Clues deduced from the trailer and a Legends comic point to Jyn Erso, who we thought was the main hero in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, being a double agent.
When I first heard the theory that Jyn Erso might be a double agent in Rogue One, I was skeptical. It seemed like a wild idea. But the more I thought about it, the more clues I found, both in the trailer and in a Reddit user’s comparison of Jyn to a female Imperial agent in Legends, giving the theory validation.
First, the fact Jyn wears an Imperial uniform at some point during the film could be a clue as to where her true loyalties lie. My first thought upon seeing her in the uniform was she is wearing it as a disguise in order to infiltrate an Imperial facility without being detected or questioned. But often the most obvious answer is made obvious for a reason: to keep fans from sniffing out the truth.
A second clue, and something I, at least, forgot up to now, is the circumstances under which Jyn comes to serve the Rebel Alliance. In the first trailer for Rogue One, Jyn is shown being led into the rebel base on Yavin IV, her wrists cuffed in front of her. Later, a rebel officer enumerates Jyn’s many acts of rebellion against the Empire, and Mon Mothma calls her “reckless, aggressive, and undisciplined.” Yet, despite all that is being said against her and her bodily restraints, Jyn agrees to go on the mission to steal the Death Star plans. She complies.
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In a way, it sounds like the Rebel Alliance leadership gets Jyn’s loyalty too quickly. Jyn is a rebellious person, after all, and from all we’ve heard and seen of her, it doesn’t appear she plays well with others. What if, instead, Jyn purposely committed acts of outright and violent rebellion against the Empire so the Alliance would notice and recruit her? Being a member of the Death Star mission would allow her to make sure the Alliance doesn’t get the right data tapes. Alternatively, she could be doublecrossing both the Empire and the Rebellion in using them to get the plans for herself for some other reason, perhaps one involving her father, Galen Erso, a scientist whose mysterious discoveries are wanted by both the Empire and the Alliance.
Finally (and this is less of a clue and more speculation): We’ve had trouble identifying the person in the photo below, because none of the ideas we’ve tried (Darth Vader and Director Krennic, for two), work. But, in light of the theory Jyn is a double agent secretly working for the Empire, what if Jyn is the hooded figure kneeling before the tank?
It makes sense the figure is Jyn for a couple of reasons. The first reason is the figure’s shoulders are small enough to belong to a petite woman like Jyn. For the second, notice how far back the red guards are placed in the above shot. The hooded figure looks big, but only because there is no one standing right next to him or her to compare sizes with. In other words, the shot could have been set up as an optical illusion to make us think the figure is big and broad enough to be Darth Vader or Orson Krennic, the two major villains in the film, and thus deflect our attention from the fact it is really a small person about Jyn’s size.
There is one more point to make to further the argument that Jyn could be a double agent, but it is less of a clue and more food for thought. A Reddit User noted Jyn’s outfits look eerily similar to those of a popular Legends character: Mara Jade, who, as it turns out, was an agent for the Empire.
We have to be careful when basing speculations off Legends characters and stories, because it’s easy for the two to crossover without the creators even knowing it. For example, the first two collages don’t hold water as far as proving the in the lower left hand corner is Jyn, because hoods and cloaks are all over Star Wars and not exclusive to this one character in this one comic. The last two comparisons, however, are almost too on point for the similarities to be accidental: In the first comparison, both characters are wearing a scarf and vest and carrying a blaster, while in the second, both appear to be wearing Imperial pilot uniforms.
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Again, we have to be careful in how far we speculate here. Whoever designed Jyn’s outfits may have taken inspiration from Mara’s, but wearing a similar style of clothing doesn’t mean Jyn herself is meant to be a canon mirror image of Mara. Still, when the similarities are so obvious, it’s hard to not imagine where else the characters might be alike. But just to clarify: I am not saying Jyn Erso is Mara Jade, by any means. Even if the two are similar to one another, Jyn is her own person and part of the canon Star Wars universe. Mara is a Legends character, and sadly for some, is likely to remain that way for the foreseeable future.
Throwing all other clues and points aside, it would be an awesome plot twist if Jyn turned out to be a double agent. The Rebel Alliance ends up with the Death Star plans eventually, of course, so if Jyn starts out working for the Empire in the beginning of Rogue One, she probably won’t work for them throughout the whole movie. But grappling with whether to support her rebel comrades and their cause or turn them into the Empire to be interrogated and tortured would lend Jyn a layer of complexity we haven’t really seen in a Star Wars film character, much less a female character. Rogue One would do much to set itself apart and gain critical acclaim if it could pull off a traitor story arc successfully.
What do you think of Jyn Erso as a double agent? Do you think this theory holds water? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.