Turns out the creators of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story are big fans of the original Star Wars trilogy — just like the rest of us. So much so that they reportedly had to scrap numerous cameos that were shot featuring characters from the original Star Wars films. Yup, Rogue One almost featured more cameos than fans got to actually see, according to Entertainment Weekly. Screenwriter Gary Whitta explained that it was actually a request from the studio bosses that led the team to showing more restraint when it came to said cameos. "The number one mandate we got from Lucas was to show things we have not seen before," Whitta told EW. "Don’t show us the stuff we’ve seen already. Show us some new stuff."
So, which cameos didn't make the final cut? Well, according to Whitta, the initial script had included Admiral Ackbar (the fleet commander who famously yelled, "It’s a trap," in Return of the Jedi), but the filmmakers had to change their plans after Ackbar appeared in The Force Awakens. "I always loved Admiral Ackbar," Whitta told Entertainment Weekly. "I wanted to have him in there, but J.J. Abrams [who directed The Force Awakens] got to him first. We didn’t want to use him again after. So Ackbar became Admiral Raddus. You will see those little evolutions."
Whitta went on to explain why additional cameos didn’t make the final film:
Basically Whitta and the rest of the filmmakers were totally fanning out and had to show a bit of restraint… you know, because sometimes less is more. Whitta also said that he actually disagreed with the decision to include two minor characters from A New Hope (Dr. Evazan and Ponda Baba, also known as Walrus Man) in Rogue One. "I thought [it] was a little too much," Whitta said. "You have to reign in that instinct to go back and put things in just because you loved them when you were a kid."
When asked about the other major cameos that were considered for Rogue One, Whitta remained tight-lipped. "I’m not going to tell you," he explained to Entertainment Weekly. "It’s not a big deal. They were just little things that we put in there." Being the self-proclaimed Star Wars fan that he is, Whitta should know that even the tiniest of details are a big deal to loyal followers of the films. Personally, I would've loved to have seen more of R2-D2 and C-3PO than just a blink-and-you-miss-it cameo, or even better — what if Obi-Wan had actually appeared on screen instead of just being referenced as an "old Jedi friend."
Although it's fun to speculate, it doesn’t seem like we’ll ever get to know what other cameos were originally planned for Rogue One, and with the studio reportedly planning to phase out legacy characters, our days of nostalgic moments in Star Wars movies may be coming to an end. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though. So far, Lucasfilm has done an excellent job introducing new characters. I don't know about you, but I’ll definitely be going to see all of the planned movies in the Star Wars universe, whether they're full of cameos or not.