Though “Rogue One” set just before the events of the original “Star Wars” film, it’s mostly filled with characters we haven’t met before. But we do know some details about them, through trailers and leaks and a big reveal over at Entertainment Weekly in July. So here’s a rundown of what we know so far.
Felicity Jones plays the leading role, abrasive rebel Jyn Erso, who leads a Dirty Dozen-style team to pull a heist on the Death Star that Darth Vader built in the original “Star Wars” movie. “She’s a real survivor,” producer Kathleen Kennedy told Entertainment Weekly. “She becomes a kind of Joan of Arc in the story.”
Jones was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 2014 for “The Theory of Everything.” She is a different human being than Daisy Ridley, who played Rey in “The Force Awakens.”
Diego Luna is playing an officer in the Rebellion’s intelligence arm named Cassion Andor. He’s inserted into Erso’s merry band of thieves as the steady counter to the volatile Erso. Luna you know from several prestige pictures, including “Frida,” “Milk” and his breakout role in Alfonso Cuaron‘s “Y Tu Mama Tambien.”
Chinese superstar Donnie Yen (best known in the West for “Ip Man”) is, in terms of global exposure, the most famous member of the cast. He plays Chirrut Imwe, a blind, Force-using monk — but not a Jedi, though he walks a similar path. He wields a staff rather than a lightsaber.
This is the acclaimed Chinese writer/director/actor Wen Jiang, making his Western film debut as Baze Malbus, another member of Jyn Erso’s team. Baze is BFFs with Chirrut, though like Han Solo he’s more about blasters, armor and explosives than hokey religions and ancient weapons.
Forest Whitaker is Saw Gerrera, a character we know well from the “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” animated television series. Gerrera fought alongside Anakin Skywalker in that conflict back in the day, before he became Darth Vader. According to Whitaker, Saw and his team go to far more extreme lengths to stop the Empire than Jyn is willing to go.
Ben Mendelsohn is the main villain in “Rogue One,” an Imperial called Director Orson Krennic. He leads a squad of soldiers called Deathtroopers, and they’re all about squashing Erso’s rogue band before they get what they’re after. “He is smarter, I think, than some of his predecessors. Perhaps a little more inventive.”
Riz Ahmed is Bodhi Rook, the group’s attitude-spewing pilot. Everybody puts up with his s— because he’s that good. Ahmed you’ve seen before in “Nightcrawler,” and he’s set to appear in this summer’s “Jason Bourne.”
Mads Mikkelsen will play Galen Erso, Jyn’s estranged father. Galen is a scientist of much importance in the galaxy, and is being pursued by both the Rebellion and Empire for his knowledge. And Jyn also because, you know, he’s her father.
Yes, that is Mon Mothma, the top dog of the Rebel Alliance. She’s played here by Genevieve O’Reilly, who also made an appearance in the role for “Revenge of the Sith” a decade ago.
Who is this cloaked figure? We don’t know, but it’s probably someone important. And it’s a bad guy almost definitely. Darth Vader, probably not coincidentally, will appear in “Rogue One.” And yes, James Earl Jones will voice him.