Deep Inside the World of 'Rogue One': Lucasfilm's Pablo Hidalgo Reveals Secrets of New 'Star Wars' (Exclusive)

Marcus Errico
Editor-in-Chief, Yahoo Entertainment
Star Wars Rogue One—The Ultimate Visual Guide published by DK

To paraphrase the immortal words of Yoda, clear your mind must be… so you can digest all sorts of amazing new Star Wars trivia now that Rogue One is in theaters. The film, set immediately before the events of Episode IV: A New Hope, introduces dozens of original characters, settings, aliens, vehicles, and weapons to the long-ago, far-away galaxy. Fortunately, we have a very capable Jedi Master to lead us into the unknown. Pablo Hidalgo, Lucasfilm’s Story Group creative executive and font of Star Wars knowledge, has written Star Wars: Rogue One The Ultimate Visual Guide, available now, and he has given Yahoo Movies an exclusive sneak peek inside and fielded some quick questions about the film and how it fits within the greater Star Wars universe — and why we don’t see some of these things in other saga films.

Related: 5 Reasons Why ‘Rogue One’ Isn’t Your Typical ‘Star Wars’ Movie

Hidalgo is charged with cataloging each new item in the Star Wars canon, and his new tome is loaded with details on each page. For example, on the spread below, we discover that the AT-ACT, the All-Terrain Armored Cargo Transport (click for a full-sized version), is essentially a ginormous pick-up truck. Unlike the iconic AT-AT walkers from The Empire Strikes Back, this cargo-carrying model doesn’t require a specialized pilot to operate, meaning any Stormtrooper with a driver’s license is good to go.

Click for full-size image. (From Star Wars: Rogue One—The Ultimate Visual Guide published by DK, by Pablo Hidalgo. On sale Dec. 16.)

Meanwhile, the spread below (click for full size) goes deep on the weaponry of the Guardians of the Whills, Chirrut Îmwe (Donnie Yen) and Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen). Chirrut wields a blaster reminiscent of Chewbacca‘s lethal bowcaster, but his model is called a “lightbow” — a handcrafted weapon that can only be built when a guardian achieves the highest level of physical perfection. (When you watch Chirrut dispatch the Stormtroopers in Rogue One, you know he fits the bill.) Meanwhile, Baze’s ample blaster, which we cheekily nicknamed the Baze-ooka before Hidalgo’s book set us straight, is known as a “Staccato Lightning” repeating cannon, capable of mowing down legions of Stormtroopers. It doesn’t have the soul of Chirrut’s weapons of choice, but it has some major firepower.

Click for full-size image. (From Star Wars: Rogue One—The Ultimate Visual Guide published by DK, by Pablo Hidalgo. On sale Dec. 16.)

Meanwhile, Hidalgo furthered our education by answering a rapid-fire round of questions about the film.

How much of Rogue One‘s characters and backstories did you have sketched out before the movie was greenlit?
Most of the main characters in Rogue One are new, so as soon as the movie began development, I was learning new things about them. I’ve been fortunate enough to witness the evolution of this story, as it got ready to be put onto the screen. In fact, in some of the Visual Guide backstories, I preserved old ideas that may have fallen by the wayside. For example, Cassian Andor’s original character name of Willix — which dates back to the earliest drafts of the story — is mentioned as being one of his undercover aliases.

Characters that are pre-existing — and there are quite a few because of how Rogue One intersects with Star Wars history — were much more defined. These are characters like Mon Mothma, Bail Organa, Saw Gerrera, and, of course, Darth Vader.

Related: 10 Actors Who’ve Played Darth Vader

For Rogue One, we’re in a time period that abuts A New Hope — how did that affect the kinds of vehicles and settings that populate the Visual Guide?
We always had to keep in mind why we don’t see these new things in A New Hope. Most of the time, that reason is simply because it’s a big galaxy, and not even a trilogy of Star Wars movies can account for everything you might run into. But practically, we have very good reasons why the U-wings, TIE strikers, AT-ACT walkers, and other elements do not make an appearance in the movie that immediately follows.

What are some of your favorite new characters, ships, and creatures we meet in Rogue One and the Visual Guide?
Rogue One is a real celebration of new heroes and villains, and I’ve become quite fond of them all. I really love the banter between Baze and Chirrut and I think K-2 steals the show. The Visual Guide celebrates these main characters, but is a chance to shine a spotlight on others who only briefly make an appearance in the film. I really enjoyed writing about the various freedom fighters that follow Saw on Jedha, and the denizens of the Holy City and what brought them there. There’s a little mini-narrative that weaves its way through the backstories of those extras that I’m looking forward to fans discovering.

Related: ‘Rogue One’ 101: Everything to Know Ahead of New ‘Star Wars’ Movie

What’s the one thing you get asked the most about Star Wars?
When’s the next teaser?

So when’s the next teaser?

Pablo? Are you still there?

Star Wars Rogue One—The Ultimate Visual Guide published by DK

‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’: Watch a trailer: