This Star Wars Recap Will Brief You For 'Rogue One'

It warms my heart that for the next few years at least, the holiday season will overlap with "New Star Wars Movie season." (Darth bless us, everyone.) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is in theaters on Dec. 16, just about a year after the cinematic franchise was resuscitated by Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Rogue One is the start of something new, however. It's the beginning of an anthology series that stands alone from the Episodes. But Rogue One, the Han Solo prequel, and whatever other standalones come down the pike still exist in the same universe as the trilogies. Thus, the Rogue One action still has to take into account what happened in the Star Wars prequel trilogy (The Phantom Menace, Attack Of The Clones, and Revenge Of The Sith) and also logically lead into A New Hope. Never fear if you've put off that review marathon session. This Star Wars movie recap will lead you straight to Rogue One.

"But what about The Clone Wars?" you might ask. While that animated movie and series, along with Star Wars Rebels, are considered to be canon, most of the major points of the establishment of the Galactic Empire and the Rebel Alliance created to fight it are covered in the live-action films. And since Rogue One picks up with a mission that cements the rebellion as a serious threat to the galaxy's oppressors, the film storylines are what's most important. Keep reading for a quick and easy Star Wars refresher.

Sith Lords Were In Charge Of The Trade Federation

When The Phantom Menace begins, the Sith (servants of the Dark Side of the Force) are quietly taking over certain parts of the Republic and sowing the seeds of a coup.

A Nine-Year-Old Slave Was Potentially The Chosen One

On Tatooine, a young Obi-Wan Kenobi and his master Qui-Gon Jinn meet Anakin Skywalker. The Force is strong with him — so strong that Qui-Gon thinks he's a prophesied savior.

Queen Amidala Couldn't Work With A Corrupt Senate

Queen Amidala makes an appeal to the Galactic Senate for strong and peaceful leadership, but they're all like, "Hmmm, Fascism sounds more profitable though."

Senator Palpatine Took Control

Senator Palpatine becomes Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. Everyone is so definitely screwed.

Obi-Wan Trained Anakin Despite The Jedi Council's Misgivings

Yoda, Mace Windu, and the Jedi Council sense a danger of strong internal conflict in Anakin. But after Qui-Gon is struck down by Darth Maul, they give Obi-Wan the a-OK to take Anakin on as a pupil.

The Separatist Movement Gained Influence

At the top of Episode II and a decade after the last movie, Count Dooku and Darth Sidious are seducing more and more allies into the Separatist movement. The Republic is struggling to keep the galaxy together.

Anakin & Padme Started A Tragic Romance

They fall in love on Naboo over some truly cringe-worthy dialogue. Padme is still working to stop the spread of the Separatists; she doesn't need this kind of distraction.

Obi-Wan Discovered A Secret Clone Army

On a planet called Kamino, Obi-Wan finds that an army of clones of bounty hunter Jango Fett are being created and trained. Apparently, they're meant to be in service of the Republic.

Anakin's Mother Was Murdered

Anakin has premonitions of his mother's death, but he can't get to her in time to save her. She's tortured and killed by Tusken Raiders. This breaks something in Anakin, and he mows down all of them to get revenge.

Count Dooku Delivered Some Important Plans To Darth Sidious

Padme and Anakin attempt to rescue Obi-Wan from the Separatists after he discovers they've been planning Padme's assassination. They're all captured and about to be executed, but are saved by the Jedi. Count Dooku gives Sidious the blueprints for the next phase of the Empire's complete domination: a battle station the likes of which have never been seen.

Palpatine Stoked Anakin's Dark Side & Reveald Himself As Sidious

Aware of his weaknesses, Palpatine (or Sidious if ya nasty) buddies up to Anakin in Revenge Of The Sith and tells him that the Jedi are purposely keeping the power of the Dark Side from him.

The Jedi Are All But Wiped Out When Anakin & The Clones Turn On Them

The true purpose of the clone army is exposed when they attack their Jedi masters. On Palpatine's orders, Anakin goes to the Council to snuff out the rest of the Jedi, even the younglings in training. He barely bats an eye, which is not a quality a woman would look for in the father of her children. Speaking of that...

Anakin Fought Obi-Wan & Padme Died In Childbirth

Padme appeals to the good in Anakin, but it's too late. He injures her severely, and she dies just after giving birth to a both and a girl: Luke and Leia. Obi-Wan battles his pupil, and sends him into a breathing machine for the rest of the franchise. Darth Vader is born.

The Twins Were Separated & Hidden, And The Fledgling Empire Began Constructing The Death Star

Luke is sent to Tatooine to be raised by Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. Leia is adopted by Senator Bail Organa, an ally of Padme's. With the most powerful Jedi ever now on their team, the Empire starts work on the Death Star.

And that's about where Rogue One will pick up, give or take about Luke and Leia's entire young lives. In A New Hope, the Death Star is finally near completion. Rogue One will fill in a vital, but missing step in the Star Wars timeline: exactly how did the Rebel Alliance get its hands on those plans?

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