If you watched the new behind-the-scenes featurette released last week for “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” you may have glimpsed a shot of actor Diego Luna, who plays Captain Cassian Andor, palling around with a character that looks a lot like a fan-favorite character.
In 1983’s “Return of the Jedi,” everyone fell in love with Admiral Ackbar, the Mon Calamari military commander whose cry of “It’s a trap!” became one of the franchise’s most quotable lines. Ackbar made his triumphant return to the big screen last year in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but in “Rogue One” we’ll meet another of his amphibious species, Admiral Raddus.
The new character, who’s shown above with Luna, is a bit bulkier than Ackbar, and boasts a blackish-blue skin tome. However, according to “Star Wars” creature effects supervisor Neal Scanlan, the inspiration for the Mon Calamari is decidedly more down to Earth: former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
“We always tried to find a real-world example of who these creatures may be, and in this case we used Churchill,” he explained to Entertainment Weekly. “Admiral Raddus is a very strong figure. We would use [Churchill] not only as visual reference for his physical features, but also when it came to performing him and expressing him through the actor.”
According to Scanlan, this is a normal practice in the film industry. “You try to look at a famous actor, or a statesperson or something like that. Someone you could use,” he said. “Rogue One” also features aliens modeled after such film icons as Bela Lugosi, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ernest Borgnine, Lee Van Cleef and Peter Lorre.
Directed by Gareth Edwards, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” stars Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Jiang Wen and Forest Whitaker. The film opens Dec. 15 in the United Kingdom and Dec. 16 in the United States.
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