Let’s look at the clues and figure out who the Sherlock actor is portraying in the film.
After a set of spy photos from the Rogue One set leaked showing off a possible recreation of the Massassi Temples on Yavin IV, we get an announcement regarding casting. It seems that Jonathan Aris, known as Anderson on Sherlock, is the latest actor to have scored a role on Rogue One.
Who is Johnathan Aris playing?
It was announced on the actor’s Spotlight page that he would be playing Senator Jebel, though the credit disappeared shortly after. The BBC managed to grab the scoop while it was still up and thus we have much to speculate on.
So, who is Senator Jebel?
There is no Senator Jebel in the new canon or the old expanded universe, so he must be an original creation for the film. It’s very likely he’ll be a member of the Imperial Senate, though his allegiance is up for speculation. He’s either a sympathetic senator covertly working for the Rebellion or an antagonist Imperial loyalist who is actively working against our heroes.
Which option is more likely?
We’re willing to bet he’ll be a Rebel sympathizer, though we would love to see Mon Mothma or Jimmy Smits reprise his role as Bail Organa. Jimmy Smits in particular is the perfect age to portray the character in that era. Regardless, Jebel will most likely be helping the Rebels from inside the Imperial bureaucracy. It’s possible his character arc may be going from passive observer to outright helping the Rebellion by the end of the film.
Have there been any characters like Senator Jebel in the past?
Many founding members of the Rebellion were Imperial Senators who formally served the Republic. The aforementioned Mon Mothma and Bail Organa were two such characters. Mon Mothma ended up going on the run for her ties to the Rebellion, eventually becoming its full time leader. Bail Organa, on the other hand, died with Alderaan when it was destroyed by the Death Star.
Does this mean we may see Imperial Coruscant?
It could, yes. While it would be really neat to see the planet and the Imperial Senate in the era in which the film is set, we don’t know if that will actually be the case. After all, it seems that the new Star Wars films are taking pages from the original trilogy, which were set on the Outer Rim and avoided government squabbles.
Rogue One is being branded as a war film, which typically don’t have much politics in them. Therefore, it’s more likely that Senator Jebel will be away from the senate chambers and out in the field. It’s impossible to know, however, until we hear more about the story.