Gareth Edwards Explains the Rogue One Movie Title


Rogue One director Gareth Edwards has shed light on the title of the first spin-off Star Wars film. In an exclusive Empire chat he talks about what the title actually refers to. Read on for the details!


We all know that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the title for the first film in a unique series of big-screen adventures that explores the characters and events beyond the core Star Wars saga. The film, directed by Gareth Edwards (Monsters, Godzilla) follows a band of Rebel soldiers who take on a tyrannical EMPIRE that reigns over the galaxy.


The original Star Wars film was simply called Star Wars when it first hit cinemas back in 1977. In fact, in the opening crawl, there was no “Episode IV” or “A New Hope”. It was simply Star Wars. The added identifier of “A New Hope” didn’t become a part of the story until years after the two sequels had been made for the original trilogy. Of course, director George Lucas had ideas of other Star Wars films, but at the time he wasn’t even sure how well it would be received. Well, we all know how that turned out!


So, the question that many fans are probably wondering is, what specifically does the “Rogue One” title refer to in this first of three proposed spin-off films?


Director Gareth Edwards


Empire sat down with …  Gareth Edwards to find out what the title actually means.



Rogue One… It has a undeniably badass ring to it, but what exactly does it mean? It’s a question that even its director, Gareth Edwards, had been puzzling over during the production process until, zing! A eureka moment came at Star Wars Celebration last month.

“I’d been thinking about it,” he reflects in the new issue of Empire. “What does it mean? ‘Rogue One’ is a military call sign to some extent,” he adds, referring to Red Squadron during the Battle of Yavin, “but this is the first film that’s gone off-piste and is not part of the saga – or the Anakin story – so it’s the ‘rogue’ one, you know?”

Rogue One Jyn & Cassian


There’s potentially another meaning to it too, relating to Felicity Jones’ interplanetary guerrilla Jyn Erso. She also has a rogue streak; a touch of the Han Solos in her drive to do what’s right, regardless of how much shit she has to blow up en route.

“It’s kind of describing her as well in a similar way,” says Edwards. “It has [all] these split, multiple meanings that made it feel like the right choice.”

Does the title also, perhaps, apply to Edwards himself?

“I don’t know…” he demurs, “I never see myself that way. But, er… that’d be cool! We tried to do things different, for sure.”


Good Stuff!

Don’t forget to check out our coverage of Rogue One’s new magazine issue from Empire on Thursday August 25!


Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits cinemas on December 16.



+ posts

49 thoughts on “Gareth Edwards Explains the Rogue One Movie Title

  • August 23, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    In other words, the title wouldn’t necessarily be pronounced “Rogue ONE” (as in the pilot callsign) but rather “ROGUE one” (as in, “She’s a ROGUE one, that gal.”)

    The whole thing is rather odd to me, that even the director of the movie has to guess what the title refers to.

    Honestly, I assumed that “Rogue One” would be the call sign of the strike team’s dropship during the raid, but… well, now I guess it’s just one of those nebulous “It is whatever you want it to be, maaaaan” things, eh?

    • August 23, 2016 at 9:00 pm

      He’s not guessing just explaining how it fits on multiple levels. It shows the intentional, thoughtfulness put into the naming. He states off the bat that it’s obviously a call sign but has other meanings (some internal, others meta).

      • August 23, 2016 at 10:21 pm

        I get what you’re saying but does it really have that meaning if you come up with that meaning after you’ve already named it and just say, “okay, THIS is what it means!”?

        • August 24, 2016 at 12:30 am

          If it is used in the movie as a call sign, as was strongly implied, then yes, it really does have that meaning…

        • August 24, 2016 at 12:47 am

          I believe deeper meanings you didn’t initially realize can be discovered after the fact. Especially if it fits with themes that are already there.

          It is the same as an author discovering something in their text that they didn’t realize could be understood a certain way and then utilizing that idea in sequels (as some believe Lucas did with Vader being Anakin). Some of this stuff is also subconscious.

  • August 23, 2016 at 6:25 pm

    So the title can mean anything…

  • August 23, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    I never really questioned it, in all honesty. I just assumed “a story about the rebels, Rogue One is a Rebel-style callsign, it makes sense, like “Black Hawk Down”.”

  • August 23, 2016 at 6:29 pm

    Kind of strange…isn’t it a reference to Rogue squadron? Zev in Empire was Rogue Two. “Echo Base, this is Rogue Two. I’ve found them. Repeat, I’ve found them.”

    • August 23, 2016 at 6:58 pm

      Yep, and it was so on pretty much everything old-canon (now Legends), even videogames and novels. Maybe they’re rebooting that too.

    • August 23, 2016 at 10:53 pm

      It should be that, I agree, but then its also kind of a misnomer. Because in the movies none of the call signs ever end in “one”, they end in “Leader”.

      • August 24, 2016 at 2:25 am

        Erm… Luke and Wedge and Biggs were [I think !] Reds 5, 2, and 3. I had been assuming that “R1” was a callsign, either the very first instance of this group being created – perhaps as a ‘special ops’ task force type of group – or the callsign for the current squadron who we later see over Hoth, with that R1 being Commander Skywalker……….. at the moment, we’re assuming the pre-ANH Rogue squadron members died, and Luke and his team inherited it ; so Luke directly took the place of Jyn Erso (assuming she is R1).

        • August 24, 2016 at 8:38 pm

          I see what you’re saying. I’m not saying there were no numbers, I’m saying it was Red 5, Red 3, Red 2 and Red Leader, not Red 1. “Red Leader this is Gold Leader…”

  • August 23, 2016 at 6:38 pm

    but wouldn’t it be the name for Firespray-31-class patrol ship leaked by Lego months ago that supposedly should show up in the movie at some point?

