A big part of why Rogue One: A Star Wars Story became such a hit was due to its cast of characters. The diverse and multifaceted crew of Rogue One provided opportunities for fresh storytelling within the Star Wars universe, which many fans embraced.
But as it turns out, one of the group's members initially had a completely different characterization. Bodhi Rook, played by The Night Of star Riz Ahmed, went through a bit of an evolution to become the character fans eventually saw onscreen. According to Ahmed, the character he signed on to play was different in multiple ways, and had an even stronger connection with Saw Gererra (Forest Whitaker).
“His name was Bokan," Ahmed explained in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, "and he was actually Saw Gerrera’s engineer, living on a planet with a strong electromagnetic field, which meant that electronics were never working. He was actually an Imperial engineer who had been kidnapped and kind of had Stockholm Syndrome. He had been living there for so long, he kind of lost it, like Dennis Hopper in Apocalypse Now."
Many elements of this initial characterization were ultimately seen in Bodhi, albeit in a different way. Presuming that Bokan would've ultimately been freed by the Rogue One crew and brought along on their mission, it isn't too far-fetched to think that the scene where they do so would've played out similarly to how it did the final film. After Saw tortures Bodhi with the help of a mind-reading slug, his brain is temporarily scrambled in a way that sounds very similar to this initial role.
According to the film's director, Gareth Edwards, these changes that were ultimately made helped turn Bodhi into a more developed and interesting character.
"With Riz, we needed a person that was stuck in this life with the bad guys. He had gotten there by accident and the only way he could survive was to play along. Deep down he had guilt. He was going to be one of those characters that was going to help turn this around. He wasn’t brave at the start but found bravery in the end. Even though we changed the literal character, that underlining concept stayed intact. We thought it would be stronger if he wasn’t Saw Gerrera’s guy, but instead he knew Galen. Those sorts of things changed, but the desire for them feels similar."
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will hit Digital HD on March 24 and then Blu-ray and DVD on April 4.
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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.