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Rogue One was hiding a major Last Jedi plot point in plain sight

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Dec 18, 2017, 10:09 AM EST

You gotta love Star Wars fans (and fandoms in general), because they can pick apart something old so many times and make it new again. For example, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story came out more than a year ago at this point, but the New Hope prequel has once more entered the spotlight thanks to The Last Jedi.

Many have joked that Rian Johnson's follow-up to The Force Awakens revolves around a mere gas shortage, but the main intrigue is the First Order's ability to track Resistance ships through hyperspace. Thought to be impossible, the revolutionary technology sets Finn and Rose to find a hacker in the casino city of Canto Bight who can shut down the tracker. 

While it was a cool addition to the far-reaching powers of the First Order, the idea of hyperspace tracking was mentioned a year ago in Rogue One and none of us even noticed. Thanks to the diligence of fans and the mass communication of Twitter, the easter egg has now come to light.

Felicity Jones's Jyn Erso comes across the technology when she and Cassian Andor are attempting to locate the Death Star plans in the data bank on Scarif. With less than a half hour of the movie left, Jyn runs through the non-relevant Empire projects, saying "hyperspace tracking" loud and clear, and we were so preoccupied with the epic battle going on during that time that most fans just let it slip.

The revelation was confirmed by Pablo Hidalgo, a development executive at Lucasfilm.

This cross pollination proves the groundbreaking tracking device wasn't simply an ex machina invention that was created out of the blue to justify The Last Jedi's plot. Rather, it was a leftover idea of the Empire that the First Order discovered, perfected, and put into action. It's a shocking easter egg to say the least, but not that surprising in hindsight, since Episode VIII was set in motion three and a half years ago, before The Force Awakens even came along. Maybe the hyperspace tracking line was part of Rogue One's reshoots, so it would fit better into the modern Star Wars canon at Disney. Whatever the reason, it's pretty cool to see Lucasfilm making the effort to tie everything together, including the standalone features. 

Maybe we'll see some subtle hints to Episode IX in Solo: A Star Wars Story when May rolls around, but won't notice what they are until December 2019.