There are several memorable characters in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, including reprogrammed Imperial droid K-2SO, Rebel extremist Saw Gerrera and Guardian of the Whills Chirrut Îmwe. Though the scope of the film limited the screen time available to some of these characters, others stayed in the focus for almost the entire film.
As it turns out, one of the characters was carrying a little secret with him the whole time. As some fans speculated, it’s now been confirmed that the end of Chirrut’s staff contained a little bit of the material that the Empire was seeking out in droves… kyber crystal.
The bit of kyber in Chirrut’s staff is never actually seen in the film, but its presence is confirmed by the book Star Wars Rogue One: The Ultimate Visual Guide by Pablo Hidalgo. The glowing metal end of his staff is referred to as the “crystal containment lamp” and contains both a “sliver” of kyber crystal and a battery to power the light within. The lamp is described in the book as follows:
“Designed as a symbolic source of inner illumination, it also allows Chirrut to better gauge where the end of the staff is, as he can hear both the battery and crystal harmonic.”
This in part explains Chirrut’s combat abilities, since the two sounds within the lamp let him have a much better idea of where that end of his staff is at any time. Listening for sounds made by enemies (as showcased in his first fight scene) provides him with a target that he can then drive the staff toward. The idea that he can hear the harmonics of kyber crystal also explain him knowing that Jyn was wearing a necklace, since he could hear the crystal on the necklace itself.
The symbolism of Chirrut having a sliver of crystal in his staff is interesting, too, especially since some had speculated at one point that the “lamp” may have been a lightsaber component. Chirrut is not a Jedi, but he could still be seen as a warrior monk; as it’s kyber that is used in lightsabers to create the blade, him having just a sliver of kyber could be a parallel between his role as a Guardian of the Whills and early speculation about him being a Jedi. In a film without Jedi, it’s interesting to see how much of a role both kyber and the Force itself still played.
Some fans may have been disappointed that Chirrut didn’t wind up being a blind former Jedi in the end, but this likely worked out for the best. Showing him as a monk who could sense the Force (but not actively use it) and who very much viewed the Force as more of a religion than a tool was a refreshing shift from the Star Wars status quo, and it’s nice to see that these sorts of parallels between characters can exist in the Star Wars universe without there being an explicit need to include every aspect of the previous films.
Source: Star Wars Rogue One: The Ultimate Visual Guide [via Comic Book]