NOT On Any Mercy Mission This Time…
“Where are those transmissions you intercepted? What have you done with those plans? …If this is a consular ship, where is the Ambassador?” – Darth Vader.
Just like you, this blogger can’t wait any longer.
Ever since that very first scrawl from 1977 which read:
“…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”
yours truly often wondered how that premise would make such a tense and dramatic movie.
Now, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – directed by Star Wars superfan Gareth Edwards – finally brings that mission to the big screen. With the release just two days ago of the official Trailer #2, this is a good time to shunt this Preview Prequel Post – having languished on my Dashboard for about goodness knows how many months – to the forefront.
Here are a few selected items to look out for when all is revealed in two months time:
“My character… he’s a scientist. [Galen Erso] at one point invented something so beautiful, so fantastic, that it might change the universe” – Mads Mikkelsen.
As the (original) Death Star provides the pivotal element to the plot, so the key character is Galen Erso – played by the ever-multi-talented Mads Mikkelsen.
Galen’s energy-focused research has attracted the interest of Orson Krennic who, many years before, had saved the scientist and his family from Separatist kidnappers.
Deep in Krennic’s debt, Galen works on a new project for him, unaware that he is embroiled in the ultra top secret Death Star program.
“She’s unique. She’s different from particularly Rey in that we already know who Jyn is… It’s finding out more what her purpose and her drive is” – Felicity Jones.
Galen’s daughter: Jyn Erso must lead the seemingly-impossible mission.
It’s a pleasantly surprising piece of casting. Fresh from her Oscar-nominated role in The Theory of Everything, Felicity Jones looks a most unlikely action/heist movie star. This is a good time to catch as her career deservedly makes the jump to lightspeed.
Here, the rebel must become a Rebel
…with an awesome cause.
“A major weapons test is imminent” – Mon Mothma.
Leader of the Rebel Alliance: Mon Mothma dispatches Jyn and her ragtag bunch.
Accompanying her will be Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed) described as an Imperial pilot “cos it pays well”; Diego Luna appears as Rebel captain Cassian Andor – let’s face it: this actor’s name sounds even more Star Warsy than his character’s name!; and Saw Gerrara (Forest Whitaker), first introduced in the Clone Wars animated series.
“I fear nothing. All is as the Force wills it” – Chirrut Imwe.
George Lucas (hallowed be thy name) always said that the two peasants in Akira Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress (1958) inspired the saga’s beloved droids: C3Po and R2-D2. So Rogue One comes full circle and introduces two characters played by Asian actors.
The blind monk: Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen, seated) is “a staunch believer in the Force and a fierce warrior.” He and “former assassin turned Rebel operative”: Baze Malbus (Jiang wen, standing) look like they could provide some of the movie’s coolest action sequences.
Both hail from the planet of Jedha:
“You, my friend, are all that’s left of their religion” – Grand Moff Tarkin.
This planet is highly significant as the spiritual home of the Jedi Order. More importantly, it contains the largest quantity of Kyber crystals in the galaxy – the most vital component in the making of lightsaberes…
But is also the key element in powering the lethal superlaser of the Death Star.
How Jedha becomes the forefront of the action in this story should make for an enthralling spectacle.
Yeah! AT-ATs on the beach!
This tantalizing clip from the first trailer (on the planet Scarif) gave me the first assurance that this Star Wars story will turn out to be really gobsmackingly good.
Where would this galaxy be without its aliens?
Star Wars would not be the same without its coterie of weird and wonderful xenos, and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story faithfully honours this tradition.
Can’t wait to see this fella (above).
Bishan is a tail-gunner on a Rebel U-Wing Fighter – my hunch is that we’re not going to see as much of him here as we’d like.
“Kaytoo can say insulting things very casually if he thinks they’re true” – Alan Tudyk.
And where there are aliens, the droids are never far behind.
For this mission, the Rebels have captured a seven foot Imperial security droid: K-2SO – “an enforcer and guard, hence the size and demeanor,” now reprogrammed to act as a sidekick to Rebel captain Cassian Andor.
This surly ‘bot is voiced and motion-captured by Alan Tudyk. He and Cassian: “have been together for a while, a couple years,” he continued. “He loves Cassian, because he freed him. It’s also more paternal in that [Cassian] took away the bonds of his programming.”
Well, that’s just swell!
“[Director Krennic] is a different kind of Imperial villain. He is an Australian kind. We do villainy very well… He’s perhaps a little sexier than some of them…” – Ben Mendelsohn.
Ben Mendelsohn plays Orson Krennic – the Head of Death Star security – the most visible Imperial representative we have seen thus far.
He looks set to become “a fearsome and intriguing addition to the considerable roster of Imperial bad guys.”
In addition, he’s likely to be in charge of these guys: the Imperial Deathtroopers:
So, Krennic is Head of Security + the Rebel mission succeeds in stealing the Death Star plans = that’s at least one Sith choke-hold to expect (look forward to?!)
And there’s only ONE Sith Lord we wanna see do that…
“Darth Vader! Only you could be so bold” – Princess Leia.
And fortunately only James Earl Jones just had to commit to this movie.
What bemused me the most about the online gossip circulating this past year was the question as to whether everyone’s favourite SF villain would feature at all! Surely, there was NEVER ANY DOUBT that Vader is integral to this story?!
Here, apparently, he will be BADDER THAN EVER. Actually, it had been reported that one scene – in which Vader attacked the Rebels – turned out to be so intense, Disney ordered it to be toned down…(!)
“I watched A New Hope every day growing up, until my Betamax tape was completely worn out, and if you’d told me that one day I’d get to direct this film, I would never have believed you” – Gareth Edwards.
Personally, am particularly looking forward to catching the above scene.
Having waited on that platform numerous times, this correspondent can reliably inform you that it is Canary Wharf station on the London Underground. Hey City Sightseers! It’s on the Jubilee Line (the grey one).
One night last year, as soon as the last train had gone at Midnight, the crew had to get in pretty sharpish, and, as Edwards explained: “We had to set-dress the whole thing… we shot all the scenes and then had to be out by 4am. They opened the doors and all these guys in suits came in.”
Naturally, having to resist the urge to yell: “We just shot Star Wars!” proved quite considerable.
One time, standing on that platform (not long ago), it occurred to me that the station’s recent refurbishment resembled the interior of a space station…
It’s vital to remember that this movie: “takes place just before A New Hope and leads up to the 10 minutes before that classic film begins.”
All in all, this is shaping up to be the Star Wars Prequel we’ve been looking for.
“Anything less than extraordinary won’t do.”
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens (at last!) on December 16