Per wiki policy, Spoilers Off applies here and all spoilers are unmarked. You Have Been Warned.
Yes, Rogue One is a war movie that explores the "war" side of the story. Doesn't mean that everything has to be doom and gloom.
- The Jedi have not been forgotten by everyone following the Purge. Chirrut Îmwe is a firm believer in the Force, and never loses hope of their return, invoking the Force as a mantra to inspire his courage. He is no Jedi, but he has plenty of wisdom to display.
- As the team leaves Eadu after Galen's death, Chirrut clasps Jyn's hand in a moment of silent comfort.
- Five words: YAVIN 4. REBEL ALLIANCE HEADQUARTERS. Combined with the score swelling into the original Star Wars theme, it feels like coming home.
- The moment when Bail Organa first appears onscreen combined with the score lend itself to a powerful moment, bridging both halves of the Star Wars saga.
- Then, later on, as the Rebel Council disbands, Bail and Mon Mothma talk about the coming war:Bail: I must return to Alderaan. I must warn my people that there will be no peace. We will need every advantage.
Mon Mothma: [takes him aside] Your friend, the Jedi...
Bail: He served me well during the Clone Wars...yes, I will send for him.
Mon Mothma: You will need to send someone you can trust.
Bail: [smiles as he walks off] I would trust her with my life.
- Then, later on, as the Rebel Council disbands, Bail and Mon Mothma talk about the coming war:
- Saw Gerrera showing a weary happiness at seeing Jyn again, since he essentially raised her.
- Upon taking off from Yavin IV to go on Scarif for the Suicide Mission, Jyn says "May the Force be with us" to the Badass Crew that will soon take the name "Rogue One". They all agree—Chirrut in particular. He doesn't say anything, but the look on his face and small tap of his staff on the ground say it all about his inner Big "YES!".
- The loyalty Bohdi Rook has for Galen Erso, and the friendship the two likely had is a key factor in jumpstarting the story. Due to Galen entrusting Bohdi with the important message and his encouragement of the cargo pilot, Bohdi was inspired to defect from the Empire and join the Rebel cause. Bohdi refers to Galen as a "great man", and the reason he joined the Rebels was because Galen convinced him and strengthened his resolve by telling him that he is brave and strong enough to accomplish the task.
- Bohdi Rook, despite having defected from the Imperials quite recently, is heavily entrusted by the other members of Rogue One, and was the one who coined the name for the squad.
- Baze dies in a Last Stand against a squad of death troopers while reciting Chirrut's Force mantra, and lies tired and dying next to his best friend's body before an explosion also takes him out. The duo are Together in Death.
- As Kaytoo goes out, he encourages Jyn and Cassian not to give up, and seals the door to the room they're in, so that the Imperials can't reach them.
- Same goes for Jyn and Cassian. After they successfully transmit the plans, they're left stranded on Scarif, with the Death Star firing down not too far from their shore. As the light gets closer, the two of them hold hands and embrace each other in relief and reassurance that everything will be okay even after they're gone thanks to everyone's efforts. The fact that they died happy and together is even more sweet, considering all the carnage they've seen.
- Not long before that, after Admiral Raddus's ship receives the Death Star plans and sees the Death Star obliterate the Imperial base on Scarif, wiping out whats left of Rogue One, he commends them all for their bravery and sacrifice."Rogue One, may the Force be with you."
- Despite the ending, the sacrifice of the Rogue One protagonists was not in vain. The Death Star will be destroyed (albeit not before taking one more world with it), and it begins a domino effect leading to the fall of the Empire and eventual victory of the Rebel Alliance.
- The entire relationship between Jyn and Cassian has many heartwarming moments:
- Him standing up for her when her Rousing Speech doesn't go over well with the council.
- Demanding the fighters be called off when he sees her on the platform, only to rush in and save her himself.
- Finally, there's their embrace as they're enveloped by the explosion caused by the Death Star, which was preceded by them holding hands and an implied kiss in the elevator.
