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'Rogue One': Meet the droids and creatures
What is Star Wars without its creatures and droids? From sleek machines to giant furry creatures to human-size amphibians, Rogue One seems to be keeping the fantastical tradition alive. Creature-effect supervisor Neal Scanlan introduced us to a few newcomers. Ahead, an excerpt from Entertainment Weekly’s collector’s edition of The Ultimate Guide to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, on newsstands now.
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Warwick Davis has played various characters in three Star Wars movies -- and in Rogue One he's back as a wrinkly member of Saw Gerrera's (Forest Whittaker) team. "Warwick is performing pretty blind inside the animatronic head," Creature-effect supervisor Neal Scanlan says. "He is cocooned in his [costume], and his imagination brings such incredible life to his performance." Though Weeteef is a good rebel, his look was inspired by a mean fish. "We thought of a piranha," says Scanlan, pointing out that Weeteef's name is slang (wee teeth) for his tiny, sharp incisors.
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"It was a passion of Gareth's to find this character -- and we really think he's going to be the next big breakout droid," says creature-effect supervisor Neal Scanlan. (More about the newest Star Wars droid, voiced by Alan Tudyk, can be found here.)
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Unless there's a big surprise in store, Rogue One will be the first Star Wars movie without the presence of everybody's favorite bleeping best friend, R2-D2. But that doesn't mean there won't be any of his kind. "There was a lot of thought given to making changes to the R2 units while staying within the protocol of what's been established," says Scanlan. The C2-B5, he continues, "is a product of that imagination." As you might guess from the black finish, this droid belongs to the Empire.
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The Star Wars furry club has included the Wookiee Chewbacca, the Ewoks, and the snowbound Wampa that almost eats Luke in The Empire Strikes Back. It's about time for a new hairy critter. "We jokingly said that somewhere along the line, a rather amorous Wookiee had met a rather amorous Wampa," Scanlan says. Moroff, who's fitted with a voice-translation box on his mouth, is part of the Rebel fighting force and particularly useful for carrying heavy cargo on his back -- though he's not exactly the most cooperative beast of burden. "Whenever he's asked to do something, he does it begrudgingly," Scanlan says. "But whatever his short, grumpy reaction to a command might be, his voice box is always politically correct, saying, 'Yes, of course I will!'"
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Breathing assistance is not a new concept for Star Wars characters, even though the coughing and heavy wheezing are often reserved for villains like Darth Vader or General Grievous. But despite the apparatus on his face (inspired by gas masks from the First and Second World Wars), Benthic is no friend of the Empire. In Rogue One, he's allied with the Rebels to fight back against the evil forces that conquered his home planet, and rendered him a refugee. The oxygen is strong with this one.
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One of Return of the Jedi's most memorable bit players was Admiral Ackbar, the gravel-voiced, red-skinned member of the species Mon Calamari, who three-word exclamation -- "It's a trap!" -- has been the source of a million memes. Rogue One features a pair of albino Mon Calamaris as well as Admiral Raddus (pictured), who was inspired by Winston Churchill. (More on the character can be found here.)
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Sharp-eyed fans will spot the similarity (in name and appearance) between this wormlike fella and the slithery Bib Fortuna, Jabba the Hutt's consigliere in Return of the Jedi.
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Earth's ocean has been a lucrative casting agency for many Star Wars creatures, including this rebel fighter who appears in a prison cell.
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The loose-jointed robot works on the farm of Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelson), father of Jyn (Felicity Jones). "The character alerts him to the arrival of the Imperial troops," Scanlan says of the character, who's seen at the beginning of the film.
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'The Ultimate Guide to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story'
For more, pick up Entertainment Weekly’s collector’s edition of The Ultimate Guide to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on newsstands now.