It's official: the first Star Wars spin-off movie is called Star Wars: Rogue One, it shoots this summer and it stars Felicity Jones. But what does that all mean?
It's a good question, and it could either make hardcore fans very happy or very mad. See, in the Expanded Universe novels the "Red Squadron" of the movies is known as "Rogue Squadron," led by Wedge Antilles and tasked with all sorts of elite missions. They appear in books, comics and video games, but only get mentioned sort of off-handedly in The Empire Strikes Back, where Luke is referred to as "Rogue Leader" during the Battle of Hoth. If this is a movie about the X-Wing squadron, and if it has Wedge Antilles and all those dudes show up, it'll be a big victory for those who have been hoping to see the Expanded Universe folded into the new canon.
But if the early rumors are true - that it's a movie about a group of pirates/bounty hunters (aka, rogues) who end up stealing the Death Star plans, it could get a very different reaction. Maybe the movie will establish that this group begins the "Rogue Squadron" designation? Still, the title Rogue One really, really, really sounds like the callsign for the leader of Rogue Squadron. In fact Wedge Antilles, who is almost always Rogue Leader in the Expanded Universe stuff, once used the title Rogue One - in Shadows of the Empire, the book that takes place between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi and whose current canonicity I do not know. It was, at the time of release, promoted as the canon story of the missing years between those films, but that could have all changed with the recent sweep of continuity when Disney bought Lucasfilm. If you know the answer to this, please comment below.
At any rate this is the sort of stuff that can really get our engines going. I think a movie about an X-Wing squadron - a good old fashioned WWII pilot movie - could be a whole helluva lot of fun. And I'm excited for Felicity Jones to officially be the next great heroine of the Star Wars universe.