Entertainment Weekly’s coverage of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” continues to roll out. Following earlier reports announcing Darth Vader’s inclusion in the film and revealing Forest Whitaker’s character, the names and roles for the rest of the film’s characters have been revealed.
Felicity Jones plays Jyn Erso, described as a “streetwise delinquent” with information that the Rebel Alliance needs. “She’s got a checkered past,” said 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.”
Erso will be paired with the by-the-book Rebel intelligence officer Captain Cassian Andor, played by Diego Luna. Lucasfilm’s chief of story development Kiri Hart says Andor “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.”
“Chirrut [Imwe] falls into the category of being a warrior monk,” said Kennedy. Donnie Yen’s blind warrior isn’t a Jedi, but he is devoted to their tradition and Kennedy says he “still believes in everything the Jedi were about.”
By Chirrut’s side is Baze Malbus, played by Jiang Wen. His mission: protecting his friend “at all costs.” While the heavily armored warrior doesn’t necessarily believe in the Force, he follows Chirrut because — as Kennedy explains — “it’s what his friend deeply believes.”
Riz Ahmed plays Bodhi Rook, the Rebel squad’s “tense” and “volatile” lead pilot. He may be abrasive, but he’s a skilled pilot and Kennedy says “the group really relies on his technical skills.” One of his key jobs is transporting cargo
The droid K-2SO, performed via mocap by Alan Tudyk, is described by director Gareth Edwards as “Chewbacca’s personality in a droid’s body.” The security droid is the anti-C-3PO, said Edwards. “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.”
Unlike his castmates, the look of Mads Mikkelsen’s Galen Erso remains unrevealed. Described as “the galactic version of nuclear pioneer J. Robert Oppenheimer,” the senior Erso has knowledge that both sides of the war want to acquire. But why has Jyn been on her own? Lucasfilm isn’t telling just yet. “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,” said Hart.
Opposing the Rebel band is Director Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn). This Imperial operative has high hopes of getting on the Emperor’s good side, and squashing the Rebels with his Deathtroopers will accomplish just that. “There is a lot of palace intrigue going on in the Empire, with people conspiring to move up the ranks and sabotaging each other,” said John Knoll, who pitched the “Rogue One” story. “There’s not a lot of loyalty there.”
Lastly is Forest Whitaker’s character Saw Gerrera, a character previously established in season five of “The Clone Wars” animated series. Whitaker’s version is 20 years older. More information about his character has been revealed, separately.
Set outside of the main sequel trilogy that began with “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “Rogue One” is set just before 1977’s “Star Wars” and details the Rebel plot to steal the Death Star plans from the Empire. Directed by Gareth Edwards (“Godzilla,” “Monsters”) from a script by Gary Whitta and Chris Weitz, “Rogue One” stars Felicity Jones, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen, Forest Whitaker, Diego Luna and Riz Ahmed.
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” opens December 16.
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