October 11, 2016
Mild spoilers for Rogue One: a Star Wars Story in this update.
I have been sent some links about the essay by British actor and musician Riz Ahmed, about typecasting, that The Guardian posted last month and that will appear in a book about immigrants in the UK. I have little interest in the personal lives of entertainers, and the subject of his essay is not a topic I am qualified to talk about, but this is still directly related to filmmaking (which I do occasionally write about) and remains an important topic that I’m glad people are discussing. So here is the link (warning, there are some swear words), which itself includes a link to the book: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/15/riz-ahmed-typecast-as-a-terrorist
Of course this is just an excuse to talk some Star Wars, which I am a little more qualified to discuss. In Rogue One, Ahmed plays a character called Bodhi Rook, a Rebel pilot. To me, he had stood out in the original cast photo as the only guy in the foreground getting any damn work done.
I also love this article about Bodhi: http://www.ew.com/article/2016/08/09/star-wars-rogue-one-riz-ahmed-rebel-pilot-empire-insignia I think it explains why his character is hard at work.
For more character information in general, here is the Entertainment Weekly‘s slideshow: http://www.ew.com/gallery/star-wars-rogue-one-characters Again, there is plenty of character information that some might consider spoilers, but there is nothing about their fate or how the film ends. I stand by “everyone dies” (except Vader and Mon Mothma, of course).
There is more information in EW‘s physical weekly issue: July 1, 2016, number 1421 (almost a Star Wars reference in itself!). The article is on page 18, written by Anthony Breznican. The characters are mostly new, but based on old ones (more on that aspect in a future update). One returning character is Saw Gerrera, who is played by American actor Forest Whitaker in Rogue One but originally appeared in four 2012 episodes of the CG animated Clone Wars series, voiced by Japanese-Canadian actor Andrew Kishino. He’s a complex character to explain, which is why even EW‘s slideshow gave up trying and sent me to a whole other article devoted to him: http://www.ew.com/article/2016/06/22/star-wars-rogue-one-forest-whitaker-character
Another returning character is of course Mon Mothma, who was played by English actress Caroline Blakiston in Return of the Jedi, by Irish actress Genevieve O’Reilly in a cameo role for Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, and voiced by American actress Kath Soucie in 2010 episodes of Clone Wars (you can see on the list that she did appear in other media which are now Legends). Originally, O’Reilly had speaking lines in RotS but those scenes were cut; now she not only returns in Rogue One to play the same character, but the trailer made sure we know she has things to say!
I also notice that Donnie Yen’s character, Chirrut Imwe, is indeed the spiritual blind warrior type he looked to be in the cast photo — but that ocular implants were apparently too much to hope for (unless that will be the big surprise of the movie?! Look out, Vader!).
Other lovely little details: those cool black-armored stormtroopers are called Imperial Deathtroopers. The vehicles looking like the AT-ATs we love are here called Imperial Walker AT-ACT (All Terrain Armored Cargo Transports). And the Rebels barely know that Vader exists. I guess they are in for a nasty surprise. Hopefully we are not.
In a future update I will discuss the trailers and the character of Jyn.