Many Bothans died to bring you this information.
After Star Wars: The Force Awakens graces theaters, something unprecedented will happen: fans will only have to wait a year for the next Star Wars film. Thanks to Lucasfilm’s Star Wars spin off films, we’re going to be getting a Star Wars film every year for the foreseeable future.
The first of those is Rogue One… and it looks really cool.
[UPDATE 12/22/2015] We’ve updated the “Anything else I should know?” section with information about steps the production is taking to be an authentic war film.
Why is the film called Rogue One?
We actually don’t know that for certain. It’s possible the title may be a reference to Rogue Squadron, it could be the title of their operation, or it could also be the alias of the main character in the film.
Who’s writing and directing?
Gareth Edwards (Monsters, Godzilla) is directing the film. The story was pitched by visual effects legend John Knoll and has been scripted by Gary Whitta (The Book of Eli) and Chris Weitz (About A Boy).
Any other crew members worth mentioning?
Kathleen Kennedy is producing, Academy Award winner Alexandre Desplat (The Imitation Game) is composing the score, and the cinematography is being done by Grieg Fraser (Zero Dark Thirty).
The production designer is also Doug Chaing, who was a concept artist for The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones.
What will the film be about?
Straight from Producer Kathleen Kennedy:
“Rogue One takes place before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope and will be a departure from the saga films but have elements that are familiar to the Star Wars universe.It goes into new territory, exploring the galactic struggle from a ground-war perspective while maintaining that essential Star Wars feel that fans have come to know. Gareth is such an innovative director and I’m so excited to be working with him and the extraordinary ensemble cast he’s selected for Rogue One.”
While we don’t know much, the basic premise that’s been given by Lucasfilm tells us that the film will follow a Rebel Alliance covert cell as it attempts to steal the plans for the first Death Star. Fans of the expanded universe will remember the old continuity covered those events extensively, though we don’t know if they will borrow any of those stories and integrate them into Rogue One.
While we don’t know more concrete details, there are a lot of overall bits that have leaked:
- The film is definitely set during the “Dark Time” of the Empire (between Episodes III and IV)
- It’s being coined as “darker and grittier” than any other Star Wars film to date
- The film seems to be aiming to be much like an old school war film: Think Hamburger Hill meets Star Wars
- All the Jedi are said to be in hiding; expect this story to leave them in the background
- Stormtroopers have same armor as they do in the original films (Episodes IV – VI)
- There will be lots of alien life forms, Mon Calamari among them
- New droids and aliens will be introduced.
- AT-ATs, X-Wings, Y-wings, AT-STs are said to be present.
- Implied that some of the film will take place on Yavin-4; a lot of armies in the jungle and various battlefield locations
- It’s rumored that a new droid will be part of the band of rebels attempting to steal the Death Star plans
Who’s in the cast?
Above is the officially released cast photo, though there are more roles than those seen here. In the center is the lead, Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything), who is said to play a Rebel soldier. There are rumors her character is Sabine from Star Wars Rebels or Boba Fett’s daughter, but both rumors are completely unconfirmed at this point.
Behind her to the left is Diego Luna (Elysium, Contraband) in an unspecified role. At the forefront tinkering with some electronics is Riz Ahmed (Nightcrawler), who we’re guessing will be the group’s electronics expert. [Updated 11/20/15] It’s being reported the name of Ahmed’s character is Bodhi Rook.
Hong Kong action legend Donnie Yen (Ip Man, Hero) as on the front left. His character seems to be blind and wielding some kind of staff, which makes us wonder if he’s at all Force sensitive. Even if he isn’t, his character definitely seems to have a monk vibe.
At the back left is film veteran Jiang Wen (Warriors of Heaven and Earth), looking like a heavy weapons expert of some kind.
There are other actors cast in the film not pictured:
Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal) will be playing “an important role” and “not actually a bad guy.”
Jonathan Aris (Sherlock) is rumored to be playing Senator Jebel, which makes us wonder if we’ll be seeing the Imperial Senate.
Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker will also be playing an unspecified role in the film.
Any characters returning from other films?
Well, we don’t know for certain but there have been various rumors flying around. Some have said Grand Moff Tarkin and Darth Vader will both be featured in the film, while others have said Boba Fett and Clone Wars‘ Cad Bane will serve as major opposing forces for our heroes.
Do we know anything about the film’s locations?
Though it’s unconfirmed, it’s pretty obvious Yavin IV is going to be in the film. It’s been both heavily rumored and there’s been set photos of massive sets that look straight out of A New Hope.
Also, given the film’s place in the timeline, the Rebels’ main base is on Yavin IV so it makes perfect sense.
Anything else we should know?
A teaser trailer was shown at Star Wars celebration. It featured Obi-Wan Kenobi’s famous speech about the Jedi Knights being guardians of peace before the Empire before showing us a jungle planet. A TIE Fighter zooms overhead before the camera turns to reveal the Death Star above. We hear panicked voiced over a radio before cutting to the title card.
We can’t post it here, but you can find it online if you’re savvy.
[UPDATE 12/22/2015] ForcesTV is reporting that around forty members of the British Royale Air Force and Royal Navy are being used as extras in the film on sets in Bedfordshire where the original 1977 film took place. Apparently, the production is also seeking real military pilots and mechanics to achieve an authentic look for their war film
When will we know more?
While this isn’t confirmed, we wouldn’t be surprised if Lucasfilm released a teaser for the film with The Force Awakens. Even if that doesn’t happen, the film is in production right now so some small details are bound to leak out here and there.
When will the film be out?
December 16th, 2016.