When A New Hope launched what would eventually become one of the biggest pop culture franchises in history, the film gave audiences all they needed to know about the universe. The opening scene said it all: Darth Vader is hunting for stolen plans. Princess Leia is lying about how she got them. Those plans are the Rebel Alliance's key to victory against the oppressive Galactic Empire.
Rogue One changed the way Star Wars fans viewed the original trilogy forever, adding even more emotional weight to those first shots in space. Creating that kind of shift in viewing nearly 40 years later wasn't easy.
How did the filmmakers do it? By capitalizing on a critical moment in fictional history … and ending one story where another one began.
Rogue One and a New Hope Are Like One Big Story
Was it minutes or hours between the two movies? Let's take a step back. In Rogue One, Mon Mothma and Bail Organa discussed a certain Jedi and their need for his help. Organa implied he knew just the person to go get him from Tatooine.
Unfortunately, the timing couldn't have been worse. The Tantive IV — the ship Darth Vader took over in A New Hope — was laid up in repairs, docked within the forward bay of Admiral Raddus’s flagship Profundity.
It thus accompanied Raddus’s fleet to Scarif, along for the ride as the Rebels engaged the Imperial defenders. The Tantive IV managed to get away with the plans, but at what cost?
Vader's Devastator tracked the Tantive IV and followed it to Tatooine. Dropping out of hyperspace, the corvette could not keep the Imperial Star Destroyer at bay. Overtaken in a high-orbit gunfight, visible at least to some residents of Tatooine below (based on a deleted scene from A New Hope, where the young Luke Skywalker observes the conflict from the sands of Tatooine).
While we do not know the exact distance between the planets of Scarif to Tatooine, the time between the two key moments of the escape and then capture may have been one to several hours.
Creating Continuity 40 Years Later
Rogue One went to great lengths to make itself and A New Hope feel as seamless as possible despite coming to form nearly four decades apart. The film's creators even made sure the Rebel Alliance's ships and technology looked as dated as they did back in the 1970s despite having the means to make it look much more futuristic in the 2010s.
Watching the two films back-to-back almost feels like watching a four-hour movie. You get to see the full story arc from start to finish, from the moment the rebels embark on their mission to its triumphant success. Not much time passes between the two separate stories, and that's what makes the connection that much more powerful.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.