Rogue One Easter eggs that slipped right by you

The Star Wars universe is a pretty complex place, and it gets a little more complex with every episode of Rebels, every tie-in comic and novel, and best of all, when a highly continuity-dependent movie like Rogue One is released. Every tenuous connection makes the experience a little richer, no matter how hard the director tries to hide these things in the fabric of the film. Here are a few Rogue One Easter eggs you didn't notice. Oh, and if you haven't seen Rogue One yet, brace for impact: spoilers ahead!

Blue Harvest

What is it with young rebels and blue milk? As a very young Jyn escapes her family's farm at the beginning of Rogue One, we see a glass of blue milk perched on a countertop, not unlike the questionable beverage that young Luke Skywalker had to endure in A New Hope. The blue moo juice also reappears in Attack of the Clones. Presumably, the junk comes from banthas, but no one is free from it, even on planets where banthas aren't a native species. Someone is importing this junk. Forget about building a Death Star, just corner the blue milk market if you want to conquer the galaxy.

Where there's a Whill…

Back when Star Wars was just a shadow of an idea in the curly head of George Lucas, it was called Journal of the Whills. The concept of an ancient race of aliens deeply connected to the Force has floated around the Star Wars universe since the beginning, but nothing really definitive has been established about them … except for that they absolutely have nothing to with Yoda's unknown species.

Lo and behold, the desert city of Jedha was actually home to the Temple of the Whills, once guarded by the blind Chirrut Îmwe and freelance assassin Baze Malbus. The bustling, mysterious city has super-deep ties to the whole Jedi thing, which is reinforced by the fallen Jedi statues around the surface and the fact that it's absolutely full of kyber crystals, used to make lightsabers. Jedha … Jedi … it can't be a coincidence. And now it's exploded.

The not-so-good Doctor

It's a cameo that's impossible to miss. In the ill-fated city of Jedha, Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor bump into a really, really ugly man and his walrus-faced pal. Visitors to Chalmun's Cantina on Tatooine will easily recognize the duo as Dr. Evazan and Ponda Baba, who try to start trouble with Luke Skywalker and lose an arm to Obi-Wan's saber for the trouble. Apparently, Ponda Baba could easily escape a city going totally nuclear, but couldn't keep his arms from falling off his body in a sleazy bar a few weeks later. Tough break, buddy.

The worst job in the universe

Directing the as-yet-untitled Star Wars: Episode VIII would be a dream job for just about any director, and as you probably know, Rian Johnson scored the gig after directing a few episodes of Breaking Bad and writing the screenplay for Episode VIII. But he also got the absolute worst gig in the galaxy: standing next to the deadly, planet-destroying, railing-less laser shaft in the Death Star. There's literally only one worse place to be standing when that thing goes off, and it's about 6 inches to the left. It's a cameo we wouldn't know about if Johnson himself didn't tell us at 2016's Star Wars Celebration in London.

Budget dejarik and cave monsters

There are a lot of scummy things going on in Saw Gerrera's ramshackle base, including, but not limited to, watching weird holo-porn of dancing Twi'leks … which only reminds us of Grandpa Itchy's dirty dalliances in the forbidden Star Wars Holiday Special. But amid the many props and baubles found in the base is a very bootleg version of dejarik, the holographic chess game found aboard the Millennium Falcon. This dollar store version uses actual, physical pieces and not the hi-tech, animated, holographic stuff. Only in space is chess a game for scoundrels.

Also making an appearance in Gerrera's cave in especially Easter-eggy form are creatures from director Gareth Edward's 2010 film Monsters and his 2014 film Godzilla. The director told The Star Wars Show that it wasn't even him being cheeky; these were slipped into Gerrera's cave by the crew.

Like father, like son

Like all good supervillains, Darth Vader has to have a sweet and scary base. We've only ever really seen him hanging out on giant starships, but early concepts for the character placed him in his very own Snake Mountain, by the name of Bast Castle, on the beaches of an acid rain planet called Vjun, where real estate is probably cheaper than Detroit. While Rogue One flips the script a bit, Vader finally gets his own version of Orthanc on a fiery lava planet, which is presumably Mustafar, the very same place he lost most of his body parts and caught on fire courtesy of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Because there's nothing like building a home on the shores of the lake where your humanity and dignity drowned.

And of course, Vader has to take his cumbersome costume off occasionally, right? We learn that in order to rejuvenate his half-robot body, he goes swimming in his own personal bacta tank, extremely similar to the one we see Luke in, recovering from frostbite and some serious wampa wounds. Though a sassy wampa-slap is a lot less serious than, you know, losing all your limbs.

The Rebels connection

Early intel for Rogue One was adamant about the film having nothing to do with the ongoing animated series, Rebels, but now that seems like a bit of misdirection, for a few reasons.

First, it looks a lot like the Rebels ship Ghost is spotted among the fighters during the film's final battle, indicated by the unique pattern of lights on the rear of the ship. There aren't too many ships' butts that look like a surprised clown, but the Ghost is one of them. Second, the name "General Syndulla" is mentioned, and unless "Syndulla" is the "Jones" or "Smith" of the galaxy, that would have to be Hera Syndulla, the captain of the Ghost.

Some viewers have also speculated on the use of the name "Blacksaber" as one of the Empire's projects, mentioned as Jyn is searching the archives and just before she lands on the file she's searching for, "Stardust." While there are a lot of sabers in the universe, the darksaber is an ancient Jedi artifact once stolen by the Mandalorians and then wielded by Darth Maul, and yes, it has a black blade. "Blacksaber" could refer to just about anything, though, from Darth Vader's hellish home, to an undisclosed death weapon, to Grand Moff Tarkin's favorite pie recipe. Time will tell.

