Meet the Rogues
Who are these insurgents brazen enough to go against the Empire? And just who, exactly, are they battling? Here’s your guide, an excerpt from Entertainment Weekly’s collector’s edition of The Ultimate Guide to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, to the new film’s characters — and the actors who play them.
Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones)
It was a meeting at dawn in a hushed hotel restaurant when Felicity Jones was recruited for a covert mission. Director Gareth Edwards had recently signed on to make Rogue One, and he was considering her as the big sister to lead this band of brothers. “Most of the meeting was conducted in whispers as he explained the story and the character,” Jones says. “My first introduction was definitely one shrouded in secrecy and being very careful no one overheard what we were talking about.” Nearly two years later Jones is finally at the stage when she can talk about it. Her character, Jyn Erso, is a castoff, a criminal, a woman orphaned as a young girl who is still struggling to find a way to survive in the shadow of a galactic dictatorship. She has come to the attention of the burgeoning Rebel Alliance, a resistance force that breaks her out of jail so she can help them figure out what exactly the Empire is building in the deep reaches of space.
Cassian Andor (Diego Luna)
Cassian Andor is the good cop, the rebel who brings balance to the loose-cannon outlaw Jyn Erso as they begin building a team to track down the Death Star plans.But this captain also has a hidden side. Diego Luna says there are secrets about his character that will be revealed in due time. “There is, for me, a lot to say, but you’ll see in December,” the actor teases. “Otherwise you would have to get me drunk.” Luna is only the second lead Star Wars character played by a Latino, following The Force Awakens actor Oscar Isaac. Isaac has said he imagined Poe Dameron coming from the world Yavin 4, the site of a key Rebel base in a tropical climate similar to his native Guatemala. Luna, who is from Mexico City, said he also wove some of his own cultural influences in with Cassian’s history, but… those are details he also needs to keep under wraps. “I do feel I was allowed to be part of [his creation.] I don’t feel I was dressed and placed there to say my lines,” he says. “I was building my character, but he is a very mysterious one.”
Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker)
He’s the fighter who’s so fanatical, the good guys aren’t sure if he’s actually on their side. “He’s a really potent character,” says Forest Whitaker. “And a warrior who fights to the extent that others call him an extremist. I was very interested in that.” Saw Gerrera was first seen in season 5 of the Clone Wars animated series, when he was a young man on the planet Onderon, unleashing guerrilla combat on the droid army of Separatists who took over his world. Along with his sister, Steela, Saw (voiced by Andrew Kishino) fought alongside Darth Vader, back when the Sith Lord was just an impetuous young Jedi named Anakin Skywalker. In the episode “A War on Two Fronts,” which aired in 2012, Saw and Steela were part of an insurgent group being unofficially trained by Anakin, Obi-Wan Kenobi and the Padawan Ahsoka Tano. We won’t spoil what happens, but suffice it to say that Saw pays a steep cost for his resistance and remains mistrustful of any authority except his own for the rest of his days. There never will be a peacetime for him.
Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen)
The Jedi may be gone, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any believers left. A native of the sacred world Jedha (a Mecca of sorts for Force believers), Chirrut Îmwe has devoted himself to spirituality. “He’s not a Jedi, but he’s connected with the Force,” Donnie Yen says. Playing a blind character was a first for the actor, who is a martial artist and action-movie superstar in Hong Kong, where he grew up. “It was a lot harder than I expected. We can imagine darkness, but it’s not just about darkness. It’s about some sort of sense of loss, some sense of not in control.” And even though Chirrut doesn’t wield a lightsaber, he’s pretty formidable with a stick. “Of course he can fight,” Yen says, laughing. “That’s one of the reasons why they picked me.”
Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen)
“Baze is an interesting, funny, character — somewhat a hero, even though he may not know his own virtue so well,” Jiang Wen says. Heavily armored, Baze prefers a blaster to hokey religions and ancient weapons, but he is devoted to protecting his friend Chirrut at all costs. “I like his character — I wish I had a friend like this,” says Wen, who has been writing, directing and acting in his native China since the ’80s. Kathleen Kennedy offers a few more details: “He understands Chirrut’s spiritual centeredness, but he doesn’t necessarily support it.” Baze goes along with this Force business because “it’s what his friend deeply believes.” Think of them as a little like the galactic version of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza.
Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed)
His name evokes both zen calm (“Bodhi” is the Buddhist word for enlightenment) and a fidgety bird of flight (a rook is a type of crow). That’s not far off the mark for the Rebel pilot. “He flies a lot of cargo,” Kennedy says. “And he tends to be a little tense, a little volatile, but everybody in the group really relies on his technical skills.” Riz Ahmed was drawn to Bodhi’s gritty every-man qualities. “He’s not setting out to be a hero or a Rebel solider,” the actor says. “He’s just trying to earn a living. I think it’s interesting because a lot of the Star Wars saga can be quite dynastic, with people born into a certain lineage. But Bodhi doesn’t have a mythical family tree. It’s refreshing in Rogue One to see a bunch of nobodies. This great challenge just lands on them.”
K-2SO (Alan Tudyk)
C-3P who? The former imperial security enforcer is the toughest and most confident droid we’ve met yet. “He can kick all their asses,” Alan Tudyk says. “BB-8, it’d be like soccer.” Freed from Imperial servitude and reprogrammed by Cassian Andor, K-2 now sides with the Rebels — although they’re occasionally taken aback by his lack of filter. “He doesn’t give a s— about what you think,” Edwards says. “He doesn’t fully check himself before he says things and does things.” To play the towering security droid, Tudyk donned a motion-capture suit and stilts, and he says he never had any balance problems whatsoever. “If I did, anyone who saw me was probably paid off and wouldn’t admit to it,” Tudyk adds. “So let’s just say, no, I did not ever once fall down. Not even that one time.”
Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen)
We don’t know much about the mysterious scientist, except that he and his daughter Jyn have been estranged for years, and the Empire enlisted him to build its superweapon. “He’s one of those people that has insight into specific… aspects of just how the universe works,” says Hart. Beyond that, Galen is still veiled in secrecy, to the point where Mads Mikkelsen had to wear a cloak to keep his costume hidden on-set. “I think I stressed out my wardrobe people,” he says. “They were always running after me, like ‘You forgot your cape!’”
Director Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn)
Darth Vader may loom large, but Rogue One’s big baddie is a formidable Imperial officer who intends to use his squad of Death Troopers to pulverize the Rebel uprising and ascend into the Emperor’s graces. “He’s the driving force behind a project that they’re undertaking,” Ben Mendelsohn teases. He compares Krennic to notorious Nazi leaders like Albert Speer or Rudolf Hess, saying he’s an official who may not top the chain of command but is still fiercely committed to the Empire’s cause. Mendelsohn says he’s more than happy to join the Star Wars pantheon of notorious villains, describing it as “just glorious dark awesomeness.”
'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.