most anticipated movies of 2016

Let’s shift gears away from Episode 8 and toward Rogue One. More specifically, let’s focus in on Donnie Yen, whose character is still very much a mystery. The truly badass Chinese actor and martial artist spoke with USA Today, but wouldn’t reveal too many details. From their article:

Yen is already ensconced in the Star Wars cone of secrecy. All he’ll spill is that his character “is definitely an important guy,” he had fun doing it and “I will get some action.”

The only thing we can glean is that his character is blind (note his eyes in the cast picture above), which leads us to believe that Donnie Yen is playing a blind martial artist fighting on the side of the Rebels against the Galactic Empire. Now that’s pretty damn cool and it would perfectly align with characters Yen has played in the past.

The Empire Strikes Back trailer recut

While we’re on the subject of Rogue One, Making Star Wars has a new scoop about the film and it’s a doozy. Considering their solid track record with The Force Awakens rumors, we’re inclined to believe this one. As previously reported, Darth Vader will play some kind of role in Rogue One, possibly as an arch-villain overseeing the film’s new bad guys. Making Star Wars claims that the Vader costume as seen in the original 1977 Star Wars has been recreated in exacting detail. More importantly:

The coolest part is we’ve learned that James Earl Jones, the voice, the heart and soul of Darth Vader will return to speak Darth Vader’s lines in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The Darth Vader we all know from the original Star Wars film is effectively back in look, voice, and spirit. There is still no word on if he has already recorded his lines or will in the post-production phase.

It’s unlikely that David Prowse will wear the suit once again, but we’re sure Lucasfilm could easily find an imposing figure wearing to wear that iconic outfit. Does this mean we’ll be seeing more of Darth Vader in future spin-off movies? After all, it’s hard to imagine everyone staying away from such a popular and iconic character when the entire saga’s timeline is up for grabs.

neal Scanlan creature shop Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Meanwhile, Rogue One creature designer Neal Scanlan spoke to MTV about creating aliens for the new movie, which found him working in very different territory. Although he just received an Oscar nomination for his work on The Force Awakens, director Gareth Edwards wanted a different flavor of creature than J.J. Abrams:

In the world of ’Force Awakens,’ there was a real mixture of all different kinds, very much like the original Cantina sequence. Working with Gareth now on ’Rogue One,’ he sees these aliens as being much more part of the human [world]. They co-habitate, they work together and so it’s pushed us very much to create characters that are more realistic.

Unlike most of the 110 creatures that were built for The Force Awakens and only appeared onscreen for a few seconds, Scanlan says that the aliens of Rogue One frequently play a vital role in the plot and required a new level of detail and realism:

They move more realistically, they’re able to emote more than maybe the characters that we did for ’The Force Awakens.’ So they’re a closer part of the storytelling. They’re less of the world, and they’re more of this group who have a mission, and play a part in that.

Look, someone saying “this movie will feature detailed practical aliens that play a major role in the plot” is akin to the President saying “Christmas now comes twice a year!” before giving everyone free buckets of candy. These are all great things to hear.

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