Why Aren't There Any Jedi In 'Rogue One'? Their Absence Makes A Lot Of Sense

As the first-ever standalone Star Wars movie, some things were inevitably going to be different in Rogue One. The movie doesn't feature the traditional opening crawl, it's the first Star Wars movie to be scored by someone other than John Williams, and it's the only film in the franchise so far to not feature any of the Jedi. But why would these essential players in the Star Wars universe be left out of the plot? Why aren't there any Jedi in Rogue One ?

The movie isn't just trying to be different for the hell of it, there's actually a good reason as to why the film doesn't feature any Jedi. Rogue One takes place directly before the first Star Wars movie, A New Hope, which itself takes place 19 years after the last of the prequel films, Revenge of the Sith. The prequel movies, in addition to showing the origin of Darth Vader, also show how the Jedi were decimated at the hands of what would become the Empire. By the end of Revenge of the Sith, pretty much the only Jedi remaining are Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda, both of whom are forced to go into hiding given the Empire's desire to wipe them out completely.

By the time A New Hope rolls around, Obi-Wan comes out of hiding because he believes Luke Skywalker is destined to become the Jedi Master who will save the galaxy (turns out he's right). Yoda, meanwhile, remains in hiding on Dagobah, and only resurfaces in The Empire Strikes Back because Luke seeks him out to continue his training after Obi-Wan's death. Then, Yoda dies, too, leaving a now officially Jedi Luke Skywalker as the last known Jedi remaining in the aptly titled Return of the Jedi.

Rogue One takes place between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, and this is an important distinction. Even though the movie's plot leads directly into A New Hope , Luke has not yet received Leia's message about Obi-Wan that's included on R2-D2, so Obi-Wan has no reason to come out of hiding yet. The Empire is at the height of its power, and Obi-Wan and Yoda are both still MIA because Luke is just a plain old moisture farmer with a pocketful of dreams during Rogue One. Probably about a month after the end of Rogue One is about the time when Ben Kenobi reveals himself to be a Jedi, but as far as anyone in the film knows, the Jedi went extinct two decades ago.

If Rogue One were to include any Jedi, it would merely be for the purposes of fan service. But the film is more interested in telling a story, so because of the time period in which it takes place, it would make no sense for any Jedi to appear.

Images: Walt Disney/Lucasfilm; Giphy