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The Most Impressive Returning Characters in Rogue One Are the Ones You Didn’t Notice

OK, maybe aside from Vader, but that's cheating.



Rogue One: A Star Wars Story brought Star Wars nostalgia to the screen in some pretty big—and sometimes unfortunately noticeable—ways, but one of its feats of bringing back characters from almost 40 years ago was more impressive than the rest, especially because you might not have realized they did it.

Star Wars diehards probably did notice but may have still wondered: How in the world did Rogue One bring back some of the familiar X-Wing pilots from A New Hope so seamlessly? To everyone else, they might have just been solid lookalikes, or not noticed at all (sadly). Their inclusion in the battle over Scarif was perfect, .

As it turns out, the difference was not only due to reduced screen time and obfuscation by other special effects and flight uniforms going on in their scenes; they were actually brought back through an entirely different method, using never-before-seen footage from A New Hope. As director Gareth Edwards told Radio Times, he was clued in to the unused footage during a visit to Skywalker ranch and asked if he could go through it.

He found extra pilot footage of the callsign report at the Battle of Yavin where the first Death Star is destroyed, and, “Through the magic of ILM [special effect studio Industrial Light and Magic] they cut round them and manipulated them and stuck them into our cockpits.” So what we all saw in theaters was real footage of those original actors placed into another battle after decades of waiting around unseen, and it was glorious.

So go ahead and cheer extra loud at that moment on your next (fourth? fifth?) viewing.

(via io9, image via Lucasfilm)

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Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct Geekosystem (RIP), and then at The Mary Sue starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at Smash Bros.