Continuing the marketing push for the upcoming Star War spin-off Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Entertainment Weekly has released a slew of new photos. The images spotlight all of the film’s characters as well as Darth Vader and a plethora of background characters while revealing key backstory information for the film.
We now know the identities of several of the Rebel leaders spotted in the briefing room on Yavin IV in the trailers. Seen huddle around the table are Senators Jebel (Jonathan Aris, in red/grey), Vaspar (Fares Fares, in blue), and Pamlo (Sharon Duncan-Brewster, gold).
The next image reveals a new character named Tivik (David Mays). Tivik is Cassian Andor’s (Diego Luna) underworld connections to the insurgent group led by Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker). Tivik looks a lot like Pablo Hidalgo, the head of the Lucasfilm story group.
It turns out Moff Jerjerrod (Michael Pennington) wasn’t the only Imperial Commander who displeased his superiors while overseeing the construction of a Death Star. Director Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) is the visionary responsible for perfecting the Imperial superweapon. But his lack of faith in the force has left Darth Vader doubtful of his capabilities. Kiri Hart, Lucasfilm’s head of story development offered some insight:
“Here is the thing about Krennic: his perspective obviously is that of a person who doesn’t understand the Force. And Darth Vader comes at everything from the perspective of understanding the Force. So that I think is the thing that you see sort of separating Darth Vader from other characters with regards to a super weapon like this.”
As we saw in the original classic A New Hope, Darth Vader was never impressed with the technological terror that is the Death Star. Vader sees the bigger picture compared to his subordinates but nonetheless, the Sith lord also follows orders and there is nothing more valuable to the Emperor as the Death Star being that it would cement the Empire’s grip on the galaxy for the foreseeable future. Kiri Hart added:
“There are military men who are interested in a really effective piece of military hardware, and Darth Vader is a little bit beyond that, right. He’s tapped into something on another level, on a spiritual level. So, that’s part of the fun of Vader in the context of the Imperial Military. He’s got a broader perspective.”
The Empire Strikes Back showed us that failing Lord Vader results in death so there’s a good chance Director Krennic will be his demise via force choke due to his apparent lack of progress perfecting the Death Star.
The climactic battle of Rogue One is set to take place on and over top of the planet Scariff, home to the Imperial base where the Death Star was constructed. But before the rebellion can infiltrate the base, they first must destroy the shield gate. The planet of Scarrif is so valuable to the Emperor, he has it protected with a massive shield to prevent intruders from landing on the planet.
If you’ve been reading Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel, then you already know the lush green world seen in the trailers is the planet Lah’mu. Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen), an expert in Kyber crystals, fled there to avoid working on the Death Star with his longtime friend Director Orson Krennic. Sadly, Galen cannot escape his past and it’s only a matter of time before Krennic catches up to him with his squad of Deathtroopers to coerce Galen into helping perfect the Death Star.
EW also revealed that some of the infamous reshoots for the film were to add depth to the charactered of Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed). Rook is a former Imperial who defects to the Rebellion. His personality is described as a frenetic survivor. Apparently, Ahmed and Edwards looked to Dennis Hoppers nonconformist character from Apocalypse Now.
Last but not least, my personal favorite of bit today’s scoop were the comments from the film’s director Garreth Edwards commenting on what it was like to make a Star Wars movie after growing up a fan of the franchise. Edwards is the second director Lucasfilm has hired who has grown up as a Star Wars fan. Having a fan direct these films lends a level of passion that wouldn’t be present otherwise. Myself and I’m sure many of you felt like you were watching someone play with a set of Star Wars toys when witnessing the trailers for this new generation of Star Wars films. Both JJ Abrams and now Garreth Edwards have crafted experiences that allow longtime Star Wars fans to feel as if they have stepped through a trap door back into their childhood bedroom or basement, surrounded by all of their favorite Star Wars toys but this time with a whole new level of imagination thanks to the advancements the industry has made with visual effects.
Edwards expressed his joy even in the face of tremendous pressure, being the director responsible for an experimental Star Wars film:
“Even though there’s a lot of pressure on this movie, it’s really impossible to feel it because it reminds you so much of when you grew up and when you felt most comfortable. It’s hard to get intimidated when you can constantly look left and see a Stormtrooper or look right and see an X-Wing. It just feels like you’re at home again.”
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theaters December 16, 2016.
Produced by Lucasfilm, the film stars Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Mads Mikkelson, Donnie Yen, Alan Tudyk, Jiang Wen and Forest Whitaker with a script penned by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy. Directed by Garreth Edwards.
From Lucasfilm comes the first of the Star Wars standalone films, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” an all-new epic adventure. In a time of conflict, a group of unlikely heroes band together on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star, the Empire’s ultimate weapon of destruction. This key event in the Star Wars timeline brings together ordinary people who choose to do extraordinary things, and in doing so, become part of something greater than themselves. In theaters December 2016.