Riz Ahmed Explains Bodhi Rook's Imperial Past in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

We’ve known peripherally in the past about characters from Star Wars who turned form the Empire [...]

(Photo: Lucasfilm)

We've known peripherally in the past about characters from Star Wars who turned form the Empire to the Rebel Alliance – after all, when you have such a galaxy-wide force like the Empire, there would have to be those who abandoned that cause to join the Rebels in order for them to have any chance. Wedge Antilles, for example, will be seen in season three of Star Wars Rebels as a TIE fighter pilot who leaves the Empire for the fledgling Alliance.

We'll see something similar on the big screen this December, when Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed) leaves the Empire for the Rebel Alliance in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. His costume, revealed up close at Star Wars Celebration Europe last month, still has that Imperial symbol on the shoulder, a mystery to many fans.

"I think it's to remind you of where you're coming from, remind you where your debts are. Do you know what I mean?" Ahmed told EW of the symbol. "For me personally, every day, looking at that, it reminds you of what you've done."

His character is a pilot for the Empire, but he's no high-flying TIE pilot, or even a pilot of the imposing Imperial shuttles, carting around the likes of Darth Vader or the Emperor. No, he's basically a glorified truck driver, a cargo pilot. He carries that no-nonsense mindset into his time with the Rebel Alliance.

"A character like Bodhi is not born into the life of a soldier," Ahmed said. "He's a pilot working for the Empire, doing his job, getting on with it. But when you put ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, it can freak them out. It can inspire deep passions. So I'm gonna defend Bodhi."

Fans shouldn't expect, then, for Bodhi to be flying a fancy, named ship like the Millennium Falcon. That's because in these early days of the Rebel Alliance, they're basically taking what they can get – something that's also being explored on Rebels this coming season in a major way, highlighting the way the Story Group keeps these things parallel.

(Photo: Lucasfilm)

"The feel of this film is quite rough and ready, and so is the mission and so are the characters, and so is the coming together of the characters. So the idea of people having special ships that they spit-shine and say, 'Hey, this is my ship called the XYZ,' that's not of this world. This world is more about 'Grab what you can, and let's roll,'" he said.

Ahmed also promises that all the characters have "interesting backgrounds" and described them as a "pack of misfits."

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is in theaters December 16, 2016. A new trailer will debut Thursday during the Olympics on NBC.

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