Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theaters this week, launching a new chapter in the Star Wars universe. With this first standalone movie, Lucasfilm hopes to let the masses know what some Star Wars fans who have been reading novels and comics and playing games for decades already do: the Star Wars franchise has room for all sorts of genres and tales to be explored.
The first thing a good story needs is great characters, and with a diverse cast that includes Felicity Jones, Donnie Yen, Riz Ahmed, Ben Mendelsohn, and many more, it looks like fans will find plenty of characters to identify with and love in Rogue One. Thanks to Lucasfilm and the Star Wars twitter account, we have simple looks at each character on these official character cards, which should tell you everything you need to know about them going into the film.
Click through the slides to learn the basics of each character, and our insight on these latest Star Wars stars.
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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The main character of the film, Jyn Erso is recruited by the Rebel Alliance to bring together a disparate group on an impossible mission: go behind enemy lines of the Empire and steal the plans to their superweapon the Death Star. Recruited because of family ties, Jyn "truly hates the Empire," as actress Felicity Jones said at the press conference for the film, and has had a troubled life since being separated from her parents at a young age. Her task may seem impossible, but as she says in the trailers, "We have hope."
A blind monk who firmly believes in and worships the Force, Chirrut Îmwe gives Star Wars fans a look at what the Force can mean to those in the galaxy who can't necessarily wield it the way the Jedi and Sith do. The fact that Hong Kong action star Donnie Yen is playing the character means we're sure to see plenty of incredibly butt-kicking sequences from Chirrut, but his philosophy of "trusting in the Force" may prove to be even more important and compelling.
Chirrut Îmwe's best friend and body guard, Baze Malbus is a bit more skeptical about the Force and its connective and fateful guidance. It's funny, since we'll meet him on Jedha, a holy land for Force worshippers, and his best friend is a very spiritual and religious person. His heavy weapons expertise should come in handy for a Rebellion that's fighting in a generally out gunned, out manned, out numbered, out planned fashion. Chinese actor and director (what he's actually more known for) Jiang Wen lends his skills to the role.
Captain Cassian Andor
Diego Luna plays Captin Cassian Andor, the seniormost member of the crew in the Rebel Alliance. It's clear he's been with the Rebellion for awhile, though exactly how long hasn't been factored in. Andor may take a backseat to Jyn Erso, who it looks like he's charged with watching over, but his dedication to the cause should serve this band of rebels well. He's almost always accompanied by his faithful droid companion, K-2SO, who he rescued from the Empire.
A reprogrammed Imperial Security Droid, K-2SO owes his freedom to Captain Cassian Andor, whom he's fiercely loyal to. "If Cassian tells him to do something, he will, he's devoted to Cassian. He has his differences of opinion with Cassian, but he's a devoted character," actor Alan Tudyk, who played the role in both full performance capture and voice acting, told Comicbook.com. The droid also looks like he'll inject some comedic relief into the film, giving fans a chance to breathe between the intensity, drama, and action.
Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed) is an Imperial pilot, but he's not flying any fancy TIE fighter or shuttling around big wigs in the Empire's impressive staff. Instead, he's a simple cargo pilot, who realizes he's on the wrong side of the war and defects to join the Rebellion. Precisely what drives him to do so hasn't been revealed in the promotional materials leading up to the film, but following in the footsteps of pilots like Han Solo, Anakin Skywalker, and Rey means his role certainly brings more to the film than some might expect.
Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) is a Rebel extremist, willing to do anything necessary to take down the Empire. He's been fighting for most of his life, a veteran of the Clone Wars (and veteran of Star Wars: The Clone Wars the animated series) with ties to the Erso family, as revealed in the prequel novel Catalyst. He's also on the planet Jedha, though we don't yet know whether he has a direct link to Chirrut and Baze, also found on that world. Saw is on the fringe of the Rebel Alliance, but his tactics may be necessary if Jyn and her team are going to find success.
Director Orson Krennic
Thanks to the prequel novel Catalyst, we know that Orson Krennic has been on the Death Star project for a long time. The character (played by Ben Mendelsohn), started on the project during the Clone Wars, when it was the brainchild of mere Supreme Chancellor Palpatine and the Republic. As Director of the Empire's Advanced Weapons Division, Krennic clashes with Darth Vader, Tarkin, and also has to deal with Rebel spies trying to stop the project. He's the main antagonist of the film, and his long connection to the Erso family should provide plenty of tension.
Galen Erso has not yet received his own character spotlight card, but don't let that fool you: he's incredibly pivotal in Rogue One. As described in the prequel novel Catalyst, Galen (Mads Mikkelsen) is the scientist who discovers how to harness the power of the Kyber crystals, the near-mystical crystals that power Jedi lightsabers. A massive Kyber is needed to power the Death Star's main planet-destroying laser, and Galen Erso is at first tricked into helping develop it; where that story goes in the film remains to be seen, though we've seen him forcibly taken from his family by Krennic in the trailers, so it looks like he's brought back to the project whether he likes it or not.
While he didn't get a character spotlight card, Darth Vader's presence in Rogue One should be a strong one. While Gareth Edwards and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy have both cautiously downplayed his actual screentime (it looks like he won't be in a ton of the movie), his appearance in the film is absolutely necessary. Orson Krennic is the primary antagonist, but Vader represents the real threat of the Empire, and how dangerous and intimidating the Force can be.
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