Rogue One Bits: The Main Inspiration For Jyn Erso, A Very Cool U-Wing Toy, And Alan Tudyk On Playing A 7-Foot Droid

In this edition of Rogue One Bits:

  • Felicity Jones reveals which character was her chief inspiration for Jyn Erso.
  • Alan Tudyk hilariously discusses what it is like to play a hulking droid.
  • A look at the known and unknown history of Mads Mikkelsen's Galen Erso.
  • Check out a magnet-powered U-Wing toy that hovers in place.
  • A Star Wars Target ad that works far better than it has any right to.
  • The chief problem facing Lucasfilm and Disney as Rogue One's release date approaches.

Felicity Jones is having one hell of a year. In addition to playing Jyn Erso in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, she's also starring alongside Tom Hanks in the upcoming Inferno and plays a key role in J.A. Bayona's A Monster Calls. And in a new interview with Yahoo Movies, she revealed that one of those projects allowed her to work with the actress behind her chief inspiration for Jyn:

Well, it's interesting because I didn't know [when shooting A Monster Calls] that I would be playing Jyn, who is very much inspired by Sigourney's character [Ripley] in Aliens. So it's interesting that we had worked together. But I've been so inspired by her work and she was a role model growing up.

Jyn Erso being inspired by Ellen Ripley actually makes a lot of sense. Ripley is one of the great science fiction heroines of all time, a character who is incredibly human, even when she rises to the occasion and kicks every ass in the room. In fact, Jones says that this angle could apply to all of the new Rebel characters:

I think you'll love all the rebels. Because they're flawed. They've all had histories, they've all had their own struggles, and I feel like people are going to really champion them and fall in love with them.

The rest of the interview, which mostly focuses on her other 2016 work, can be read at the link above.

Speaking of the Erso family, Star Wars Explained has dedicated an episode to exploring the know and unknown history of Galen Erso, Jyn's father and the scientist forced to help construct the Death Star. We still don't know too much about the character outside of what Mads Mikkelsen has revealed and the plot synopsis for an unreleased book, but this is still pretty solid.

Although Rogue One is set shortly before the events of the original Star Wars and features its fair share of familiar ships, it's also expanding both the Rebel and Imperial arsenals with new vehicles that we'll just have to assume were juuust offscreen during the events of the original trilogy. Naturally, the Empire's TIE Striker and the Rebel Alliance's U-Wing have already been the subject of numerous toy announcements, but this one may be one of the coolest ones yet. This U-Wing model uses magnets to hover in place, creating the illusion that the ship is taking off or landing. It's pretty simple technology (kids have been playing with magnet toys for decades), but it's the kind of thing that I know I'll be tempted to plant on my desk so I can spend far too much of my time staring at it. You can check out more details over at Beast Kingdom's official page for the toy.

Star Wars has a long history of using nostalgia to help sell merchandise and let's face it – it's often pretty darn effective. However, this new Target ad is a twist on the usual formula, focusing on how certain fans of all ages and background incorporate Star Wars into their daily lives. I'm awfully cynical about advertising in general, but I'll be honest: this ad works. In fact, it works well enough that StarWars.com has interviewed each fan featured in this spot. For example, here's that teacher discussing how he uses the films to teach Shakespeare:

The first lesson I ever taught was in a workshop class, and the lesson was to my fellow aspiring teachers. It was 2005, and Revenge of the Sith was fresh in my mind. As I watched the film, I was struck with how closely Anakin Skywalker's fall fit beautifully with Shakespeare's formula for a tragic hero. He is a prominent figure revered by other characters in the story, has special talents, a tragic flaw, and has a dramatic fall from grace. 

So, it seemed like a natural fit to incorporate Episode III into a lesson on Shakespeare and tragic heroes. One of the keys to successful engagement is to meet students where they are at, and nothing does that quite like Star Wars. I also believe if you have passion for the material you are teaching, it comes to life for your classes. 

You can read the rest at the link above.

rogue one k-2so

Alan Tudyk is really, really good at the Q&A thing. The actor (already beloved by the geek audience for his work in Firefly) recently participated in an event at Fan Expo 2016, where he shared anecdotes about playing the security droid K-2SO in Rogue One, who was created using motion capture technology. And yes, he did address the other time he played a robot in a giant studio movie:

I had done Sonny in I, Robot, but I don't even know if that's why they thought of me, "Get that robot actor!" What's great about Star Wars is that droids have such an amazing history. They're such characters, not that Sonny wasn't a character, but it was a Will Smith movie, and K-2SO is another in a line of great, great droids and I was very excited to play him.

However, K-2SO is seven feet tall, which meant that Tudyk had to wear stilts for much of filming to provide actors with a proper eyeline. However, some locations were too dangerous for stilts and required him to wear "the backpack of shame":

I was by cliff once and you can't wear stilts there, because you'll die if you make one wrong step. So they had this backpack, which ended up being known as the backpack of shame...it had this head that was up where his head should be.

And yes, Tudyk's co-star Diego Luna (who plays Rebel soldier Cassian Andor) gave him a great deal of grief for having to wear this silly thing:

The first time I wore it he goes, 'Alan, it is terrible what has happened. Everyone respected you just a moment ago, now they just feel sorry for you. Could you please take that ridiculous backpack off, it is upsetting the entire crew.

You can actually catch a quick glimpse of this backpack in the clip that was shown at Star Wars Celebration earlier this year:

For more quotes, head over to Star Wars Underworld and Nerd Bastards.

rogue-one-plot-holes

Rogue One doesn't even hit theaters until December, but this guy, discovered via Reddit, has already uncovered some massive plot holes with the movie. Oh, no! Could this be the reason for all of those reshoots?! In all seriousness, it's posts like this that serve as a reminder of the uphill battle Lucasfilm and Disney are facing with Rogue One and other future spin-off movies. Casual fans, the people who don't read regular Star Wars news round-ups on movie news websites, need to be informed that this movie isn't part of the core saga, which is a task easier said than done.