The big news from this week's Star Wars Celebration Europe - that everyone has been talking about - is the Rogue One panel, which debuted a new poster, an action-packed behind-the-scenes reel, and a hot second trailer.
That wasn’t all we got, though. Oh no. The panel - which was hosted by Gwendoline Christie - featured director Gareth Edwards and the cast of the upcoming standalone Star Wars movie who revealed various details about Rogue One. Not wanting you to miss out, below is everything I learnt from the hour-long panel and discussion, including what will be the very first SWRO toy, why K-2SO isn’t like other Star Wars droids, and where the idea for that London underground scene came from.
1. The new planet which features heavily in Rogue One is called Scarif
Every Star Wars movie features different planets, cities, and locations - it’s a big universe after all. Some of them are familiar to fans, others we’ve just heard of, and a few are completely new. Rogue One is continuing this trend and announced during the panel that the planet where the Death Star is being constructed is called Scarif. Given that our heroes are trying to get the Death Star plans (and it’s featured on the new poster and in the new trailer) it’s safe to say that a fair amount of the movie happens on this tropical, paradise-like planet. Also, interesting side note, Gareth Edwards reveals that the scenes were shot on location in the Maldives and the Stormtroopers were played by the Maldivian army. Scarif will also feature as the fourth piece of DLC for the Star Wars Battlefront game.
2. Gareth Edwards met Luke Skywalker on set and freaked out
If you thought Star Wars directors don’t get starstruck like the rest of us, you were wrong. During the panel, Rogue One director Gareth Edwards recounts a fanboy moment he had on set when Mark Hamill turned up to say 'hi' and he finally got to meet Luke Skywalker. “You know when you go up to someone and you’re so much in awe of them? I don’t know what I said to him. I was trying to be articulate and intelligent and I don’t know what came out. And he was being really sweet and complimentary, and all I was thinking [was]… ‘please lord someone be taking a photograph of this!’” Don’t get too excited though - pretty sure Mark Hamill was just visiting the set and not cameoing in the movie.
3. The first Rogue One toy to be released will be the Jyn Erso figure
After fans had to wait AGES to get their hands on a Rey figure from The Force Awakens toy-line thanks to her spoilerific accessories, Hasbro is making sure it doesn’t have a riot on its hands when it comes to Rogue One. During the panel it is announced that the very first Rogue One toy to become available will be the Jyn Erso figure (some time in Autumn) and Felicity Jones looks pretty damn pleased about. Take a closer look at the Jyn Erso figure here.
4. Jyn is different to most Star Wars heroes because...
I know what you’re thinking. Oh sure, Disney says 'Jyn is different'. The House of Mouse is trying to convince us that our lives won’t be complete until we see Rogue One (as if we weren’t already there), but I’m actually convinced by Felicity Jones’ argument. During the panel the actress explains: “She’s not a character who’s asking, ‘Who am I and where have I come from?’ We know that about her, we know where she’s come from. And that fact is what propels the story, and is the beginning of Jyn’s journey to find out what her reason is and her cause.” Unlike other Star Wars heroes Rey and Luke, whose parentage is shrouded in mystery, Jyn has actually led a very full life before joining the Rebellion.
5. The Rogue One team isn’t all happy families
Given that the members of the Rogue One team are on the same side and risking their lives together, you’d think they'd be pretty close. Or at least, that they would become something like a family after everything they go through. But Diego Luna, who plays Captain Cassian Andor, reveals during the panel that this might not be the case. “The team starts being just the two of them - Jyn and Cassian”, he says. “But as the story continues, it grows and like any team there’s friction, there’s issues, and it’s Cassian who has to keep them together.” So, who’s going to be causing problems then? My money’s on the droid and you’re about to find out why...
6. Droid K-2SO is "not quite all there"
We discover a lot about Alan Tudyk’s droid during the panel, including the fact that he’s an Imperial droid reprogrammed by the Rebellion, “the most important member” of the team, and probably the “best friend Cassian has in the rebellion”. There’s been a few side effects to the reprogramming though as we see footage of K-2SO dropping Jyn’s bag and generally not following orders. “Cassian reprogrammed him and he did a data wipe and… he’s not quite all there,” says Alan Tudyk. “He speaks his mind and says things that can be unsettling. He's very honest. If you know any old people, it's like that. He says whatever he thinks.” Yeah, I think I know what you’re getting at Alan.
