(WARNING: Spoilers for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story follow)
Set up as an individual story within the vast #StarWars universe, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is expected to depict a spin-off story, taking place in the midst of the original Star Wars trilogy. Along with new characters entering the galactic battle, and some known Star Wars adventurers as well, the new story seems to be expanding the universe beyond Luke Skywalker and the Force. However, one Star Wars alum will make an appearance in #RogueOneWeek: Darth Vader.
Aside from Darth Vader, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story also seems to feature several nods to the original Star Wars trilogy, like the AT-AT unit, as well as the Death Star.
The newly released International trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story provides us with a better glimpse into the Star Wars universe before Luke Skywalker and the Rebellion put an end to Darth Vader, along with what happened in between all the fighting.
While the international trailer for Rogue One does seem to retread some moments in Star Wars history by focusing on the Death Star, the international trailer also seems to hint at moments in the Star Wars mythology that haven't been accounted for yet, specifically events tied to the Erso family.
The Ersos Are The New Skywalkers In The Star Wars Universe
Jyn Erso, being the newest central character to join the Star Wars universe, hasn't had much of her identity uncovered yet, but the latest international trailer for Rogue One has added some context to Jyn Erso's identity while hinting at the role her family plays in prepping the Death Star.
Erso's father has been identified as Galen Erso, played by Mads Mikkelsen. Galen Erso's history depicts him being confronted by the Empire and forced to work on the Death Star. Galen will see no other option than to work for the Empire when the potential danger his family could be in, were he to refuse. It also appears as if Galen Erso becomes a high-ranking general within the Empire at some point during Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Who knows if he does find an allegiance with the Empire, or if he's just biding his time until he can ensure the safety of his daughter? Although, it's quite possible that Galen Erso could see the upside to being the dominant force in the universe (the Empire) rather than being one who's trampled by the dominant force.
Aside from Mikkelsen portraying Galen Erso, Jyn's mother also makes an appearance in the trailer, and it is her appearance that is of much more interest. Lyra Erso, played by Valene Kane, can be seen giving a crystal pendant to her daughter, Jyn. The crystal pendant isn't all that interesting when it could just be a memento given to Jyn before her mother leaves or is killed but Lyra Erso also tells the young Jyn to "trust the force". If that isn't hinting at what's to come in Jyn Erso' future, I don't know what is. Beyond what Jyn's mother says to her, it's the crystal that'll likely come into play during Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
The Kyber Crystals Are Integral To Star Wars Whether You Know It Or Not
The crystal may seem insignificant as it's placed around Jyn's neck, but the crystal itself is an integral component to a highly known Star Wars artifact: Lightsabers. Jyn's crystal appears to be very similar to the Kyber crystals found on the planet Jedha.
Within the Star Wars canon, the Kyber crystals are integral components to assembling lightsabers. A Kyber crystal breaths life into the hilt of a lightsaber, turning the device into a long plasma blade — very formidable weapons. That's not to say anyone wielding a lightsaber is invincible, but it sure makes them quite dangerous in less than amicable circumstances.
Now, considering that Jyn Erso appears to have a Kyber crystal around her neck in Rogue One, it could very well mean Erso will assemble a lightsaber of her own, or the Kyber crystal itself will make its way into the lightsaber hilt of another individual. Either way, that Kyber crystal is bound to play a pivotal role in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Then there's also the matter of more Kyber crystals being found during Rogue One.
Planet Jedha: Homeworld Of The Kyber Crystal
During the trailer, when Jyn's mother Lyra gives Jyn the crystal, they appear to be on their home planet, Jedha.
In the Star Wars mythology, the planet Jedha is simply utilized for mining of Kyber Crystals, but who knows how many people actually reside on the planet. The scene depicting Jyn Erso accepting a Kyber crystal in the form of a pendant could reasonably have taken place on Jedha. Jyn's mother, Lyra, seemed to hold it with concern, so it is probably very valuable.
StarWars.com also just added a new index to their library under Jedha that shows an image of the planet Jedha in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Within the image, it's quite obvious that the planet is inhabited, so it would be reasonable to assume the Erso family is from Jedha.
Keeping those things in mind, Rogue One could very well revolve around the Empire's mission to acquire more Kyber crystals while prepping the Death Star. Darth Vader has found himself empowered by the Dark Side of the Force, as well as his lightsaber, so Vader would likely see the benefit of acquiring more Kyber crystals (or at the very least keep anyone else from acquiring the crystals to make lightsabers of their own).
The Kyber crystals play a pivotal role in the Star Wars universe since it is the Kyber crystals that power the Death Star. Yes, Kyber crystals are used to power the Death Star's laser, giving the Death Star a ferocity unparalleled in the Star Wars universe.
The Death Star / Starkiller Base Lasers Are Powered By Kyber Crystals
We all know that the Death Star is inevitably destroyed by the Resistance in Star Wars: Episode VI, but accounting for the Starkiller Base's existence in Star Wars Episode XII: The Force Awakens featuring a similar weapon, it probably means the Kyber crystals will remain relevant in the ongoing Star Wars universe.
