Entertainment Weekly has released a batch of awesome new stills from Gareth Edwards’ ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.’
“There’s this sort of South Pacific, tropical paradise planet that subconsciously leads into some of the imagery associated with World War II,” director Gareth Edwards says. “We went to lots of different places around the world, and one of them was the Maldives. When you’re shooting Stormtroopers in paradise, you have the best job in the world, you know? You can’t really deny it at that point.”
Hong Kong action star Donnie Yen (Ip Man) plays Chirrut Imwe, a blind warrior monk who is not a Jedi but follows the path of the Force, and Chinese martial-arts actor and director Jiang Wen (Devils on the Door Step) co-stars as Baze Malbus, Chirrut’s Force-doubting rough-and-tumble protector. Like the original Star Wars, these characters owe a debt to the two peasants from a 1958 Akira Kurosawa adventure saga. “They’re inspired, again, by what inspired George in The Hidden Fortress, “ Kennedy says. “You could even say to some extent it’s, you know, R2 and C-3PO, a little bit of that.”
“He’s a very experienced pilot. Flies a lot of cargo, one of his key jobs,” Kennedy says. “And he tends to be a little tense, a little volatile, but everybody in the group really relies on his technical skills.”
Ben Mendelsohn’s Director Orson Krennic is responsible for protecting the security of the Death Star project, but he’s also a manipulator within the Empire. “He understands the system and he knows how things work, but he also is not above trying to bend it to get what he needs or what he thinks he wants,” says Kiri Hart, Lucasfilm’s head of story development. Krennic is intended to be a contrast to Imperial officers we’ve seen before, like Peter Cushing’s Grand Moff Tarkin. “Tarkin is the model for these really cool, icy types, you know?” Hart says. “Krennic runs a little hotter than that, so that’s kind of fun and it’s a little bit different. … He is unpredictable and volatile.”
Here’s a full-body shot of the newest Star Wars droid — a security robot known as K-2SO (Kaytoo Esso), who is voiced and performed via motion-capture by Alan Tudyk (Firefly.) Compare his gunmetal gray surface to the shimmering plating of “Goldenrod” C-3PO, and you’ll see the difference between a utilitarian droid like Kaytoo and a protocol droid like Threepio. Kaytoo wasn’t built to socialize. He’s as brusque and blunt as he is strong. “He has a very dry delivery,” Edwards says. “He doesn’t realize what he’s saying is very funny.”
Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy says Jyn starts as an outlaw and “becomes a kind of Joan of Arc in the story.”
“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,” says producer Kathleen Kennedy. “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.’”
According to Lucasfilm, ‘Rogue One’ “tells the story of resistance fighters who have united to steal plans to the dreaded Death Star.”
The movie stars Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything), Diego Luna (Milk, Killing Them Softly), Ben Mendelsohn (Bloodline, Mississippi Grind), Donnie Yen (Ip Man and Blade II), Jiang Wen (Let the Bullets Fly and Devils on the Doorstep), Forest Whitaker (The Butler and The Last King of Scotland), Mads Mikkelsen (The Hunt and Casino Royale), Alan Tudyk (Firefly, Con Man, Trumbo), who plays a performance-capture character in the film, and Riz Ahmed (Nightcrawler and Four Lions).
ILM visual effects supervisor John Knoll originated the idea for the movie, with Chris Weitz penning the script. Allison Shearmur, Knoll, Simon Emanuel and Jason McGatlin are executive producers. Kiri Hart and John Swartz are co-producers.
Greig Fraser (“Zero Dark Thirty,” “Foxcatcher”) serves as director of photography and Neil Corbould (“Black Hawk Down,” “Gladiator,” “Saving Private Ryan”) is special effects supervisor. Doug Chiang (“Star Wars: Episodes I-II,” “Forrest Gump”) and Neil Lamont (supervising art director for the “Harry Potter” series, “Edge of Tomorrow”) will be the production designers. Additional crew members include stunt coordinator Rob Inch (“World War Z,” Marvel’s “Captain America: The First Avenger”), creature effects supervisor Neal Scanlan (“Prometheus”) and co-costume designers Dave Crossman (costume supervisor for the “Harry Potter” series, “Saving Private Ryan”) and Glyn Dillon (costume concept artist for “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” “Jupiter Ascending”).
‘Rogue One’ is slated for a December 16, 2016 release.
[Image Credit: Jonathan Olley/2016 Lucasfilm Ltd.]