This week’s Entertainment Weekly looks at Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and gives a lot of new information. I’ll avoid most of the spoilers here, but I wanted to touch on the character profiles.
Jyn Erso – Felicity Jones
A streetwise delinquent who has been on her own since 15, she has fighting skills and a knowledge of the galactic underworld that the Rebel Alliance desperately needs. “She’s got a checkered past,” says Lucasfilm president and Rogue One producer Kathleen Kennedy. “She has been detained [by the Rebellion] and is being given an opportunity to be useful. And by being useful, it may commute her sentence… She’s a real survivor. She becomes a kind of Joan of Arc in the story.”
It’s good to see Disney using strong female characters in these films. I’ve read people call her description as generic, but I’m excited to see what she can do in the movie.
Captain Cassian Andor – Diego Luna
Andor is a by-the-book Rebel intelligence officer, brought in to steady the volatile Erso, but he’s no square. He’s committed, steady, and practical, and has seen more than his share of combat. “He conveys a fair amount of experience and the reality of what it’s like to do this every day, to try to figure out how to resist the Empire effectively and intelligently,” says Kiri Hart, Lucasfilm’s chief of story development. “It’s not easy.”
The buzz was Luna was playing Biggs Darklighter, Luke’s friend from Tatoonie that died attacking the Death Star. Much to their disappointment, Lugo is a new character. He seems a little more generic than Jyn, especially since he’s the straight-man to Jyn’s rebel.
Chirrut Imwe – Donnie Yen
Pronounced chi-RUT, he’s no Jedi, but he’s devoted to their ways and has used his spirituality to overcome his blindness and become a formidable warrior. “Chirrut falls into the category of being a warrior monk,” says Kennedy. “He very much still believes in everything the Jedi were about.” He maintains that belief even though the Jedi are no longer there to protect the galaxy. As director Gareth Edwards puts it: “This idea that magical beings are going to come and save us is going away, and it’s up to normal, everyday people to take a stand to stop evil from dominating the world.”
I would have loved to see Yen play a Jedi, but this isn’t bad either. I’m calling it now, this will be the breakout character of the movie; line up the toys.
Baze Malbus – Jiang Wen
Heavily armored, Baze prefers a blaster to hokey religions and ancient weapons, but he is devoted to protecting his friend Chirrut at all costs. “He understands Chirrut’s spiritual centeredness, but he doesn’t necessarily support it,” Kennedy says. Baze goes along with this Force business because “it’s what his friend deeply believes,” she adds. Think of them as a little like the galactic version of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza.
The Yin to Imwe’s Yang. I like this potential relationship, but I’m worried that they are trying to replicate the Han/Chewie dynamic.
Bodhi Rook – Riz Ahmed
Bodhi is this Rebel squad’s lead pilot. He tends to be hot-headed, but any abrasiveness is overshadowed by his skills in the air — and the void of space. “He flies a lot of cargo, one of his key jobs,” Kennedy says. “And he tends to be a little tense, a little volatile, but everybody in the group really relies on his technical skills.”
I’m guessing Rook isn’t going to make it out of the movie; that’s part of the problem of introducing new characters in a prequel. I’m not getting to attached to this one.
K-2SO – Alan Tudyk
This towering, powerful security droid is described by Edwards as “the antithesis of C-3PO.” In other words, he’s tough, confident, not especially interested in “human/cyborg relations,” and the complete opposite of a neurotic fussbudget. “Kaytoo is a little bit like Chewbacca’s personality in a droid’s body,” Edwards says. “He doesn’t give a s— about what you think. He doesn’t fully check himself before he says things and does things. He just speaks the truth.” Like Jyn, he’s also seeking a bit of redemption for past wrongs. Droids, too, can have regret.
Outside of the Astromech droids, droids have been under-utilized; we have C-3PO, but little other development with robot characters. With Tudyk as the droid, it should be pretty entertaining. I like the idea of this character and hopefully it’s not hokey.
Galen Erso – Mads Mikkelsen
Jyn’s estranged father is like the galactic version of nuclear pioneer J. Robert Oppenheimer, with doomsday knowledge that is sought by both the Empire and the Rebellion. “He’s one of those people that has insight into you know specific aspects of just how the universe works,” says Hart. Where has Galen been, if Jyn has been on her own for years? “The circumstances of how the family got to the state that it’s in is something that we probably don’t want to share right now,” Hart says. (Lucasfilm isn’t revealing his image yet, so this is file picture. Don’t worry — the button-down isn’t retro galactic fashion.)
I think Galen will be the one to design the laser and key to the Rebels getting the information they need. We really didn’t know anything about his character before this, and still don’t know much; in fact, they didn’t release a photo of him in costume.
Director Orson Krennic – Ben Mendelsohn
On the opposing side, this villain is an ambitious Imperial apparatchik who intends to use his squad of Deathtroopers to pulverize the Rebel uprising and ascend into the Emperor’s graces – while hopefully avoiding the wrath of his enforcer, Darth Vader. “The bad guy is a lot more terrifying when he’s really smart, and really effective,” says Knoll. “There is a lot of palace intrigue going on in the Empire, with people conspiring to move up the ranks and sabotaging each other. There’s not a lot of loyalty there.”
Mendelsohn’s character has been seen in the previews, but little else was known other than he was just an officer in the Imperial Navy. We still don’t know much, but there are a few glimpses here.
On thing that ties in with the other media is the backstabbing in the Imperial Ranks to move up and gain the Emperor’s favor.
Saw Gerrera – Forest Whitaker
This character has a past that Star Wars completists will recognize immediately when they see his name, even if he looks very different than the way they’ve seen him before. (He even looks different from when we saw him in the teaser trailer.) There’s so much to say about this character, we’re going to break out a separate on him and his history in The Clone Wars.
I was excited to see this information. Gerrera was in 4 episodes of the Clone Wars in season 5:
- Episode 2 – A War on Two Fronts
- Episode 3 – Front Runners
- Episode 4 – The Soft War
- Episode 5 – Tipping Points
Gerrera is part of a group of freedom fighters that requests the Republic aide against the Separatists; instead of sending troops, the Jedi Counsel sends Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, and Ashoka Tano to train them. Gerrera is one of those trainees.
He’s also mentioned later on in Star Wars lore; he’s briefly mentioned in Bloodline, a novel that takes place before The Force Awakens.
My question is this: why does he look different in the preview than he does in the promotional material? The preview has him without much hair (see below). I guess he could clean himself up after getting recruited by Jyn, or maybe the new look is courtesy of the planned reshoots.
Darth Vader – TBD
It’s been rumored for a while that Vader would show up and EW has confirmed this. The extent of his role and who will play him is still a mystery, although it has been confirmed that James Earl Jones will voice him.
This is about as spoilery as I’m getting with this movie; I won’t be reading anything else because I want to experience the whole thing at the theater.
One thing I’m excited about is they are drawing in the other Star Wars mediums; using Gerrera acknowledges that the Clone Wars is in canon and it ties into a book later on. Normally, the extended use material is not acknowledged in the movies; rather the extended universe typically expands on what goes on in movies.
The movie is coming out December 16; until then, here’s the trailer again.