Rogue One Bits: New Character Revealed, a Discussion of Force Sensitivity, and the Politics of ‘Star Wars’
Posted on Tuesday, November 15th, 2016 by Jacob Hall
In this edition of Rogue One Bits:
- Felicity Jones promises a more “authentic” Star Wars movie.
- Another Rogue One: A Star Wars Story character officially has a name.
- A new TV spot has a surprising message for viewers.
- Is Donnie Yen‘s Chirrut “Force sensitive” or not?
- Gareth Edwards explains what it’s like to design a new Star Wars ship.
- Read an excerpt from Star Wars: Catalyst.
- The writers and stars of Rogue One get political.
- And more!
Felicity Jones, fresh off the Inferno press tour, is now spending every waking moment talking about her role in Rogue One. Some of the stories she has to share are fun and fluffy, like when she got to meet Mark Hamill when he visited the set:
Mark Hamill came to visit. The Empire Strikes Back is a massive inspiration for Rogue One, so Gareth and I were almost bowing down to him. It was really special to meet him. He always comes across so well, just genuine person who hasn’t been affected by that incredible thing.
Others help paint a picture of what we can actually expect from Rogue One:
It was so important to bring authenticity. In this one, Stormtroopers are not all completely white and clean. They’ve got scratches on them and they’ve been through difficult times. At every level it was bringing a level of reality. I love shooting like that. It was great to work with someone like Gareth who kept it very fresh, who would say to go with your instinct. It brought such freshness to it, which I think audience are really ready for.
I often joke about how every single background character in the Star Wars universe has a name and extensive backstory even if they have two seconds of screen time in one of the films, but it’s a joke that comes from a place of love. I truly, madly, deeply love that every single person who appears on screen in Rogue One has a history of some kind that fans will be able to explore elsewhere. So prepare to learn more about Rebel X-Wing pilot Zal Dinnes, whose name was officially revealed as part of a trading card release.
This TV spot for Rogue One consists mostly of footage we’ve seen before, but there are a few new snippets and a few lines of fresh dialogue if you have 30 seconds to burn. What’s really interesting is the message that accompanies the end of the spot, with a voice over and written text informing the world that “this film contains scenes that may be too intense for younger viewers.” We knew that Gareth Edwards set out to make a hardened war film set in the Star Wars universe, but is it hardened enough to demand a special warning? And is that just a temporary message until the film gets slapped with its PG-13 rating?
We’ve known for some time that there aren’t any Jedi in Rogue One. However, we’ve also known that Donnie Yen’s character, the blind warrior Chirrut Îmwe, is a believer in the Force who has dedicated his life to its practices. This has ignited a discussion over whether or not he is “Force sensitive” or not, a phrase that seems to mean something a little different to every Star Wars fan. Star Wars News Net has done a fine job of rounding up as much information as possible on this matter, especially since official materials from Lucasfilm have described him as “attuned to the mystical energy of the Force.” The results aren’t as cut-and-dried as some fans may hope, but I like that it’s a little messy – grand, abstract concepts like the Force shouldn’t be so easy to pin down.
Rogue One is the cover story for the latest issue of SFX and Games Radar has posted a few excerpts from the magazine’s interview with director Gareth Edwards. One of the most interesting details involves Edwards explaining just how much of Star Wars‘ technology is grounded in real world history:
In your brain you think Star Wars is 50% sci-fi and 50% historical/real world, but it’s really like 90% historical/real world and 10% science fiction…To the point where when they were designing all the weapons and the guns, one of the first faux pas I committed is they would show me ideas for guns for Deathtroopers. They’d have all these different designs and you’d say, this one feels too antiquated, this one feels like something they’d have in World War 2. They’d say that’s exactly the Stormtrooper weapon from A New Hope. [Back then] they were just grabbing real world guns and costume, and just doing a little thing to it that made it feel like Star Wars – if you go too far it’s Flash Gordon, or it’s Star Trek.
Considering that George Lucas used footage shot during World War II as a reference point for many of his action sequences, this makes a lot of sense. Edwards also explains what it’s like to design a brand new ship for the Star Wars saga:
It’s like a dream situation to be trying to come up with the ship you didn’t see in the original trilogy that feels like it might exist. That took ages, about six months. There were literally thousands of designs – we didn’t go, ‘Okay, let’s design a U-Wing’ It’s let’s do whatever looks good and then we’ll pick a letter of the alphabet that it most looks like!
— ?????????? (@disneystudiojp) November 11, 2016
Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy recorded a special introduction to the new Rogue One trailer intended for Japanese audiences. However, her comments also serve as a reminder that George Lucas was heavily inspired by Japanese cinema when he made the original trilogy, using Akira Kurosawa’s Hidden Fortress as a template for the plot and characters. Lucas also sought out legendary Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune to play Obi-Wan Kenobi or Darth Vader, but nothing came of it.