As the release date for Rogue One draws closer, new images from the first Star Wars film continue to be released. This new crop of photos, debuting just days after the new trailer, gives us a look at some of the more curious background characters that will populate the film. They arrive courtesy of these digital cards from Topps' Star Wars: Card Trader, a preview of their first "base card" set for the film (the type cards that are guaranteed in each new pack).
We begin with a badass female X-wing pilot. Her name: unknown for now, although fans may be hoping this is Evaan Verlaine, a fellow Aldaraanian and confidante of Princess Leia's from the Star Wars Marvel Comics. The V symbols inside the array of yellow dots on her helmet stand for kill counts, each one tallying 20 enemy fighters. Whoever she is, she's flown around the block a few times.
General Merrick is a character we haven't met before in Star Wars lore, although fans spotted actor Ben Daniels in the Rogue One behind-the-scenes footage from Celebration, cackling with glee as he settled into the cockpit to shoot a scene. One thing you can say for the Rebellion — their generals get right into the thick of battle.
Fans have only gotten a few glimpses of this Gigoran creature, an abominable snowman-looking being. (To me, he looks like an upright version of Falkor from 1984's The NeverEnding Story.) Moroff breathes with the help of a respirator (the atmosphere back home must be different in some way) while hauling heavy munitions on his broad frame. In the behind-the-scenes clip, we saw his wispy fur wafting as he ran, and in the new trailer he can be spotted scurrying for cover in the midst of a firefight on the Force-sacred world of Jedha. Moroff likes trouble. He's a mercenary, and trouble is where the money is.
In Star Wars, planets come with only one environment (snow, water, desert, forest) but now it seems creatures of the same species can come in different varieties. We've seen the Mon Calamari before in the form of lobster-red Admiral Akbar — first introduced in Return of the Jedi and still fighting the good fight 30-some years later in The Force Awakens. These are the same type of being, except in a hue of pale blue. Hey, color is only shell-deep.
Here we see Edrio Two Tubes and his brother (also known as an "egg-mate") Benthic. Which is which ... ? Edrio has the Darth Vader-looking chest plate. They're mercenary pilots from the Empire-occupied world of Yar Togna, and they get their nickname (obviously) from the breathing apparatus that helps them breath human-friendly atmosphere.
This card doesn't reveal the type of being we're looking at, but they are pilgrims on the Force-sacred world of Jedha, where those with special sensitivity to this supernatural power, and those who simply have faith in it, venture to connect with each other and the beyond. The Empire also has designs on this world, hoping to rip from it elements necessary for their continued conquest of the galaxy. The masks of this trio call to mind the unusual helmets of the Guavian Death Gang, the red-armored figures pursuing Han Solo and Chewbacca in The Force Awakens. The cloaks they've shrouded themselves in suggest something commonplace from our world – the cocoons of a moth or butterfly. Maybe their journey to Jedha is part of a metamorphosis.