The Star Wars saga entered a drastic change of pace with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the first standalone film in the franchise. In keeping with this pioneering move for the series, fans have been busy trying to decipher how the Gareth Edwards film ties into other installments and how it expands upon what already exists within the current mythos. Certainly, part of that hinges on the many new characters who appear in the film.
[Update, 10/13/16: Added second full-length trailer, above.]
To help you better understand the new movie, we’re turning our attention to the new heroes and villains who take center stage in Rogue One. However, we’ll be leaving Forest Whitaker’s Saw Gerrera off the list since he already appeared in the animated series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Also, don’t expect to see Mon Mothma and Bail Organa on here — despite their appearances in Rogue One — as they are established members of the saga.
Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso
Played by Oscar-nominated actress Felicity Jones, Jyn is looking to redeem her own sordid past by contributing to the Rebel Alliance. The title of Rogue One in part relates to its lead character’s tendency to work alone, but she will presumably come to embrace the team environment on this mission to steal the Death Star plans.
Diego Luna as Cassian Andor
A key intelligence officer for the Rebels, Cassian Andor is among the most accomplished members of the central team and serves as the film’s male lead. Diego Luna has appeared in several major films, including Y Tu Mamá También, Milk, and The Terminal.
Ben Mendelsohn as Orson Krennic
An accomplished actor known for the Netflix series Bloodline, Ben Mendelsohn plays the primary villain of Rogue One. Obsessed with completing the Death Star plans and pleasing the Emperor, Orson Krennic is the diabolical director of advanced weapons research for the Imperial military.
Donnie Yen as Chirrut Îmwe
Chirrut Îmwe might not be a Jedi but he is spiritually close to the Force and believes in its will. Despite being blind, he is a cunning warrior ready to take on the Empire and complete his mission. Appropriately, the character is played by martial arts legend Donnie Yen, best known in recent years for his role in the Ip Man series.
Mads Mikkelsen as Galen Erso
In the past decade, Mads Mikkelsen has made a name for himself playing villains like Hannibal Lecter (on NBC series Hannibal) and Le Chiffre (in Casino Royale). However, his mysterious Rogue One role as Jyn’s estranged father, Galen Erso looks like it will be more morally complex than his other recent work. We’re curious to see how he factors into the primary conflict between the Empire and the Rebel Alliance.
Alan Tudyk as K-2SO
A venerable voice actor and former Firefly star, Alan Tudyk voices K-2SO, the new droid set to debut in Rogue One. An Imperial enforcer droid, K-2SO has since been mind-wiped and reprogrammed to serve the Rebellion. Little is known about how large of a role the character might have in the action of the team’s central mission.
Riz Ahmed as Bodhi Rook
Bodhi Rook is a former Imperial soldier who has since started working with the Rebel Alliance. His expert piloting and technical skills will definitely come in handy during the mission to acquire the Death Star plans.
Riz Ahmed’s acting career has recently broken out, thanks to his starring role in HBO miniseries, The Night Of and his appearance in films like Jason Bourne.
Jiang Wen as Baze Malbus
While most of the central team is comprised of Rebel soldiers or former Imperials, Baze Malbus is actually a freelance assassin with a personal reason for wanting to take on the Empire. The character is also best friends with Chirrut Îmwe, a man whose spirituality nicely contrasts his own beliefs (or lack thereof).
Jiang Wen is an internationally known star — for films like Red Sorghum — as well as a director and screenwriter in his own right.
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