Rogue One pioneered a new form of layered and morally complex storytelling in Star Wars, and its title alone held many different meanings.

Lucasfilm took a leap in 2016 with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, a project that was appropriately titled for more reasons than one. In addition to the in-universe connections behind the title, it’s representative of the film’s status as a trailblazer for Lucasfilm. As the first-ever anthology film in the Star Wars canon, sandwiched between Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the movie was a refreshing step away from the Skywalker Saga.


Gareth Edwards managed to craft a more mature entry into the franchise with Rogue One, a project that still aligned with George Lucas’ original vision for Star Wars. Part of the allure of Rogue One was also its place in the Star Wars timeline. Not only did it chronicle the Rebels’ daunting mission to steal the Death Star plans, but it also added a sense of gravity and significance to the original trilogy, particularly Star Wars. The layers and depth present in Rogue One‘s storytelling and characters were also aptly reflected by the title.

Related: Star Wars Somehow Makes Rogue One’s Perfect Ending Even Better

Rogue One Is The Name Of Jyn Erso’s Team

Jyn and Cassian with rebels at the rebel base Rogue One

Bodhi Rook’s on-the-nose response to the designation of their shuttle as Rogue One was where the title of their team originated. However, the name has deeper roots. Intriguingly, the designation of the fateful shuttle was SW-0608. This was a fun Easter egg referencing screenwriter Chris Weitz’s son Sebastian, whose initials were SW and whose birthday was June 08.

Rogue One Is A Nod To Rogue Squadron

An image from the 1998 Rogue Squadron game

Rogue One as a title also referenced an arcade-style game released in 1998, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron. Additionally, Patty Jenkins was originally scheduled to direct a Rogue Squadron movie before it was abruptly removed from Disney’s release schedule. Although it has not yet been 100% confirmed as a dead project, the possibility of it being realized isn’t looking promising at this stage.

Rogue One Refers To The Break From Star Wars Tradition

Cassian and Jyn in Rogue One Ending

Now for the more symbolic meanings. As the first of Lucasfilm’s live-action anthology films, Rogue One marked a major shift in Star Wars tradition. Although The Force Awakens was an enjoyable reinvigoration of the franchise, it was largely derivative and over-reliant on nostalgia. Rogue One signified a more self-contained approach to Star Wars storytelling that has continued successfully with Andor. While there were familiar characters in Rogue One, they were delicately sprinkled in as opposed to being relied upon to drive the film’s narrative. Rogue One was a more complex story of sacrifice, portraying a seedier side of the Rebel Alliance.

There were well-documented reshoots in Rogue One that maintained the trend of production issues during the Disney era of the franchise. Most notable among these necessary reshoots was a clip of Jyn sprinting down the beaches of Scarif with the Death Star Plans in tow. Like several scenes from the Rogue One trailers, the sequence did not make it into the final cut of the film. Instead, Jyn and Cassian collaborated to transmit the plans to the Rebel Fleet. Rogue One ending with that transmission, and the deaths of the entire cast, was a bold way to end a franchise blockbuster. The decision to further chronicle Cassian’s backstory in Andor was prudent, given that Rogue One didn’t sufficiently flesh out its characters or its focus on mature and morally murky storytelling.

Related: Where Every Other Rogue One Character Is During Andor Season 1

Jyn Erso Is The “Rogue One”

Cassian Andor and Jyn Erso in battle in Rogue One.

An overlooked aspect of Rogue One was the captivating depiction of its lead, Jyn Erso. Separated from her parents at a young age, then abandoned by Saw Gerrera, and even imprisoned in an Imperial labor camp, Jyn was in a perpetual state of solitude. She was at first unwilling to join the Rebel cause because she feared attachment and was afraid of being cast aside by yet another group. Jyn had a more nuanced and compelling arc in Rogue One​ than traditional Star Wars heroes like Anakin, Luke, and Rey Skywalker. She was the unconventional hero – the rogue one.

Following her rousing speech at the Rebel base on Yavin IV, she finally found true agency. Jyn inspired the group led by Cassian, Chirrut, Baze, and Bodhi, as their support culminated in one of the more emotionally resonant scenes in the film. Jyn’s rag-tag group does indeed go rogue in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, as they lack the full support of the Rebel Alliance when they set out for Scarif. What they do have is each other and for perhaps the first time in Jyn’s life, a genuine sense of hope.

Next: Star Wars Secretly Debuted Another Rogue One Character in Andor (Not Saw)

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