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Returning characters in Rogue One you might've missed

Although Rogue One was in many senses a standalone Star Wars story, there were still several character callbacks that its faithful fan base might've recognized among its otherwise all-new cast. The most obvious example, of course, was the looming presence of Darth Vader as he directed his bit-chomping underlings to do his Dark Side bidding. And yes, that was Princess Leia Organa herself (albeit, with some motion capture assistance from another actress with Carrie Fisher's face superimposed) at the receiving end of those Death Star blueprints that contain its fatal flaw weak spot to give the rebellion "hope" — as in, Episode IV's title, A New Hope – and directly link the movie to the timelines from the prequels and the original installment.

Meanwhile, Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin's familiar and sinister presence was resurrected (quite literally) for the film, too, with another actor brought in to mimic the original movements of the late Peter Cushing's performance as the Death Star commander, and since it wouldn't be a Star Wars movie without R2-D2 and C-3PO making at least a cameo appearance, the pair were shown in the scramble at Yavin 4's base before the rebels took flight to help Jyn and her crew at Scarif. Oh, and let's not forget Mon Mothma (played by Genevieve O'Reilly, whose scene in Revenge of the Sith as the character was ultimately deleted from the film) and Bail Organa (played again by Jimmy Smits) were there to get this Rebel Alliance party started with an assist from Jyn Erso and the Rogue One rebels.

But if you've seen enough of Star Wars to want to read this, you spotted those a mile away. But there were some returners you just might've forgotten from other parts of the Star Wars series. Here are some returning characters you might have missed in Rogue One.

Saw Gerrera

Saw Gerrera finally got the live-action treatment by way of Forest Whitaker after a great deal of time in the animated world. In Rogue One, he's decrepit and barely hanging on by the time he's reunited with Jyn whom he helped raise but left to her own criminal devices when she was a teenager. But before his dramatic last stand in Jedha, he was an important, albeit extreme, figure in the foundation of the Alliance to Restore the Republic in Star Wars: The Clone Wars (voiced by Andrew Kishino). The Onderon native was a long-lived rebel, alongside his sister Steela, who fought to save his home planet. Although he voluntarily surrendered his life during the city's Death Star-based destruction in Rogue One, the character will continue to live on (in younger form, of course) through Disney XD's Star Wars: Rebels in 2017, and Whitaker will voice Gerrera in the new episodes.

Gold Leader and Red Leader

Not only did the Gold Leader (Jon "Dutch" Vander) and Red Leader (Garven Dreis) make important save-the-day appearances in Rogue One's battle at Scarif, but director Gareth Edwards actually made use of some previously unseen footage of the characters from their original space skirmish scene in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope's Battle of Yavin to get them into the story. He revealed his recycling project happened by a happy accident when he unearthed some unused footage from the very first film's archives and found a way to incorporate the characters into his new chapter of an X-Wing and Y-Wing air battle, which sees the death of the original Red Five and explains how Luke Skywalker eventually assumed that position.

Dr. Evazan and Ponda Baba

Turns out, Dr. Cornelius Evazan's quarrelsome bar patron routine against Luke Skywalker in Episode IV wasn't the first time he'd tried to pick a fight with a member of the Rebellion. As portrayed by Michael Smiley in Rogue One, the disfigured surgeon made an appearance on Jedha and was carted away by his alien pal Ponda Baba before causing another violent row with Jyn after she bumped into him into the city's marketplace. He's so dangerous. He must have known enough to get out of Jedha before the Death Star did its deed against the city. Clearly Baba hadn't yet learned the dangers of sticking up for his sour human sidekick ... which is why the butt-chinned Aqualish had the luxury of two arms. (The right one, of course, would later be cut off by Obi-Wan Kenobi for Evazan's threat against Luke at the Mos Eisley Cantina in A New Hope.) Evazan was previously portrayed by Alfie Curtis in A New Hope.

Captain Raymus Antilles

In Rogue One, Captain Raymus Antilles is merely discussed and not seen, but his off-screen presence is still critical in sewing up the timeline for the new pic within the scheme of old. In the new story, he's the one Bail Organa goes to speak with after deciding to transmit the Death Star plans to his adopted daughter Leia Organa (to pass them onto Obi-Wan Kenobi). In A New Hope, the character captained the Tantive IV that would connect her with R2-D2, who then relayed her much-imitated SOS hologram for Obi-Wan Kenobi. Antilles commanded the Blue Squadron in the Battle of Tatooine. After being captured, he was famously choked out and killed by Darth Vader in A New Hope for trying to protect his Princess and refusing to give up the location of the Death Star plans.

General Jan Dodonna

In order for General Jan Dodonna to direct his plans to destroy the Death Star in A New Hope, he'd have to know it was possible to do so, right? So it makes sense that he'd be featured in Rogue One (played by Ian McElhinney), as one of the backgrounders to group scenes who doesn't get a ton of screen-time in the new installment but is still one of the crucial ties that binds the series together. The character was previously portrayed by Alex McCrindle in Episode IV, who told his squadron how to take down the Death Star by attacking its vulnerable exhaust port during the Battle of Yavin. In Rogue One, he's on hand with the rest of the Rebel Alliance to witness the retrieval of those plans by Jyn and Cassian during the Battle of Scarif from his post in Yavin 4.