There's less than 12 hours to go before the first screenings of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story open to the public, and with rave reviews of the franchise's first anthology film, these are the longest hours of a Star Wars fan's life since, well, the day before The Force Awakens came out last year.
This humble writer is in the same boat — tickets for a 7:30 p.m. showing feels like a dream of something far, far away — but I have a day job in which I write about pop culture. But I can't stop thinking about Rogue One, while simultaneously living in fear of Rogue One spoilers on the internet — a Pandora's Box of nerdy anxiety.
What to do to pass the time? Let's talk about the odds of Princess Leia making an appearance in Rogue One, and why the character may, at the very least, have a cameo.
(Editor's note: These aren't the spoilers you're looking for, merely an author theorizing incessantly about Rogue One.)
Those familiar with Rogue One's premise understand that it has an interesting place in the Star Wars timeline: It happens before the events of A New Hope, but presumably, not too far before it. We're following the group of Rebels who steal the plans to the Death Star, which, in the opening scene of A New Hope, are aboard a ship being pursued by an Imperial Star Destroyer.
Thus, one could assume that Rogue One's ending will take place relatively close to the opening sequence of A New Hope — perhaps, it'll even lead into it. Princess Leia is very much an integral part of the Rebel Alliance during the events of Rogue One, so why shouldn't she show up?
Then there's the news that her adopted father, Bail Organa (played by Jimmy Smits in the prequels), will make an appearance in the film (with Smits reprising his role). While Organa is actually killed in A New Hope when the Death Star destroys his home planet, Alderaan, he is another key figure in the Rebel Alliance prior to it (again, he's one of the few allies to the surviving Jedi in Revenge of the Sith, he's just a good dude!).
Of course, Carrie Fisher wouldn't be able to reprise her role — unless they went with a young Anthony Hopkins in Westworld-style CGI job, which feels excessive — but for the sake of continuity, Rogue One could use Fisher's daughter, Billie Lourd, who already made a brief cameo in The Force Awakens.
All of this extrapolating, however, is to say that Princess Leia ostensibly showing up in Rogue One isn't mere fan service, it's a logical narrative choice. It makes a lot more sense than, say, Han Solo showing up in the film, which has also been rumored. If any other major character from the original trilogy shows up, our money's on Princess Leia.
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