That's no moon — it's the immense ball of hype surrounding Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. This much-anticipated film focuses on a group of Rebels that steals the plans for the Death Star and sets the stage for the original trilogy. Rogue One ties into almost every corner of the vast Star Wars universe. Here's what you should binge on before it hits theaters Dec. 16.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Set between Episodes II and III, The Clone Wars was a long-running animated series focused on the adventures of Anakin Skywalker and his then-Padawan Ahsoka Tano. Of particular relevance to Rogue One are episodes 2-5 of season 5, which introduce Saw Gerrera, a grizzled soldier who becomes a key member of the Rebel Alliance. But you should really watch all of this fun, family-friendly series if you can.
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The follow-up to The Clone Wars, Star Wars: Rebels fills an important gap between Episodes III and IV by highlighting a time period when both the Rebel Alliance and Galactic Empire were just coming into their own. Like Clone Wars, Rebels brings a charming new cast of characters to the Star Wars universe, and considering when it takes place, it's only a matter of time before the adventures of Ezra Bridger and company overlap with the events of Rogue One.
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If you've never seen the original Star Wars films, there's never been a better time to do so. While Rogue One takes place before the classic trilogy, the three films explain the struggle between the Rebellion and the Empire, and the huge impact of stealing the Death Star plans. You could also opt to watch these movies after Rogue One, considering the movie sets up the events of Episode IV: A New Hope.
The Star Wars prequel trilogy is polarizing, thanks to an overabundance of computed-generated imagery and some less-than-stellar acting. Still, these films feature some spectacular battle scenes (particularly the lightsaber fights), and it's worth watching them to witness the story of how Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader. In fact, Episode III might be the best movie to watch before you head to the theaters for Rogue One, considering how it ends.
The official prequel novel to the new film, Catalyst focuses on the relationship between Rogue One baddie Orson Krennic and Galen Erso, a brilliant scientist who becomes tangled up in the Empire's plans to build the Death Star. Galen is the father of Rogue One protagonist Jyn Erso, and plays a key role in the film, so there's a lot of important backstory to be discovered here.
This novel follows the adventures of Clone Wars protagonist Ahsoka Tano after the harrowing execution of the Jedi in Episode III. You'll learn how Ahsoka gets involved with the Rebel Alliance during the pre-Death Star period, and how she becomes an ally to Bail Organa, Princess Leia's adoptive father, who plays a role in Rogue One.
The Death Star is basically its own character in Star Wars lore, and Star Wars: Death Star provides a detailed look at the space station's conception, construction and operation. Although this is a "Legends" story (meaning it's no longer part of the official canon), this novel's focus on some of the Empire's key players makes it relevant to Rogue One.