Director Gareth Edwards unveiled a new poster for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story:
The reveals were part of the Rogue One panel at Star Wars Celebration Europe today. The supersized panel featured Star Wars: The Force Awakens's Gwendoline Chrisite as host, director Edwards, and other cast and crew of the first Star Wars film set outside of the Skywalker saga.
The film began as an idea for the abandoned Star Wars television series. As executive producer John Knoll recalled, he focused on the line from to opening crawl in the original Star Wars about the team securing the Death Star plans as a story that could be told in television. Unfortunately, the series developed in a different direction.
When the standalone films were first bandied about, he offered the idea again to Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and head of story Kiri Hart after receiving "enthusiastic responses" from others at the company.
Kennedy, also in attendance, said the film is "unlike any other Star Wars" thanks to Edwards and his production team.
The director, a long-time fan, recalled destroying his Betamax copy of the film from repeated viewings.
As seen in the poster above, part of the film takes place on a planet called Scarif. To create a paradise world, Edwards and the team went to the Maldives, joking that it was tough to shoot in paradise. He also recalled his dismay when he learned the Storm Troopers emerging from the sea — played by a group of local military officers — had no clue what Star Wars was.
Following the poster reveal, Christie introduced members of the cast. Actor Ben Mendelsohn decided to make an introduction in costume as Imperial Director Krenick. Asked if he is a different kind of villain from previous Imperial types like Tarkin and Piett, the actor quipped that Krenick is "an Australian kind" of villain. "We do villainy very well," he added. "He's more inventive. Perhaps a little sexier than some of [the other villains.]
Christie called being turned into an action figure a surreal before presenting star Felicity Jones with her Jyn Erso figure; the first figure from the film to be confirmed. "I feel very privileged to join the Star Wars doll universe," said Jones while examining the toy.
"It's not as good as mine," joked Christie.
According to Jones, Jyn is also a different kind of Star Wars protagonist because unlike Luke or Rey, she knows where she comes from and it "propels the story" of Rogue One.
Diego Luna revealed that his character, an Alliance intelligence officer by the name of Cassian Andor, is one of the first people to join Jyn on her mission. He's good at what he does, but is only friendly with a reprogrammed Imperial droid with the designation K-2SO played by Alan Tudyk. It seems the reprogramming left the droid in a less-than-helpful state. "He says things that can be unsettling, but honest. He's like old people," said Tudyk.
Along the way, Biz Ahmed joins the group as a pilot named Bodie. But when we meet him, he's working for the Empire. "People work for organizations and they don't agree with everything they do," he joked. As Bodie's home is occupied by the Empire, he's definitely questioning their goals.
Another location in the film is Jeda, where the team meets the blind swordsman Chirrut and his companion Baze. They are the best warriors on the planet, but having contrasting views of the Force. "I can feel with my heart and believe in the Force," said actor Donnie Yen of Chirrut.
Meanwhile, Jiang Wen said Baze "has a huge gun" and doesn't believe in the Force. He added that the character is the "doer" to Chirrut's "thinker." He may have also revealed something about Chirrut's fate and how it changes Baze.
Forrest Whitaker called Saw Gerrera a fighter with his own cell of rebels who do what needs to be done "by any means necessary." He also mentioned the character has some Jedi training in his arsenal. Whitaker also said he took a look at Saw's appearance on The Clone Wars to get a better sense of the character.
While every actor was wary of giving too much away, Mads Mikkelsen continued to play coy about Jyn's father Galen, saying that the character is a scientist who "invented something so beautiful that it might change the universe."
During the hour, Edwards revealed a few behind-the-scenes stories, including the crews rush to shoot a scenes at the Canary Wharf tube stop in four hours, his "nerdgasm" while recording lines with Darth Vader voice actor James Earl Jones and Star Wars creator George Lucas's visit to the set. "I challenge anyone to have a more surreal experience than showing a Star Wars film to George Lucas," he said. "He'd start criticizing things and then reveal he was telling a joke." Edwards thanked Lucas for making it all possible.
As the panel came to a close, Kennedy pulled a Steve Jobs-style "one more thing," presenting a new trailer for Rogue One that, for the moment, has yet to be shown to anyone but those in attendance at Star Wars Celebration. Of course, it could be released to the public at any moment.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens on December 16th.