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*Spoiler Warning*

Rogue One is the Star Wars Rebels finale we’ll now never get and it’s all the weaker for it. I shan’t lie, I wasn’t much of a fan of the film and a large part of that was that I didn’t care for the characters. In Rebels we have a crew that we already love and care about a great deal. So much of Rogue One’s story could easily have been theirs.

The parallels between the Rogue One and Rebels cast are fairly easy to make and not just because of physical resemblance. Many of the ultimate fates of the Rogue One cast would have been perfect for the Rebels characters. And I don’t just mean because they all die. For example, Donnie Yen’s character, Chirrut Îmwe, could easily have been Kanan. Not just for the blindness, but because that’s the sort of thing he’d do. Then, instead of having someone forgettable like Baze Malbus covering him, have it be Rex. Their deaths now mean something and feels like the natural conclusion to their characters arcs and relationship.

Swap out K-2SO for Chopper, Bodhi Rook for Hera, Jyn for Ezra and Cassian for Sabine and to my mind you now have a decent story with characters you care about. Now, they’re not exact analogues but tweak the story ever so slightly and it works. Ezra gets a message saying his parents weren’t killed, but were instead used as slave labour on the Death Star and somehow have managed to find out where the plans are. Hera stays with the Ghost on Scarif and goes down with the ship while Chopper sacrifices himself like K-2SO does, locking the door behind Ezra and Sabine.

The rest of the story then unfolds largely as it does in the film, only with Cassian now being Sabine we don’t get the Rebel Alliance being responsible murky shit like assassinations. I get that they wanted to make the movie “dark” but The Empire Strikes Back was dark without compromising the good guys integrity. We also know Saw Gerrara will be in Rebels season three, so we’ll actually have got to see him be an extremist rather than just be told he is.

With the nods to Rebels in Rogue One I’m sure that it’ll tie in quite closely further down the line, but imagine if Disney had kept their powder dry. As a culmination to the Rebels story it could’ve been incredibly powerful and one hell of a gut punch. Instead we got one of the biggest missed opportunities in Star Wars’ history.