Rogue One and Star Wars Rebels fans have now had a chance to see ships and characters going back and forth from both mediums. That’s no small feat in a world where Marvel can’t make heads or tails of its movie-TV connections, so how did it happen? A Rogue One writer and producer explains, also clarifying the process of updating ship models to appear on the big screen.

Where previously we’ve heard from the Lucasfilm story group on the decision to utilize multiple Rebels designs (read: nothing that required an actor) in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, executive producer and VFX Supervisor John Knoll offered a bit of background to as to how Rebels’ Ghost ended up flying over Scarif:

Rebels was in development around the same time that I was developing the initial story pitch on this, and the proximity and time seemed like a natural fit, that maybe there needs to be some crossover. At some point in the Rebels show, maybe you’ll see some characters from this movie and maybe there’s something we can incorporate from Rebels into Rogue One.

I got talking with [Rebels showrunner] Dave Filoni about that, and I asked, ‘what are your plans for the show? Would it be appropriate if The Ghost showed up in the space battle?’ He was pretty enthusiastic about that, and we got the CG model from him. Obviously it was built for doing an animated show, so it needed a bit of a rebuild and texture and detail upgrade to work in a feature film, but it was really a fun project.

The Ghost wasn’t the only Rebels ship on display throughout the movie, however, as the “Hammerhead Corvettes” ended up playing a major role in disabling the shield around Scarif, finally allowing Jyn Erso to transmit the famous Death Star plans. Said Corvettes actually appeared in the very Rebels episode that introduced a young Princess Leia, while Knoll separately told io9 of how the two ended up colliding:

[Using the Hammerheads] came out of discussions a bunch of us had about ‘What should the Rebel fleet really consist of?’ […] [They said] ‘Well, they could have the Hammerhead Corvette’ and they showed me some images from Rebels. So that prompted me to grab the model and make a movie version of it. And we had that underway as a background ship when we were fleshing out some of the story beats of what happens in the space battle. Suddenly I needed a ship that could act as a tugboat and I thought, ‘Well, let’s use the Hammerhead for that.’ So it kind of turned into a starring role.

Star Wars Rebels isn’t done making larger connections to the films, especially as Season 3 prepares to introduce an elder Obi-Wan Kenobi, but might we expect more Rebels references in the Han Solo standalone? Is Donald Glover going to take over for young Lando in animation, or are we sticking with Billy Dee? It’s all so confusing.

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