When I, like many of you, sat down to watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Opening Night, I was exhilarated. Yet, lingering down deep was a sense of… I’ve never been able to put my finger on it. Not sadness, not fear that the film would be poor… perhaps a sense of reverence. Reverence coupled with a slight sense of trepidation. This is THE sequel. I’d waited so long. Not “They’d better not screw it up.” More like “It better fit with the rest. There’d better be a connection.”
I needed a connection. Any connection. Okay, okay. I needed more than any connection. I needed a connection to the prequel trilogy. I love Episodes I–III. I’ve written about them, defended them, and praised their merits. They’re excellent films. They’re worthy of the name Star Wars and deserve equal footing with the vaunted Original Trilogy.
I got what I wished for. In addition to podracing flags and clone references, I received more than I could have hoped for: an Ewan MacGregor cameo (even if simply by voice). It may seem strange to you, but this little touch caused me to give The Force Awakens my approval… almost like the grumpy old veteran on the time finally acknowledging the young upstart – “OK, kid, you belong.”
I was worried about a connection in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story also. I know, the very idea that the story directly ties to A New Hope should be enough. But I needed something more. Something to unite this film not just to the seven main films, but to the canon as a whole.
Although Lucasfilm’s decision to establish a new unified canon (which spans across the films, animated series, novels, and comic books) was controversial, it was necessary. The old Expanded Universe had become bloated, confusing, and (at times) contradictory with other works.
I love it. I was thrilled when Admiral Trench was mentioned in Tarkin. I couldn’t believe my eyes when Luke battled some of Grievous’ old magnaguards in the new Star Wars comic. I had to re-read the page several times when Aftermath mentioned “Fulcrum.”
Some of you reading may not “get” those references, but many of you do. For those of us who view Star Wars as much more than just the original three films, this is epic. For those of us who have grown to love and appreciate the Star Wars saga in all of its facets and forms, this is a dream come true.
Back to Rogue One. My connection to the canon?
Saw Gerrera. When I heard that the Clone Wars character was to be included in Rogue One, I was sold. What a phenomenal choice. No matter how big or small his role ends up being, the mere inclusion of his character both validates the amazing Clone Wars animated series and helps establish Rogue One as another integral, correlated part of the new canon.
I for one, cannot wait for December to see what other connections to previous films, series, and books exist in the newest chapter of the Star Wars saga.
The Cantina Cast
The wretched hive your Jedi Master warned you about!
*You can find Adam on Twitter @adamcs83. You can also find him on the Topps Star Wars Card Trader app using the same handle!