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Rogue One characters with more meaning than you realize

Star Wars' canon — smaller though it is than the Disney-scrapped Extended Universe — cannot be summarized in a single article. If you are thrown off by all the talk of the Trade Federation, the Republic, the Imperial forces, the Old Republic, Separatists, Rebels, alliances, trade routes, clone armies, chancellors, senators, Sith Lords, and the Jedi Council, you're not alone. The shifting allegiances, name changes, numerous political factions, variety of star systems, and hundreds of characters demand our time, our attention, and — let's face it — sometimes our patience, too.

With Rogue One, the Star Wars films departed from the episodic structure, focusing instead on a self-contained story chronologically set between Episode III and Episode IV. If you're willing to dig to find them, the connections among Star Wars characters can be fascinating. Here are some new characters from Rogue One with deeper meanings you might not have known about.

Tivik

Tivik isn't in the movie for long. Upon passing the word to Cassian Andor about Bodhi's secret message, storm troopers suspect something dastardly is afoot in the alley. Cassian shoots first — another nod to Han Solo — and kills a few Stormtroopers.

Tivik complains that he won't be able to get away, due to a bum leg. For Cassian, a ruthless covert fighter for the Rebellion since he was 6 years old, the mission to bring down the Empire is much too important to take unnecessary chances. Trusting Tivik not to run his mouth while under duress isn't something Cassian is prepared to do, so he kills him rather than risk an unnecessary liability to the Rebel cause. The problem with Cassian's decision to take out Tivik — aside from the murder thing — is that Tivik was his connection to Saw Gerrera (who was also something of a godfather to Jyn Erso until she was 16). When Cassian whacks Tivik, we learn just how important secrecy is to the maintenance of the Rebellion. Individuals, like Tivik, Cassian himself, and even Jyn, are expendable when the alternative is the loss of vital intel.

Weeteef Cyubee

As a character, Weteef Cyubee, the singular Talpini in the entire canonized universe, has little backstory, but he's important. Weteef Cyubee's presence among the Partisans speaks to the variety of the Empire's misdeeds. If this little murder-happy piranha-looking dude hates the Empire enough to fight, kill, and die on the side of the Rebels, then the Empire might want to consider re-evaluating its outreach policy. Given what we know of the Ewoks' future role in bringing down the Empire, it would seem that the Empire's policies either discriminate against or simply don't account for diminutive species. We don't see any Talpini-sized Stormtroopers running around, that's for sure.

Beezer Fortuna

Related to Bib Fortuna, Beezer Fortuna is a freethinking Twi'lek and one of Saw Gerrera's Partisans, a group that Mon Mothma of the Rebel Alliance considers a terrorist faction, according to The Ultimate Visual Guide for Rogue One. Beezer was seen briefly at Saw Gerrera's hideout on Jedha, but his fate is unclear. Beezer Fortuna's blood connection to Bib Fortuna speaks to Saw Gerrera's willingness to work with the criminal underworld to bring down the Empire. Bib Fortuna dies with Jabba at the Great Pit of Carkoon in Episode VI.

KX-Series Security Droid

The KX-Series Security Droid is a product line of Arakyd Industries, a company whose connection to the Galactic Empire runs deep. K-2SO is a KX-Series Security Droid that Cassian Andor hacked.

Despite the KX-Series' demonstrably penetrable security protocols, Arakyd Industries remains partnered with the Empire. Arakyd Industries is the company responsible for the iconic Viper probe droids. These droids are used to hunt Luke Skywalker and Han Solo on the ice planet Hoth in Episode V.

Imagine for a moment, if Grand Moff Tarkin didn't obliterate the base on Scarif. Instead, the truth about K-2SO would make it off the planet. If nothing else, Arakyd Industries would have a major recall on its hands.