- Fans of the film have noted how Cassian always seem to look at Jyn like she's the most beautiful thing he's ever seen. It's even been compared to how Finn looked at Rey in The Force Awakens.
- There's a blink and you'll miss it moment when Rogue One is allowed entry into Scarif, Jyn runs up to Cassian and looks like she's about to kiss him, only to chicken out at the last moment and go down below.
- One fan went the extra mile and listed all the Jyn/Cassian moments in the film's novelization. They range from heartwarming to sad to even downright funny.
- The relationship between Jyn and Kaytoo. When they first meet, they're very wary of each other and don't trust each other at all. Despite that, Jyn still steps in to shield him when Saw's men almost shoot him for being an Imperial droid, and by the end of the film, she hands over her blaster in a deliberate Call-Back to the beginning (when he said he wanted a blaster and didn't trust her with one).K-2SO: Your behaviour, Jyn Erso, is continually unexpected.
- Said line is especially heartwarming, since K-2 specializes in statistical analysis, and he explicitly pronounced that Jyn was very likely to use her blaster in her team. Now that she's giving the blaster to him like he wanted and trusting his team, Jyn has defied his predictions, and he's fine with that.
- Baze calling Jyn "little sister."
- While mixed with Tear Jerker, Chirrut's death is almost a moment of heartwarming in and of itself as he steps out to reach the communications panel, repeating his mantra over and over as he walks right into the Deathtroopers' line of fire...and their shots continually fail to hit him, the Guardian of the Whills escaping harm until his task is finished. While not a Jedi, for one brief moment, it seems like the Force really is with him.
- K-2SO apologizing for slapping Cassian as part of a gambit to fool a squad of stormtroopers. It's hard to believe a droid could sound so guilty. Cassian and Kaytoo's relationship in general is damn heartwarming, as there's no trace of any kind of traditional Owner/Droid relationship. Cassian treats Kaytoo as his friend, and it's very clear that loyalty and friendship is felt in turn, despite their frequent forays into Vitriolic Best Buds territory.
- When caught in the middle of a skirmish between the Imperials and Saw's fighters, Jyn puts herself at risk to rescue a crying little girl trapped in the crossfire.
- When the Rebellion decides not to send its fleet to Scarif, Jyn is dejected at their inaction. However, Cassian, Chirrut, Baze, Bodhi, K2, and a squad of Rebel commandos all volunteer to help her stage what is essentially an unsanctioned suicide mission, because quitting now would make all of the sacrifices the Rebellion has made meaningless.
- Despite the main Rebel leadership being unwilling to commit their fleet to attack Scarif, the moment they learn the Rogue One team is there, they don't hesitate to deploy to aid the attack. Admiral Raddus already unilaterally departed with his fleet, hot on Rogue One's tail (having been the "I say we stand and fight" voice among the Councilors), and the Yavin Fighter Wing felt compelled to saddle up as well after the previous two did.
- Despite the fact that even once the panicked rebels trapped with Vader managed to think straight enough to hand off the Death Star plans the Tantive IV only manages to escape by the skin of its teeth, the crew stayed behind to the last moment. Trying to force the doors open, trying to save someone...
- During Vader's rampage down the hallway, the Rebel with the datafile keeps trying to get the door open until the last other soldier dies. As long as there was even one other trooper that could be rescued, he kept fighting to get them out of there.
- It's a heartbreaking kind of heartwarming, but after enduring a living hell for so long and uncertain whether he'd ever see Jyn again, Galen is fatally wounded but is finally reunited with his daughter and dies in the arms of someone he loves.
- Fans of Rebels are sure to be extremely happy to know that not only does Hera survive to see a fully formed Rebel Alliance, but she is a General.
- Cassian plans to kill Galen Erso, but stops when he sees Galen halt the execution of his fellow engineers, sacrificing himself to do so.
- According to the novelisation, he can't take the shot after noticing that Galen has the same eyes as his daughter.
