Technically, it’s not breaking the “no Jedi” rule.
Star Wars: Rogue One is being describes as a war film and is seen as the Saving Private Ryan or the Black Hawk Down of the franchise. As such, one of the edicts of the film is that there will be no Jedi. According to director Gareth Edwards, “It comes down to a group of individuals that don’t have magic powers, that have to bring hope to the galaxy. It’s about the fact that god’s not coming to save us, and we’re on our own. The absence of the Jedi is omnipresent in the film. It hangs over the whole movie.”
Just a short time ago, the cast picture was shown at D23, which showed a very blind looking Donnie Yen with what appeared to be a staff. He looks very much like the Star Wars version of a monk:
And, to top it all off Donnie Yen just made a post to his instagram account (which seems to have been since deleted) featuring some new stormtrooper helmets and the following caption:
“I am the force and I fear nothing… Going to put this in my company’s display room.”
Getting around the fact that yes, these are new Ralph Mcquarrie inspired helmets that look fantastic and Donnie Yen is totally right to display them at his company’s offices… what does he mean with the Force comment?
So… what does he mean with the Force comment?
Well, let’s break it down: his character is most likely blind and has some kind of martial prowess judging by who they cast and how they’re visually portraying him. You don’t cast a guy who can do bone shattering feats of badassery only to have him be the tech guy.
But he’s also blind… which means he’s probably going to have some basic skill with the Force to see.
How is that possible?
Well, it’s true that Order 66 not only wiped out the Jedi, but all records of their existence. Obviously, people are still aware they exist but concrete knowledge is hard to come by outside of hearsay. However, Force sensitive people aren’t just going to go away. If one was blind, it makes sense they would find a way to compensate for their disability using the Force even if they didn’t have formal training.
In fact, if you recall A New Hope, literally the first piece of on hands instruction Obi-Wan Kenobi gives Luke about the Force is how to fight while blind:
So, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Donnie Yen’s character very skilled in that lesson, but not very adept with the rest of the ways of the Force. It’s also worth noting that there is a species called the Miraluka that are born blind but are often skilled in the ways of the Force. In the old expanded universe, the characters of Jerec and Visas Marr were blind Force users. It’s possible Donnie Yen is also a member of this race.
As for the rest of the cast, don’t expect any Force sensitivity from them. In a movie like Rogue One you can only play this card once… and Donnie Yen’s character is it.