While I was initially skeptical of Rogue One, the new trailers have won me over. Come December, this will be another slam dunk for the Star Wars franchise and will jump start the anthology films on a good note.
However, with any prequel movie there are issues. Since Rogue One is set so close to A New Hope anything we see on screen will have to fit effectively into the world of ANH. This is a difficult task, especially considering that the film makers need to make enough of the story unique to justify it standing on its own.
The biggest problem that has already cropped up in online forums is the new ships. In the trailers and leaked concept art we have seen three new vehicles that are not present in any of the original trilogy films: the TIE Striker, U-wing and Imperial Tank. Certainly if these vehicles are in Rogue One we would expect them to exist in the original trilogy films.
Of course, from a real world standpoint we understand that since the original trilogy films were made first it makes sense that these new vehicles do not show up. But how can we explain them being missing from an in-universe perspective?
Reddit Star Wars fans are already trying to fit them into the canon. Here is my take.
The Empire is huge. We only really saw them in a few combat operations. The TIE Striker might not be suited for the types of battles that we saw in the OT, but better suited for the battles we will see in Rogue One. The tank works best in tight urban combat, something we have never seen the before. The U-wing probably isn’t going to be very helpful attacking the Death Star in space or in dense forests like Endor.
I think of it like watching a World War II movie about the European Theater. We would expect to see certain tanks and airplanes but not other ones. For example, a movie about the ETO won’t have a B-29 in it because they just didn’t use them over there, just like a movie about the Pacific probably won’t feature a British Lancaster bomber. Same with these movies, we are only seeing specific theaters of operations that use specialized equipment.
There is probably also some issue with ships becoming obsolete. For instance, the TIE Striker might be a hot fighter before Yavin but by the time Endor rolls around it could be obsolete and replaced by ships like the TIE Interceptor. This happens a ton during war time. The airplanes at the start of World War II were hopelessly outclassed by the ones at the end, and that was over a six year period.
So don’t hurt your head trying to figure out why the U-wing didn’t participate in the Battle of Yavin. It all works out.