The most subtle nod to the original Star Wars trilogy that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story includes is sitting right under people’s noses.
Rogue One takes place before the events of Episode IV: A New Hope, and although that has a few implications for the plot, it’s also important to keep in mind when the film takes place. A New Hope was released in 1977, at the height of disco music, blockbuster films and, most importantly for the cast of Rogue One, mustaches.
Rogue One is full of mustaches, and although that might not seem like a big deal to some, it’s the simplest nod that director Gareth Edwards could have come up with. The Rebel pilots are outfitted with classic ‘70s-inspired mustaches, and it’s a facet of the film that fans have already begun expressing their enthusiasm for.
On Reddit, one user said that he adored the fact that Edwards kept the ‘70s aesthetic, staying true to the original franchise.
“That's one thing I'm really excited for with Rogue One is that they've kept the kind of retro-futuristic aesthetic of the classic trilogy, terrible 70s hairstyles and mustaches and all,” he wrote.
Another user agreed, adding that they were really worried the mustaches would disappear, but was happy to see that Edwards kept with the chronological timeline of the films.
“The 70s aesthetics was one of the main parts I loved the most,” they wrote.
Polygon’s own Charlie Hall tweeted out his enthusiasm for the look, adding that it definitely looked like one of the original Star Wars movies.
"Alright, for Rogue One we need to evoke the original Star Wars. Bring me... your most 70's facial hair." pic.twitter.com/ASqq0KXRsC— Charlie Hall (@Charlie_L_Hall) November 19, 2016
Mustaches in Star Wars are pretty iconic, but only as far as the original series is concerned. When the prequel trilogy rolled around, with the release of Episode I: The Phantom Menace in May 1999, the mustaches were replaced with beards and clean-shaven gents. Gone were the days of Billy Dee William’s glorious facial hair stylings.
In order to make it feel as authentic as possible, Edwards told extras that they had to grow out their mustaches and sideburns to give it that ‘60s and ‘70s feel. As a big fan of the series, Edwards has talked repeatedly about being terrified that he was going to mess up the film in some way, and paying attention to small details was a way to avoid that.
Below are a couple of cards from the Rogue One trading card game. They feature a group of Rebels in their pilot suits sporting the classic mustache, and some stellar solo shots illuminating the ‘stache. It’s an obvious tribute to the pilots of A New Hope, who can be seen in the photo just underneath the cards.
There are a few other nods to previous Star Wars films in Rogue One — including a couple of major cameos — but the decision to include mustaches is evidence that Edwards took every aspect of the film’s chronological setting very seriously.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theaters Dec. 16.