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The Star Wars franchise has been churning out content since Disney acquired Lucasfilm, and is showing no signs of slowing down. Gareth Edwards’ Rogue One: A Star Wars Story broke ground as the first standalone film in the franchise, and it turns out that concept art for the movie features an A+ Han Solo reference.

Prior to Rogue One’s release, it seemed like a major risk for Star Wars to produce a blockbuster that wasn’t in the main timeline. But audiences responded well to the story, as well as its inclusion of Darth Vader. Some Rogue One concept art has circulated online, and screenwriter Gary Whitta pointed out the reference to Leia calling Han a “scruffy looking nerf herder” back in Empire Strikes Back. As such, nerfs were featured in the concept art. As Whitta explained,

Well, clearly concept artist Matt Allsopp and writer Gary Whitta are both serious Star Wars fans. Empire Strikes Back is arguably the most beloved installment in the property, and the nerf herder line has been uttered countless times in the decades since Episode V’s release.

The above post comes to us from Gary Whitta’s personal Twitter page, where he reposted concept art by Matt Allsopp. Storyboarding is an important aspect of filmmaking, but that’s especially true for genre projects like Solo: A Star Wars Story. And when crafting the galaxy as controlled by the newly formed Empire, they decided to slip in some references to past installments, including the infamous nerf herder line.

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For a closer look at the nerfs from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’s storyboards, you can check out the art by Mat Allsopp below.

Rogue One's art work

As previously mentioned, nerfs were introduced to Star Wars lore thanks to a line by Carrie Fisher’s Leia Organa in Empire Strikes Back. Shortly before Leia ends up kissing her own brother, she calls Han Solo a scruffy looking nerf herder during a heated argument. For reference,

While Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was a success with fans and at the box office, standalone films haven’t proven themselves as sustainable for the franchise. Ron Howards’s Solo became the property’s first box office bomb, and there’s been no indication of a sequel coming. But now that The Rise of Skywalker wrapped up the nine-film narrative, standalone films could become the new normal.

With the Skywalker Saga is in the rear view, Star Wars will have to tell new stories. The first movie set to do this is Patty Jenkins’ Rogue Squadron, which is currently in development. If that movie ends up making movie, perhaps there’s chance for more films like Rogue One.

While the Rogue Squadron movie comes together, Star Wars continues to expand on the small screen. In the meantime, check out the 2021 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience.

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