- We may not yet know the full canonical story, but it's safe to say that the fighter wing of Luke Skywalker, hero of the Rebellion and slayer of the Death Star, being named Rogue Squadron had something to do with honoring the sacrifices of the Rogue One crew.
- Meta example: Guy Henry only agreed to play Tarkin when he would be digitally replaced by Peter Cushing's face because of his respect for the man.
- Also, Peter Cushing has really enjoyed his role as Tarkin in A New Hope and he had wished to came back in another Star Wars movie. With his face recreated on actor Guy Henry, in a way, Peter Cushing came back as Tarkin after all.
- Another meta one: despite the divisive nature of the prequel films, Jimmy Smits was brought in to play Bail Organa again. He gets an entrance just as big and meaningful as any of the returning players from the original trilogy.
- Ditto for Genevieve O'Reilly (who played Mon Mothma in Revenge of the Sith and came back). Her appearance is particularly sweet as the majority of her scenes in Revenge of the Sith were cut, reducing her to basically a cameo. The producers could have cast another actress to play the now twenty years older Mon Mothma but they chose to bring back O'Reilly.
- And it's good to see Drewe Henley and Angus MacInnes back in the cockpit as Red Leader and Gold Leader, respectively. These two Ace Pilots, appearing through unused ANH footage, ground us in a way no other characters truly can. James Earl Jones is doing his best, but it's been forty years; Peter Cushing is being resurrected via CGI; Bail Organa and Mon Mothma are played by their Prequel Trilogy actors, and though that makes total sense (it's been about 20 years both in Real Life and out), it's still not the real thing; even Leia is played by a body double with Carrie Fisher's voice dubbed over. Red Leader and Gold Leader, along with the obligatory C-3P0 cameo, are the only characters who appear as they were (and/or will be) in Episode IV. We've had all the accoutrements, but it isn't until they drop out of hyperspace that we are truly seeing Star Wars.
- "I don't need luck. I have you."
- What makes this even more heartwarming is that you'd expect the pious Chirrut to say "I don't need luck, I have the Force." But he doesn't. He trusts Baze even more than he trusts the Force—and from a man who has an immense trust in "some Invisible force controlling everything", that's saying something.
- From the novelization:They hunted in sync, Chirrut always prowling near the rebels and Baze always prowling near Chirrut. Baze did not limit his targets to those who might spot the blind man, but he kept Chirrut under observation nonetheless; where the Force would fail Chirrut, Baze would not.
- Baze is more faithful to and protective of Chirrut than the Force itself. Regardless of how you read their relationship, that's dedication. It makes a certain sort of Fridge Brilliance as well: Baze lost his faith in The Force, so he won't leave his friend's safety to chance.
- Mon Mothma, so calm and regal at all times, can't quite stop herself from smiling when she's told what Rogue One has done.
- Saw Gerrera, in contrast to the Cybernetics Eat Your Soul subtext of the main-series Star Wars films, remains one of the good guys to the end, despite being more machine than man.
- Galen's hologram message to Jyn. His love for his little Stardust has never faded, and soon it will help strike a blow for freedom...
- Which was also the codename he used for the Death Star, pulling double duty as a Meaningful Name, as it could render planets into it, but it was also a way to signal which project was "his" for those that could stop it.
- In an odd and twisted way, it's heartwarming to see Darth Vader ham it up and snark at his own discretion when dealing with Krennic. It shows that somewhere, deep inside, Vader never stopped being Anakin Skywalker.
- To expand, the novelization reveals that Krennic thinks "a senator from Naboo" tamed Vader. While he could easily be talking about Palpatine, that descriptor also applies to Padmé; if so, it would explain why Vader wasn't giving Krennic any chances.
- The plans are successfully uploaded to the rebel flagship, and, in the nick of time, are given to Leia on board the Tantive IV. She smiles at that huge breeze of hope the Rogue One commandos have just given to the Alliance and the galaxy as a whole, and the ship escapes.Captain Antilles: Your Highness—the transmission we received. What is it that theyve sent us?