While it’s long been reported that Rogue One will be the first Star Wars film sans opening crawl, this is the first bit of confirmation on how exactly the film will open. It really isn’t all that surprising Edwards went with the flashback, since it has strong connections to the main plot of the movie. Director Orson Krennic is in charge of completing the Death Star, and Galen is a brilliant scientist whose research holds the key to developing the turbo laser. This should be an effective and efficient way of setting up the basic conflict, as well as establishing Jyn Erso’s character motivations. Her father was taken away from her at a young age, and now she has a chance to find him.
Edwards was also asked about potential original trilogy cameos Rogue One may have. He frankly said “No” to a Luke Skywalker appearance, but was far more coy in regards to Princess Leia and R2-D2. Edwards’ response there was “I cannot answer,” which will surely add fuel to the rumors that the Alliance icons will show up at some point in the spinoff. Both would be logical inclusions, considering Rogue One‘s proximity in the timeline to A New Hope. It was Leia who was tasked with delivering the Death Star readouts once they were stolen, so it wouldn’t be a shock to see the character and her faithful astromech droid towards the end. Franchise movies have a tendency to shoehorn in fan favorites for the sake of nostalgia, but this is an instance where it would be a natural fit.