Since the crystals are being used to power Starkiller Base, it means the crystals have survived the galactic wars waged between Episode IV and Episode VII, including the events of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, yet to be seen.
In terms of how the crystals will affect Rogue One is debatable, but it appears as though the Kyber crystals have a integral role to play in completing the Death Star's laser. It was even rumored that Galen Erso (Mikkelsen) would take the Kyber crystal from Jyn Erso in order to power the Death Star. However, it will probably require a much larger Kyber crystal to power a weapon like the Death Star.
Consider this: If a lightsaber requires a small crystal to power itself for an extended period of time, it would require a considerably large crystal to fully energize a weapon like the Death Star. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will take place on the planet Jedha since Jedha is the only planet to mine Kyber crystals. So if the Empire is searching for Kyber crystals, their first stop is going to be on Jedha. Then there's also the report by The Hollywood Reporter which mentions the connection between Jyn Erso's pendant and the Death Star.
Planet Jedha And Kyber Crystals Confirmed To Have Major Connection In Rogue One
Donnie Yen also confirmed the connection between the Kyber crystals, Jedha, and the Death Star in a recent Instagram post.
Then there's also the aspect of Jedha being confirmed by StarWars.com, to be one of the settings in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The evidence is stacking up pretty high when considering how the Kyber crystals and the Death Star are connected in Rogue One.
Along with the Kyber crystals being identified as a pivotal set piece in this Star Wars spinoff, there's also a possibility that Rogue One will depict Jyn Erso assembling a lightsaber of her own.
With the crystal hanging around her neck, it's only a matter of time before someone suggests to Jyn that she use the crystal to create a lightsaber of her own.
The Star Wars mythos dictates that the Kyber crystals have been used to power a variety of weapons, most notable among them: lightsabers. Recently, a variation of a lightsaber / blaster was introduced on the animated Star Wars: Rebels series; the same could reasonably take place in Rogue One when accounting for the possibility of Jyn using the Kyber crystal acquired from her mother in assembling a blaster / lightsaber hybrid weapon of her own.
Jyn hasn't been seen brandishing a lightsaber but it's not out of the realm of plausibility. However, it's much likelier that Jyn Erso will construct a variation of a lightsaber, using a blaster as its hilt.
From what's been seen so far in the trailers, Jyn Erso can be seen carrying a blaster of some sort. It's definitely a pistol like weapon with a slightly extended barrel so there's a possibility it could be modified with a Kyber Crystal. If so, Jyn Erso's seemingly normal blaster might turn out to have a dual capacity as a lightsaber. And there's also that baton-like weapon in her other hand - within the image embedded below.
As entertaining as it would be to see Jyn Erso get in a lightsaber duel with Darth Vader, we all know how that confrontation would end if it were to take place. And even with the possibility of Jyn Erso being confronted by Darth Vader, she probably won't have much of a chance to survive. Evidence of Jyn's confrontation with Darth Vader not going well is apparent since she's no longer present in the Star Wars universe, as far as we know.
Does Jyn Erso Surivive The Events Of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story?
There is that slight chance (very slight) Jyn Erso survives the events of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and the end of the film sees Jyn Erso fly off into space, not to be seen again until Episode VIII or IX. A major lead in for a character like Jyn Erso would be amazing for the Star Wars universe still moving forward in Episodes VIII and IX.
Regardless, Rogue One takes place in between the original Star Wars trilogy of films so we know the conclusion. However, the events of Rogue One could depict a lead in for Jyn Erso and possibly several other characters to join the current Star Wars universe. But until Rogue One premieres, we won't know if anyone from the cast survives to appear in follow up films.
In the grand scheme of things, it would make sense for someone like Jyn Erso to be given an a full introduction during Rogue One, while setting her up to play a pivotal role in the upcoming Star Wars Episode VIII or Episode IX but there's no certainty to any of it. And from what's known, Jyn Erso hasn't been seen in the Star Wars universe so it isn't likely that she survives the events of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Could Jyn Erso Appear In Star Wars: Episode VIII?
No matter. For now, we can simply look forward to Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) making a name for herself in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Hopefully, the Rogue One story continues in Episode VIII, at the same time, placing Jyn Erso in an influential role within the Resistance.
When Episode VIII debuts, General Leia is going to be grieving over Han Solo's death so she might not be in the right state of mind to lead the Resistance. Leia will have help from Laura Dern's unidentified character in leading the Resistance but their alliance won't be amicable.
Apparently, Dern's character will be a Resistance fighter, wanting to take command of the Resistance but the other details around her character seem to imply she has antagonistic motives, which means there's still a vacancy for a capable leader to the Resistance and Jyn Erso could very well fill that void.
Should Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) have a role in Star Wars Episode: VIII or Episode: IX? And should Jyn create a lightsaber of her own? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.