7. Jedha is the Mecca of the Star Wars universe
We also learn a little more about Jedha and the place the Jedi, or lack thereof, have in the Rogue One story. “Obviously, our film takes place in a time when there are allegedly no Jedi remaining,” explains Gareth Edwards. “People still believe in the Force and they have that spiritually, and essentially Jedha is like the Mecca of Star Wars in that people go on pilgrimages and the problem is… it’s an occupied territory.” Jedha is also where we meet two very important members of of Jyn’s team - the very spiritual Chirrut Îmwe and his not so spiritual friend Baze Malbus. More about them later.
8. Forest Whitaker’s Rebels are extreme
While the Rebels are definitely the good guys, that doesn’t mean they’re all saints, and during Forest Whitaker’s talk about his character, Saw Gerrera, he reveals that his Rebels maybe aren’t what we’re used to. “Saw Gerrera is a Rebel fighter.” He says. “He’s been fighting for years against the Imperial occupation. He’s a guerrilla fighter. He has been controlling a group of Rebels that are out to the extreme. We’re talking about a series of different Rebel groups coming together as an alliance and all of these people are different parts of that. I’m leading my group... which by any means necessary, he’ll do what he needs to do in order to save the world.” Strong words.
9. Bodhi Rook actually works for the Empire!
If you thought everyone who was a part of the Rogue One team was a Rebel, you're wrong because it's also revealed during the panel that Bodhi Rook, played by Riz Ahmed, actually works for the bad guys. “Bodhi is a pilot, and he works for the Empire to earn a living. People work for big organisations, they don’t believe in everything they do. You don’t have to be judge-y,” says Ahmed. “He’s kind of questioning things. The city he is from is actually [on] an occupied planet, and it’s the action of the Empire and the stuff he’s forced to be involved with on there that kind of makes him question his career counsellor.”
10. Gareth Edwards got the idea for that London underground scene years ago
You know the one I’m talking about. When the first Rogue One trailer was released, there was one scene in particular where Jyn and her team are running away from Stormtroopers down a long grey corridor and some people rightly identified it as being filmed at a particular station on the London underground. During the panel Gareth Edwards says: “My first job ever in television was just around the corner from where we are right now, and we used to pass it every day and... think this is like something from the future, it’s like a sci-fi movie. If I ever get to do a sci-fi film in my life I’m going to film it here.
“And then I parked that thought and then one day we were trying to figure out how to do these really long shots, involved a lot of grey, building big massive sets and we were trying to be clever about it, and I was like, ‘Let’s just film it at the Docklands - that looks futuristic.’ And everyone was like, ‘Haha, very funny. Anyway how are we really going do this?’" Well, the joke was on them because after a few imaginative ideas from the art department they filmed those scenes at the Canary Wharf station in the four hours it was closed overnight.
11. Darth Vader is going to say “POWER” a lot
One of the best moments of the new trailer is Darth Vader’s cameo and one of the best moments of the Rogue One panel is listening to Gareth Edwards talk about doing James Earl Jones’ voiceover. “I can’t tell you what role he plays in the film because I don’t want to give that away,” joked the director, but he did tell us a bit about one of Vader’s lines in the movie. “The way that ADR [Automatic Dialog Replacement] works is obviously they’ve got their back to you while they’re watching the screen doing the lines, and then they turn round and ask if that was ok. So every time he’d do a line… I don’t want to give anything away, but there was… this one line where he says, ‘POWER!’ And we just both looked at each other and had this nerdgasm, [we were] reduced to 3-year-olds, and then suddenly he turns back and we go, ’That was great James, one more like that.’” I’ve no idea how many times this line is in Rogue One one, but if Edwards’ cracking impression was anything to go by, it’s going to give you chills.
Finally, there is one more thing I learned at the Rogue One panel but it's a HUGE SPOILER so you may not want to know. If you do though, carry on.
12. Chirrut dies and it will change Baze
When it Donnie Yen and Wen Jiang talk about their characters Chirrut and Baze, the Beijing actor Jiang - while talking about the relationship between the friends - accidentally drops a major plot point. We already knew that Chirrut, although not a Jedi, is very spiritual, and that Baze isn’t at all and prefers his “big guns”, but Jiang seemed to imply that this would change at some point in the movie when his friend Chirrut dies. It isn't completely clear what Jiang says - English isn’t his first language and the acoustics in the hall aren't great - but to me, it sounds like Chirrut will die. Sorry.