  • August 23, 2016 at 7:52 pm

    “…is not part of the saga – or the Anakin story…”

    Interesting that he separates the ‘Anakin story’ from the ‘saga’.

    • August 23, 2016 at 10:03 pm

      He basically meant not part of the numbered episodes. But still in the continuity of them.

  • August 23, 2016 at 9:01 pm

    i was hoping he he’d explain the change from “anthology” to “a star wars story”. .

    • August 24, 2016 at 12:23 am

      That’s a Kennedy question.

      • August 24, 2016 at 12:46 am

        probably, but i’d assume he’d also know why they changed the subtitle of his film. unless its secret or something.

        • August 24, 2016 at 12:53 am

          I assumed it was because “Anthology” was somewhat misleading. It sounds like it is an actual anthology film, meaning multiple short films within one film. I never liked Anthology for that reason.

          • August 24, 2016 at 1:05 am

            to me it seemed clear that anthology meant all the spinoffs were separate stories in the same universe. if people can’t tell that rogue one or han solo are full, single stories in their own right then i can’t help them.

          • August 24, 2016 at 4:54 am

            People leaving Episode I thought the little boy was Luke

          • August 24, 2016 at 5:56 am

            I was going to rip those people but in their defense they probably slept through most of the film. 😉

          • August 24, 2016 at 5:43 pm

            haha, it’s true though. I heard one myself.

        • August 24, 2016 at 12:55 am

          … because it’s more appealing? I don’t know. “Star Wars Anthology” sounds awfully generic to me. I also think it’s better to put the name of the movie FIRST before pointing out it’s a Star Wars movie. It fits the fact that these are spin-off movies, and that they are thus independent from the saga films. Also, “A Star Wars Story” sounds more fairy-tale-ish, and thus fits the Star Wars spirit more.

          • August 24, 2016 at 1:02 am

            they both sound generic, lets be fair. i’d personally prefer if it had no subtitle, the lack of an episode chapter seems pretty clear to me.

        • August 24, 2016 at 4:45 am

          Honestly, it’s probably they just thought it sounded better marketing wise. Maybe people didn’t know what an anthology meant. It’s likely that simple.

          • August 24, 2016 at 6:00 am

            Yeah I guess, but even so most people still thought this was ep VIII. All you can really do is throw up your hands sometimes. 🙂

          • August 24, 2016 at 5:43 pm

            The marketing will make it clear by the time the movie arrives.

  • August 23, 2016 at 10:09 pm

    So what does it mean…?

    • August 24, 2016 at 1:23 pm

      I feel like he was dancing around the fact, that rogue one will end up being her call sign and that this is where rogue squadron is born. And it makes sense as to why you wouldn’t have “heard” of rogue squadron in episode 4, but hear it after. The events of episode 4 take place within a day or two, and you don’t really even meet up with the Rebels till the end. At least that’s what I’m banking on and he didn’t wanna just spoil it for all those who don’t know how rogue squadron comes about.

  • August 23, 2016 at 10:19 pm

    I thought it related to Rogue Squadron, like maybe where they originated. So now it’s just a play on words? Lame.

    • August 24, 2016 at 12:21 am

      Rogue Squadron wasn’t developed until after the Battle of Yavin. Wasn’t it?

      • August 24, 2016 at 4:53 am

        No one heard of it until empire so …maybe

  • August 23, 2016 at 10:36 pm

    Apparently even the title “Attack of the Clones” is more related its story than Rogue One is.

    • August 24, 2016 at 12:38 am

      AOTC is very much related to the story. The creation and utilization of the Clones was an “attack” by Palpatine on the Jedi and the Republic that led to their downfall.

      • August 24, 2016 at 1:01 am

        See that thing flying way up high over your head? It’s called THE POINT.

        • August 24, 2016 at 4:53 am

          So pleasant.

          • August 24, 2016 at 4:57 am

            Yeah, I was thinking the same about your comment.

          • August 24, 2016 at 5:44 pm

            Except mine was responding to your being rude. You reap what you sow.

  • August 24, 2016 at 12:34 am

    “The added identifier of “A New Hope” didn’t become a part of the story until years after the two sequels had been made for the original trilogy.”

    “A New Hope” was actually used in the 1981 re-release, not years after the sequels.

    • August 24, 2016 at 4:54 pm

      When Star Wars was re-released in theaters in the summer of 1978, Episode IV and the title “A New Hope” were added to the crawl.

  • August 24, 2016 at 2:24 am

    I’m excited for this movie, but that’s a totally moronic answer, truly.

  • August 24, 2016 at 3:27 am

    Well tbo, I grew up with the “one” in Slave One referring to a ship, so I assumed it would be the name of an important rebel ship in the movie. That aside, I’m a little disappointed with the answer. I mean, unless this is a red herring do to him not wanting to give anything away, it seems like the title would have more heads on meaning. I mean, it’s like he’s giving his own interpretation of what I thought had a definite answer.

  • August 24, 2016 at 3:31 am

    I was hoping it was a reference to a squadron. I just hope they don’t pull a “I guess we’re just some kind of Suicide Squad” with something like, “You follow the rules, huh? I guess I’m the rogue one.” That is just too in your face.

  • August 24, 2016 at 7:43 am

    Rogue One is another name for Darth Plagueis =)

  • August 24, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    No way. Just doesn’t fit. I would bet jyn Erso dies in this movie. She would have had to make it ten years past the fall of the empire to even have Rey.

    • August 24, 2016 at 3:44 pm

      My joke was that rogue one is a codename for Reys Mam, not Jyn or a ship or rebel group.

  • August 24, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    Sooooo……what? Is it the call sign of the rebel squad. I was thinking that since it came out

  • August 25, 2016 at 1:35 am

    Makes sense.

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