Director Orson Krennic isn't like other primary Star Wars movie villains. In the original trilogy, you had Darth Vader and eventually the Emperor wielding the full power of The Force as the main villains. The rising Sith Lords in the prequel trilogy like Darth Maul and Count Dooku, plus the background true threat of Darth Sidious, were imposing and powerful, again, strong with the Force and wielding lightsabers. In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, fans were introduced to Kylo Ren, and the mysterious Supreme Leader Snoke.
But in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, sure, Darth Vader is there - but more looming in the background. The Rebel Alliance has to deal with Director Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) if they ever want a new hope to defeat the Sith Lords. This character, at first drawing comparisons to other non-Force sensitive Imperials like Grand Moff Tarkin or Grand Admiral Thrawn, doesn't even have as much in common with them.
"Ben's character was much more working-class," director Gareth Edwards told USAToday. He came up in the Empire, eventually running the Death Star project, "through sheer force of personality and ideas."
Still, even though he's become a Director, and works directly on the Emperor's grandest project, the Imperial elite aren't necessarily happy with a peasant fighting alongside them.
"He hits a brick wall in the hierarchy where they won't let him in the club, and it's going to turn into a them-or-us situation: either Krennic or Tarkin and the others," Edwards said.
As far as Vader's presence in the film, Edwards said having someone on set in that particular costume was imposing on its own.
“It’s like we're at the playground again and there’s this hero sort of standing there,” Edwards told the paper. “You end up very respectful of him: Even though you know there’s a guy inside the outfit, you still talk to him like he’s Vader.”
When filming with Mendelsohn and Vader, the prior and Edwards had their own little geek-out moment.
"He went, 'It's Darth Vader. We filmed with Darth Vader,'" Edwards said of Mendelsohn's reaction. "And I was like,‘I know. It’s amazing, isn’t it?’ It was like no one wanted to admit that they’re having a little fanboy freak-out but everyone did. It’s impossible not to. He’s so iconic."0comments
Edwards previously told ComicBook.com about his excitement in working with Darth Vader, and finding his first reveal shot. It's clear that while Krennic is the one the Rebels will match wits with directly, Darth Vader's presence will always be felt.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theaters December 16, 2016.