Exclusive: How Rogue One Made Gareth Edwards Want Donnie Yen in All His Films

While the film itself is still about two weeks away, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hype has already arrived in a significant way. That's helped by the fact that Lucasfilm and Disney have finally showed press some of the film. While it was only select clips cut together for about 28 minutes of footage, there was a highlight that no one could seem to stop talking about: Donnie Yen as Chirrut Îmwe, kicking all sorts of stormtrooper butt.

"That was cool. That was Donnie full on," director Gareth Edwards told Comicbook.com of the scene after the screening. Edwards said he couldn't pick a favorite of the "lots of little bits [he's] proud of," but did light up at the mention of that particular sequence. It's the scene teased in trailers and clips, but not shown in full by any means. There are nuances to the action sequence, and in its full form it showcases Yen's tremendous athletic ability.

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(Photo: Lucasfilm)

"He basically – we set that whole thing up, and we had to shoot most of it in a day, and it’s pretty remarkable what he does," Edwards said. "I didn’t really have a full appreciation for him until he came on the set and did an action scene. He was [already] a great actor, and we got on really well, but it was only he did his first martial arts moment where I was like, ‘Holy shit. This is not a human being!’," he said with a laugh.

The director was so impressed, he's ready for more Yen in his future.

"I have been converted. All my films will have Donnie Yen in them from now on," he said with a smile but an air of seriousness.

Edwards earlier expressed his relief at the positive reaction to the film so far, while promising "the best is yet to come."

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits US theaters December 16, 2016. Directed by Gareth Edwards, it's the first of the new standalone features from Lucasfilm and Disney, which take place outside the core "Skywalker Saga" of films noted by an Episode number. Rogue One tells the story of the small band of rebels that were tasked with stealing the plans to the first Death Star. The story spins directly off the opening crawl from the original Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. In that crawl, it read: "Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire. During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet."

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