Star Wars: Rogue One comes out this Friday, the 16th,–well there are technically early screenings this Thursday–so for those seeing it very soon I wanted to make sure you walk into the theatre prepared with zero confusion with what you’re about to watch. Don’t worry, there will be no spoilers for Rogue One in this post. 

This post will be setup as a Q&A with questions that many people will ask before and after the film.

This is your ultimate prep-guide to Star Wars: Rogue One.

Q: When does Rogue One take place in the Star Wars movie timeline?

A: Rogue One takes place just before Episode IV: A New Hope which is the original Star Wars film that debuted in 1977. So to provide a clearer picture, Rogue One takes place after Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and directly before Episode IV: A New Hope placing the film right in between the end of the prequel trilogy (Episode I-III) and right smack-dab before the beginning of the original trilogy (Episode IV-VI).

Rogue One Star Wars timeline

Q: If Episode VII came out last year (2015) then why isn’t Episode VIII coming out this year?

A: Episode VIII is coming out next year (2017). In between the Episodic films Disney is releasing standalone anthology films. For more information see the final question on this page.

Q: What is Rogue One about?

A: Rogue One is about a group of rebel spies–who take on the call-sign Rogue One–that steal the plans to the Death Star in order to blow up the Empire’s greatest super weapon. That’s it in a nutshell. It is a basic plot and as far as I know will not feature any mind-bending twists you have to wrap your head around like Inception for instance.

Q: Who are the rebels and what is the Empire?

A: The rebels are a group of freedom fighters from all across the galaxy that oppose the Empire. Think of it as the Allies fighting the Nazis. Some are new to the fight and others have been thinking about rebellion before the Empire even formed. These two deleted scenes from Episode III: Revenge of the Sith will give you a unique insight into what is to come in Rogue One. You will also notice that Mon Mothma is in both of these scenes and she is an important character in Rogue One since from the trailers she looks like a leader of the rebellion. She also reappears to lead the rebels in Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.

The Empire, on the other hand, is created out of the powers given to the Chancellor who disbands the republic and reunifies it into a galactic Empire. The beginning of the Empire is shown in Episode III and is more fully realized in Episode IV. Rogue One will show the Empire how it is seen in Episode IV.

Q: Since this film takes place after Episodes I-III does that mean I need to see them before I see Rogue One?

A: Technically you do not need to have seen any of the Star Wars films before seeing Rogue One, but if you’re somewhat unfamiliar with the Star Wars franchise then I suggest watching Episode III. Like I said, Episode III is not mandatory viewing but it does help set the stage for the rebellion, the Empire, and even the Death Star.

Q: Are there any other characters besides Mon Mothma that were in Episode I-III that will be in Rogue One that I should know about?

A: As far as I know the answer is NO. But there was a TV series that ran on CartoonSaw Gerrera fought in the Onderon campaign of the Clone Wars. Network for a couple of years that took place between Episode II and Episode III and showed The Clone Wars that were originally spoken of by Obi-Wan Kenobi in Episode IV. In Season 5, Episodes 2-5 [streaming on Netflix] one of the freedom fighters named Saw Gerrara actually has a role in the upcoming Rogue One. In Rogue One, Saw is 20+ years older but he has been a freedom fighter since The Clone Wars and is still fighting against the Empire.

Q: I’ve heard about the current animated TV series Star Wars: Rebels. Do I need to watch Rebels before Rogue One?

A: No. You do not need to watch any of Rebels before watching Rogue OneRebels takes place five years before Episode IV whereas Rogue One takes place immediately before Episode IV. It is possible there will be a TV-movie tie-in but it is either unlikely or if there is one it will not affect your movie experience.

Q: Will Darth Vader be in this movie?

A: Yes. Darth Vader will be in Rogue One since this takes place after he is “created” in Episode III but before {*spoiler his death in Episode VI.}

Q: Will Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan, Han Solo, Leigh or any of the characters from Episode VII: The Force Awakens appear in this film?

A: No. None of these characters will make an appearance in Rogue One [as far as I know] and definitely none of the characters from The Force Awakens since that takes place 34 years after Rogue One.

Q: Will there be a sequel to Rogue One?

A: No. Rogue One is a standalone film meaning it is self-contained, not episodic like the trilogies. Technically, Episode IV: A New Hope is the sequel to Rogue One since it is the fulfillment of stealing the Death Star plans.

Q: Do many Bothans die in this film?

A: This may be a strange question to some but to others it is a pressing issue. In Episode VI, Mon Mothma says, “The data brought to us by the Bothan spies pinpoints the exact location of the Emperor’s battle station…Many Bothans died to bring us this information.” The Bothan spies are not the rebels featured in Rogue One; they are spies seen in the book Shadows of the Empire that is set in between Episode V and VI and Mon Mothma is referring to the second Death Star whereas Rogue One is about stealing the plans to the first Death Star.Image result for rogue one timeline

Q: What do I need to know after seeing Rogue One?

A: If you haven’t seen Episode IV: A New Hope watch that soon after Rogue One since it is a continuation of the film. As previously stated there will not be a “Rogue Two” [sequel] coming out next year. Next year the untitled Star Wars: Episode VIII will come out. It is Disney’s plan to release a standalone film in between the “Episode” films. This will be Disney’s “anthology” series of Star Wars films.
Here is the current timeline for release dates of upcoming Star Wars films:

  • Untitled Star Wars Episode VIII (2017)
  • Untitled Han Solo film (2018)
  • Untitled Episode IX (2019)
  • Unknown Anthology film (2020)

There you have it. Now you are ready to enter Rogue One confident and ready for an awesome Star Wars experience!

Did I miss a question you have? Comment your question below.