he had to, but is that really true. There's no restraining bolt ever used on K-2SO, and the fact that the droid is openly hostile to so many seems to show the droid has a certain amount of free will. Gary Whitta says that this free will is what K-2SO truly enjoys, and he works with the Rebellion because it gives him an opportunity to use it.
There's Not Going To Be A Team Called Rogue Two
While we already knew, before this film came out, that there were no real plans for a sequel, Gary Whitta takes it one step further and says that he doesn't see the Rebellion ever using the Rogue callsign ever again, out of respect for the team that sacrificed themselves. It's true that the callsign was barely official, it was made up on the spot, but it appears that when an attempt was made to get information on the new Death Star, they were called something else. Although, the Rogue name was used by a squadron of pilots in the original trilogy, we assume they did this as an homage to the Jyn Erso's team. There likely won't be a convert team like this one using the name.
We Almost Saw What a Nerf Herder Was
There is a creature somewhere in the Star Wars galaxy called a nerf. There are people whose job it is to herd them. It is apparently something of an insult to call somebody a nerf herder. This is all we know for sure, thanks to a scene in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. While Rogue One: A Star Wars Story gave us several Star Wars easter eggs and explained a number of other details, one that didn't make it in, but was originally supposed to, was that we were going to see actual nerf herders in the film. Are they all scruffy looking? We may never know.