Blasting womp rats

Luke Skywalker, even though he'd one day become a noble Jedi, was a jerk of a kid. To quash his boredom on Tatooine, he'd dream of becoming an Empire soldier and hop into his T-16 Skyhopper and fly around blasting womp rats. Apparently, his love of too-fast vehicles is shared by Stormtroopers, too, since two helmet-heads can be heard on Scarif idly chattering about how the old T-15 models were getting phased out. Do Stormtroopers go on joyrides, or is it just an endless nightmare of anxiety until a rebel blows you up or a slightly perturbed Darth Vader crunches your windpipe? We hope it's the former.

Red Five

The Rebel Alliance existed long before a shaggy-haired farmboy-turned-Jedi came along to save it. While Luke was out collecting moisture in the desert and whining about not going to Tosche Station, a real rebel soldier was flying around in an X-wing with the callsign Red Five … until he exploded during the attack on Scarif. A little while later, Luke would take the same callsign during the Battle of Yavin, destroying the first Death Star. Since, you know, no one was using it anymore.

But he wasn't the only hotshot pilot, and he wasn't even the boss. The head of the Red Squadron, Garven Dreis, survived the attack on Scarif and went on to attack the Death Star at the Battle of Yavin. Original actor Drewe Henley came back to play the role, at least via some amazing CGI work, since Henley was 76 at the time, and passed away 10 months before the film reached theaters.

I have a bad feeling about this...

It's a line that diehard Star Wars fans are intimately familiar with, showing up in pretty much every film in the franchise (and a bunch of the video games and animated shows). "I have a bad feeling about this" popped up twice in A New Hope, and became a running gag in later films. Not to be left out of the joke, Gareth Edwards even managed to work in a reference in Rogue One. We hear K-2SO start to utter the famous line before being cut off by Cassian. A subtle nod, and by stopping K-2SO mid-sentence, it put a little spin on the threadbare gag.

Karabast!

We don't know if the Star Wars: Rebels character Zeb is still kicking around the galaxy at this point in the timeline, but one of his favorite curse words has made it into live action. The phrase "Karabast" is a Lasat expression used in surprising or frustrating situations. Zeb uses it fairly often, and it's been adopted by most of the Ghost crew at this point (most notably Ezra). It's not a very well-known phrase, thought it seems Pao from Rogue One has apparently spent some time with a Lasat or two over the years: when the AT-ACTs break on the beach of Scarif, he shouts "Karabast!"

The Hammerhead corvette

With the Rebel fleet desperate to take out the Star Destroyers (and that pesky planetary force shield), they call in the Hammerhead corvette to literally bash the ships into one another. It makes for an awesome action scene, and the only real question left is why the Rebels didn't use these all the time in the original trilogy (with the obvious answer being they weren't actually conceived until years later, but still). Looking to the Star Wars canon, the Hammerhead corvette was first officially introduced in the Star Wars: Rebels animated series (almost certainly setting up their use in Rogue One). Digging deeper, they were likely inspired by the Hammerhead-class ships in the Knights of the Old Republic video games.

It retcons the biggest head-scratcher from A New Hope

One of the weirdest things about A New Hope was the sheer stupidity surrounding the way the Rebels take out the Death Star. It's ludicrous to think the Empire would've been dumb enough to leave a gaping security flaw in the design, and in Rogue One we learn why they're able to destroy the entire structure with just one well-placed shot: Galen Erso spent years building that design flaw into the heart of the Death Star, burying it deep enough that no one else would actually notice it. The Star Wars franchise has had a sketchy relationship with retcons (we're looking at you, Midi-chlorians), but this little tweak was brilliant.

K-2SO's type of droid first showed up in a mobile Star Wars game

The Star Wars franchise is a big, varied world—and there's no shortage of places to mine when putting together a new story. Case in point: The breakout star of Rogue One, the K-2SO droid voiced by Alan Tudyk, got most of the best lines and was a worthy successor to the legacy of R2-D2, C-3PO, and BB-8. So where did we first see these KX-series droids? In the Star Wars: Commander mobile game, where these security droids were first introduced as Imperial enforcers. Talk about humble beginnings.

Kyber crystals are crazy important

Aside from sporadic mentions across the canon as the McGuffin that powers lightsabers, Kyber crystals haven't really played a massive role in the Star Wars canon. Until now. They're a massive plot point in Rogue One, as the Empire spends most of the movie either stealing or mining the crystals to power the Death Star. It was a clever way to tie the film to the plot back to the main mythology, and just thematically, it finds the Empire literally pillaging the power and honor of the Jedi to power their war machine. It's not subtle, but it certainly gets the point across. On the flip side, Jyn wears a tiny Kyber crystal on her necklace, giving her a tangible connection to the good side of the Force.

Bail Organa's Jedi friend

The story of Rogue One carries a heavy weight in trying to tie directly into the opening moment of A New Hope, though director Gareth Edwards does an excellent job of sprinkling in just enough Easter eggs to establish the connective tissue. One brief line that almost certainly pays off in the next (err, first?) film is Bail Organa making a brief reference to his "Jedi friend" while chatting with Mon Mothma. He is, of course, referring to Obi-Wan Kenobi. At this point in the story, he'd still be laying low on Tatooine just waiting to get roped into helping Luke.

An Alien homage

Edwards grew up watching movies like Alien, so when taking the helm of his own Star Wars film, the director decided to throw a little nod to Ridley Scott's sci-fi classic. He told Fandango the planet Eadu was directly inspired by LV-426, the small planet where the alien pods are first discovered in the Alien series. Now knowing Edwards was trying to pay tribute to the look, it's fairly obvious when looking at the scenes set on Eadu in the film. Now, how much longer until Alien vs. Predator vs. Jedi?