Bistan

Star Wars' minor characters sometimes get their names after filming has wrapped. So it was with Bistan, who was known by the film crew as "space monkey." (We would have suggested "space battlesloth.") Hailing from the planet Iakar, he joined up with the Rebels six months prior to the Battle of Scarif. A mean shot with spears, rocks, and heavy artillery, Bistan decimated Imperial ground forces, though his weapon of choice was the boss-looking door-mounted "Roba" M-45 Repeating Ion Blaster. Sadly, he went down with his U-Wing during the Battle of Scarif, but not before winning the admiration of his fellow Rebel soldiers for bravery in battle.

Oolin Musters

Oolin Musters appears briefly in Rogue One. A pudgy alien with a squid-like face, Musters is Jyn Erso's cellmate near the beginning of the film. There's little interaction between the two in the movie, but Rogue One's novel adaptation turns her into a real character—a captured Rebel fighter whom her captors call "Kennel." (The jacket she wears is full of gross critters.) During their incarceration together, Musters tells Erso that she plans on killing her for being too noisy, but Jyn is rescued before Musters has the chance to go through with the murder plot. It's a testament to Jyn's integrity that she doesn't use the opportunity to exact revenge.

General Antoc Merrick

Early in Antoc Merrick's career, long before he was a respected general, he served as the flight leader of the Rarified Air Cavalry, a local planetary defense force loyal to the council of Virujansi. Life was relatively easy for Merrick on his homeworld—and then the Empire supplanted the council, installing an Imperial Governor and scrapping non-Imperial military outfits. Suddenly out of a job, Merrick had a choice: join the Imperial Navy (and become another unthinking cog in the Empire's war machine) or take early retirement and watch as the Empire wrecked everything the Virujansi council had worked to build. Neither choice satisfied him.

The Imperial Forces took his job away, but that's not why Merrick eventually teamed up with the Rebels. A soldier until the end, Merrick just didn't see the appeal of the Imperial Navy. Their tactics were ordinary, their pilots adequate. He wanted to fight alongside the best pilots in the galaxy. He teamed up with another rebellious pilot, and together they left Virujansi to go looking for the Rebel Alliance.

Seeing Merrick's promise and poise as a leader, the Rebels promoted him to general. That said, he would never be an armchair general: in the space battle over Scarif, he led the pilots of Blue Squadron into the fray. Unfortunately for him and for the Rebellion, he wouldn't return. His expertise could have been very useful to the cause.

Woan Barso

Imagine being a refugee and stepping into the container attached to a dilapidated tug. You're just trying to get off of Jedha. You never see what your methodical, cowardly, would-be savior looks like. Instead, your own look of terror, reflected in the vac-suit's dark visor, is the last face you see before the cargo hold seals shut.

A refugee smuggler by trade, Woan Barso is a nobody with a fishbowl for a helmet seen briefly in Jedha City. What's with the vac-suit? He puts little faith in his spaceship's life-support system, opting to wear that ridiculous getup—even on Jedha, which is obviously safe for humans like himself. That's the extent of his official outline, but there's a broader meaning that his story reveals about the reality of being a smuggler: it's not a hero's trade.

Barso's backstory tells us why virtuous lawbreakers like Han Solo are hard to come by. Woan Barso is a cowardly analog to Han Solo, minus the scruffy-looking charisma and without Chewbacca to goad him into being the hero he would rather not have to be. Woan Barso only looks out for Woan Barso, and his vac-suit can't save him from the imminent destruction of Jedha City.

Major Capin Harinar

Major Capin Harinar's white coat, tan shirt, and bushy beard tell the perceptive observer he's from Alderaan, the doomed planet that will be destroyed by the Death Star in Episode IV. (Here he is in shadow on the far right, standing behind fellow Alderaanian Jan Dodonna during Jyn Erso's briefing about the Death Star's capabilities.) In his role as "materials analyst," Harinar researches recovered Imperial technologies, looking for exploitable weaknesses and anything that could be recommissioned for use by the Rebels. Crucial though his work is to an Alliance victory, the job itself appears to be a tedious, thankless data mining gig. Let his mention on our list be some consolation.