With only 15 days to go, The Star Wars Show goes all in on Rogue One. Shockingly, StarWars.com will be live-streaming the premiere red carpet on December 10, but for now Andi has a new interview with Gareth Edwards. (He also pre-reveals a couple of Easter eggs.)
→ A bunch of new stills have been released! Check them out at Comicbook.com. (Yes, that’s one above, and another on the left.)
A new behind-the-scenes Rogue One featurette appeared today. It features director Gareth Edwards, stars Felicity Jones and Diego Luna, plus several new pieces of footage.
It also appears to be the first to reveal that the film is rated PG-13 for “extended sequences of sci-fi violence and action.” Well, it is a war movie! Rogue One is the third PG-13 Star Wars film, after Revenge of the Sith and The Force Awakens.
→ Alexander Freed’s Rogue One novelization is moving up! The hardcover version will now be in stores on December 20, instead of January 3. The eBook release date hasn’t changed – it’ll still be out on December 16, same as the film. (Also, I think this got lost in the shuffle for me, but we did finally see the novelization cover last week. Surprise! It’s basically the poster.)
The publicity blitz for Rogue One begins with an Entertainment Weekly cover, introducing more of the story to mainstream movie fans, getting the word out that this is set before A New Hope, involves the Death Star, and all the other things your less-obsessive friends and family need to know. (Or, well, a few things you couldn’t tell them after the teaser trailer.) Here’s what we learned today:
Darth Vader is back
It feels like rumors about Darth Vader being in the film have been running rampant since day one, so it’s not at all a shock that EW comes straight out with it. (Also confirming that James Earl Jones is back to voice him, though multiple people will be donning the suit.) And hey, remember the mainstream? The mainstream LOVES Darth Vader. The marketing for Rogue One is absolutely going to use the guy, even if he just appears in 5 minutes of the film. It’s happening. Plus, it’s nice not to have to write around the utterly obvious any more. We also learned that Vader will only be used “sparingly.”
A Clone Wars character comes to the big screen
But the big surprise today wasn’t Vader, it’s the reveal of who exactly Forest Whitaker is playing. He’s Saw Gerrera, a character who was introduced on The Clone Wars but was originally created by George Lucas for the live-action series that never happened. Pablo Hidalgo talks a bit more about that on the latest Star Wars Show, and how Saw ended up in the movie. Dave Filoni talked to Comicbook.com about the character’s jump to the big screen.
Of course, there’s even more from Pablo on Twitter. The keyquotes, I think: “The idea, and we talked about this in Season 5, is that Saw was a key architect of the rebellion. But he’s definitely not Mothma or Organa,” and “Think of Saw as the uncle mom and dad don’t talk about. Something bad went down. He’s ‘disowned’ to some degree.”
StarWars.com also put up a feature on Saw: Ten things to know about the character, by our pal Amy Ratcliffe. Note that his hme planet, Onderon, originates in an early Legends source, the 1993 Tales of the Jedi comics.
New (to us) Imperials
Ben Mendelsohn is confirmed to be playing Director Orson Krennic. He’s trying to crush the Rebels while avoiding Vader’s wrath – and “palace intrigue” gets a mention, which is sure to please some.
He’s intended to be something of a contrast with the cold brand of Imperial epitomized by Grand Moff Tarkin, “Krennic runs a little hotter than that, so that’s kind of fun and it’s a little bit different,” Lucasfilm head of story development Kiri Hart tells EW. “He is unpredictable and volatile.”
The new black deathtroopers are “a new, deadlier breed of commando stormtrooper” who are “asked with hunting down and destroying the fragmented Rebel uprising.” There’s still a lot of questions about their purpose (and why we don’t see them again) but you can’t deny that they look pretty cool.
Welcome to the jungle
Rogue One introduces a new tropical paradise planet – as yet unnamed – that’s evokes the South Pacific and World War II. It was partially shot in the the Maldives.
Another location glimpsed in the new photos has tundra.
Meet the Ersos Lead Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) has “a checkered past,” Kathleen Kennedy says. “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.” The decision to have a female lead was made by John Knoll before he knew about Rey.
The beans were already spilled by Mads Mikkelsen, but it’s confirmed that he’s playing Galen Erso, Jyn’s father. EW describes him as “the galactic version of nuclear pioneer J. Robert Oppenheimer,” and Lucasfilm isn’t sharing many details just yet. Interestingly, they’ve also not released a photo of Mikkelsen in costume.
The rest of the gang
We also get a few details on the rest of the principal cast. Some of these we saw partially in that book leak from few weeks back. The group’s diversity is intentional. “People are coming to the Rebellion because something has happened that has galvanized or politicized them,” says Hart. “The question just becomes: What are those triggers for different people in different places?”
Donnie Yen’s Chirrut Imwe “very much still believes in everything the Jedi were about,” and that sounds very much like the tenets of the Church of the Force, the group led by Lor San Tekka that we saw briefly in The Force Awakens. Jiang Wen’s heavily armored Baze Malbus is a friend of Chirrut’s who’s supportive but not so much into all that Force business. The two are inspired by The Hidden Fortress, ala Threepio and Artoo, Kennedy says. Besides his staff, Chirrut also carries a brand-new weapon that could spark some debate until we see it in action.
Riz Ahmed’s Bodhi Rook is the group’s lead pilot. “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.” Here’s another photo.
Alan Tudyk’s droid K-2SO (Kaytoo) is described by director Gareth Edwards as “a little bit like Chewbacca’s personality in a droid’s body. He doesn’t give a s— about what you think.” Looks like Chopper is getting some company in the ‘cranky droid’ department. Here’s a full body shot.
Edwads also confirms that there are two background aliens who fight with the group, but “they’re not necessarily front-and-center.”
Jedi Bibliothek spotted preview pages for Rogue One: The Official Visual Guide Story on Edelweiss, which reveals several character names and new vehicles – plus our first clear look at two new aliens and the droid glimpsed briefly in the trailer. These may be considered spoilerly, so check out what we’ve learned under the cut.
Entertainment Weekly has a gallery with a closer look at the trailer imagery, including that ‘Jyn Erso’ is the proper spelling of Felicity Jones’ character’s name, and that is indeed Genevieve O’Reilly (from the Revenge of the Sith cut scenes) reprising Mon Mothma. io9 has a good breakdown, too.
Felicity Jones’ character is indeed front and center of Rogue One so far, and no one is unhappy with the racial diversity of the ensemble, but there has been some very definitepushback on yet another cast that is – at least initially – very low on women. Will we see more ladies added like we did with The Force Awakens or is this just the latest example of the Smurfette Principle in action?
We got our first look and additional cast and crew for Gareth Edward’s Rogue One at D23 today. In addition to Felicity Jones, who was announced previously, the Lucasfilm confirms rumors of Ben Mendelsohn, Diego Luna, Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen, Riz Ahmed, and Forest Whitaker. They also added Hannibals’ Mads Mikkelsen and Alan Tudyk (Firefly, A Knight’s Tale) whose role is performance-capture.
Additionally, it appears that the ‘Anthology’ branding has been somewhat dropped: The official logo for the film now says “A Star Wars Story.”