Rogue One: Why Jedha Is So Important To Both The Jedi And The Empire

Recently we learned that the Jedha, the new planet in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, is "very important" to both the Empire and the Jedi. Why is the Empire occupying the Jedi holy land? Actor Donnie Yen reveals why Jedha is so important to both factions, after the jump.

So why is Jedha so important to the Jedi? When we talked to director Gareth Edwards at Star Wars Celebration Europe 2016, he spoke in depth about Jedha, but he was good about leaving out some of the key details. Donnie Yen plays Chirrut Imwe, a blind warrior who lives on the planet of Jedha. The actor was asked by Extra TV why the Imperials are occupying Jedha. Here is his response:

"Jehda is the planet where they have these resources to build and make Lightsabers"

That's right; Jedha is the place where Jedi gets their Kyber Crystals for their lightsabers. We know that these same crystals also power the Death Star. And we also know that Mads Mikkelsen plays Jyn's father Galen Erso, a scientist that has created something beautiful that is used for bad by the Empire. This is the Death Star, making Galen the galactic version of nuclear pioneer J. Robert Oppenheimer.

Jedha is not the only place to get Kyber Crystals in the galaxy. MakingStarWars points out an episode of The Clone Wars where we see younglings on a quest to retrieve Kyber Crystals on the ice planet of Illum. It's possible that on Jedha the Crystals are easier to be found by non-force users. I'm also interested to see what a Force-infused object like Kyber Crystals might do for non-Force users.

A new Star Wars databank entry also gives us more insight on the new planet Jedha:

A small desert moon frosted by a permanent winter, Jedha is home to one of the first civilizations to explore the nature of the Force. At one time a world important to the Jedi Order, Jedha serves as a holy site for pilgrims from across the galaxy who seek spiritual guidance. Now, the Empire occupies Jedha, and a prolonged battle between Imperial forces and scattered Rebels carries on in the timeworn streets.

The world's permanent winter explains Captain Cassian's choice in wardrobe. Other new entries provide extra details for Chirrut Îmwe and Baze Malbus:

Deeply spiritual, Chirrut Îmwe believes all living things are connected through the Force. His sightless eyes do not prevent him from being a highly skilled warrior. Though he lacks Force abilities, this warrior monk has rigorously honed his body through intense physical and mental discipline.

The harsh reality of his Imperial-occupied home world has hardened Baze Malbus into a pragmatic soldier and a crack shot with his heavy repeater cannon. Baze has a bravado that provides a marked contrast to the spiritual centeredness of his best friend and moral compass, Chirrut Îmwe.

I'm sure we'll learn much more about Rogue One: A Star Wars Story when the new trailer gets released on Thursday night. Here is a 15-second sneak peek: