This weeks issue of Entertainment Weekly goes behind the scenes of the next Star Wars film to hit theaters this year, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”. The front cover above confirms in the headline that “DARTH VADER IS BACK!”
Before Luke fired the blast that detonated the Death Star, before Leia launched R2-D2 to a remote desert world with secret plans for that battle station, someone had to locate and steal those schematics.
Turns out, it was a team effort.
In this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly, we bring you an inside look at Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which explores just how the Rebellion came to possess the information that revealed the fatal flaw in the Empire’s super weapon. It’s a battlefield heist that fans have been imagining for nearly 40 years, described in the opening crawl of 1977’s original Star Wars, with little details scattered throughout.
And here are some new photos and character biographies for the cast of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”:
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.)
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.”
???? (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 elsewhere. (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 save his revelation for later today. Check back to EW.com around 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT for a deeper exploration of this shadowy figure …
OK. They are not revealing Forest Whitaker’s characters name. They say that “Star Wars” completists will recognize his name. Hmmmm. I think if it was someone that we would easily recognize they would have said Star Wars “fans”, not completists. So real diehard fans may recognize the name. But they also say that he looks different from what we are used to seeing him.
UPDATE: EW has revealed that the character that Forest Whittaker is playing is Saw Gerrera, who appeared in Season 5 of “The Clone Wars.”