The Lucasfilm Story Group, which is headed by Star Wars Rebels producer Kiri Hart as its Development lead, is the organization that is responsible for making sure that all of the Star Wars movies, TV shows, novels, comic books and video games released under the Walt Disney Pictures/Lucasfilm banner maintain a strict narrative continuity. Similar to how properties in the Marvel Cinematic Universe will often reference events and characters from other films/TV series or (on rarer occasions) have them crossover, the Star War franchise in general has begun to feel more interconnected than ever under Disney’s watch.
For example, the upcoming Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – an anthology film that reveals the story behind how the Rebel Alliance acquired the plans to the original Death Star – features the character of Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker), a seasoned warrior previously featured in animated form on the Clone Wars TV series – not to mention, a resistance fighter who was not-so-accidentally name-dropped in the Rebels season 2 episode, ‘The Honorable Ones’. Similarly, the upcoming book Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel by James Luceno will introduce certain key players from the Rogue One movie, ahead of its theatrical release.
Catalyst, in particular will reveal the backstory for Gale Erso (played by Mads Mikkelsen in Rogue One), the father of Rogue One protagonist Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones). It was previously rumored that Lyra Erso, Gale’s wife and Jyn’s mother who is also featured in Catalyst, is being portrayed in Rogue One by Irish actor Valene Kane. We can now confirm as much, thanks to an article published by Belfast Live, wherein Kane’s Rogue One role is revealed and the actor briefly discusses her feelings about being cast in the film:
“I grew up watching Stars Wars and I didn’t believe it was happening until I was filming in Iceland. It has a really edgy independent vibe.”
Kane is perhaps best known for playing the character of Rose Stagg opposite The X-Files‘ Gillian Anderson and Fifty Shades of Grey‘s Jamie Dornan on the acclaimed serial killer drama series The Fall. The popular assumption is that we will be seeing Lyra Erso through flashbacks only (something new for the Star Wars live-action movies), seeing as Kane is actually a few years younger than the actor playing her onscreen daughter. Not to mention, the implication is that Jyn Erso has been living on her own for some time when the story for Rogue One picks up, suggesting that her mother is probably no longer alive in the film’s present-day (while Gale is confirmed to be on the run from the Empire and helping out the Rebel Alliance).
Mikkelsen previously confirmed that there will be a scene (or scenes) in Rogue One where he appears opposite a younger Jyn Erso, adding “we jump back and forth in time” in the film. It will presumably be these sequences from a happier time for the Erso family that audiences will be introduced to Kane’s Lyra Erso too. If handled well, these scenes ought to better flesh out Jyn and Gale Erso in particular, creating more sympathy for both of them and further reflecting the impact that the Galactic Empire’s tyrannical reign has had on the everyday citizens of the Star Wars galaxy – and why Jyn, along with the other members of her ragtag Rebels team, is ready to lay down her life to stop them.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in U.S. theaters on December 16, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on December 15, 2017, the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25, 2018, Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019, and the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.