“They (Star Wars Anthology Films) are really being designed as standalone movies, which is fantastic for the filmmakers we bring in, and the actors we hire, because it’s a different sensibility. (The standalone movies) are not being designed to necessarily build new franchises" (and will) "very definitely have a beginning, middle, and end.”
-Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy
Casting a film is never an easy task. Should you rely on established actors to bring validity to your film? Should you bring in fresh talent to avoid misconceptions and typecasting? When composing an ensemble to be center stage of a Star Wars film, history tells us that fresh talent trumps well knowns. Well, that may not be the case for the upcoming Rogue One. The talent pool already associated with this first of the Star Wars standalone films is one to be rivaled. From silver screen veterans like Forrest Whitaker to academy award nominated stars like Felicity Jones, Rogue One has a strong perception as the most uniquely cast Star Wars film thus far.
As you may infer, with a cast this strong, expectations are high within Lucasfilm that Rogue One will appease the fanboy in us all. To date, here are the actors and actresses associated with Rogue One as well as a peek at their spectacular credentials:
Riz Ahmed- Nightcrawler; Black Gold; The Path to 9/11
Jonathan Aris- The Martian, Gulliver’s Travels; The Jackal
Felicity Jones- Amazing Spider-Man 2; Theory of Everything
Diego Luna- Elysium; The Book of Life; Milk
Ben Mendelsohn- Exodus: Gods and Kings; The Dark Knight Rises; Quigley Down Under
Mads Mikkelsen- Casino Royale; King Arthur; Clash of the Titans
Alan Tudyk- 3:10 to Yuma; I, Robot; Tucker and Dale vs. Evil
Jiang Wen- Keep Cool; The Missing Gun; The Sun Also Rises
Forrest Whitaker- Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai; Taken 3; Lee Daniels’ The Butler
Donnie Yen- IP Man; Blade 2; Shanghai Knights
While the quality of actors are second to none, it is the characters of the existing universe that will connect this Star Wars Story to its original trilogy roots. It is almost certain that this film will feature famous villains from Episodes IV-VI. A large amount of internet speculation arose in the Fall of 2015 as Hayden Christensen was confirmed on set of a “Star Wars filming”. That information has lead many to believe that he may again appear under the mask of the evil Darth Vader for a small cameo in Rogue One. A force free film has been touted, so while the absence of a certain Sith Lord is a strong possibility there is another hope for fans of the Empire’s most dastardly officer. It was confirmed in August of 2015 by DailyMail.com that Hammer House Horror Alumni, Peter Cushing (Grand Moff Tarkin) would be digitally recreated for Rogue One.
“This is one of the most complex and costly CGI re-creations ever. Cushing is a pivotal plot line as he was the one to create Darth Vader and there's a whole back story that will come out.”
The idea of witnessing Tarkin mold Vader into a no excuses, force choking dictator promises to be a treat for any supporter of the Empire’s resurgence; yet there is more to salivate over. Logic leads one to conclude that since this movie takes place after the creation of the Empire and before the battle of Yavin, that we should expect to see the classic look of the imperial Stormtroopers in their many forms. A recent photo leak by, cast member, Donnie Yen highlighted the original Stormtrooper sandwiched between two previously unseen designs. The helmet design on the far right seems to resemble a biker scout as seen in Return of the Jedi. But that’s not all…
Internet sources are now reporting that the newest threat for our heroes of Rogue One to face will be the most elite of Imperial ranks, the Shadow Troopers.
Check back next Monday for Part 3 and the conclusion of this look at Rogue One.