Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) had an impressive debut and is expected to make around $150 million this weekend. The film is generating extremely positive reviews, and Star Wars fans especially are generally very happy with how the first Star Wars “anthology” (or “standalone”) film turned out. This is all especially exciting news, given that the movie had some long and expensive reshoots which made the final film noticeably different from the trailers.
One of the major highlights from Rogue One was its characters, from the new team of heroes to the old and familiar characters from the original Star Wars: A New Hope. This character guide includes the major players in Rogue One, along with named supporting characters that appear over the course of the film. The summaries for each character contain spoilers from the film, and so it is not meant as a preview to a Rogue One viewing.
— Rogue One SPOILERS to follow —
Rogue One Squad: Jyn Erso
Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) is the reluctant hero at the center of Rogue One. The daughter of Galen Erso, who helped to design the Death Star, Jyn’s family was torn apart by the violence of the Empire. Her mother, Lyra Erso (Valene Kane), was shot and killed in front of her by Director Orson Krennic’s troops, and her father was imprisoned and forced to work on the Death Star project. Jyn was raised by Rebel radical Saw Gerrera until she was sixteen, at which time he cut ties with the teen over a growing concern that some of his fellow Rebels would try to hurt or ransom her due to her Imperial connections.
Jyn was imprisoned by the Empire under a false name. She was rescued by the Rebel Alliance so that she could help them make contact with Saw Gerrera, whose militant nature had caused him to fracture from the Rebellion. The Rebel Alliance hoped that by using Jyn, they could get to Saw and retrieve the information that Bodhi Rook (a defected Imperial pilot) had regarding an Imperial superweapon.
Jyn Erso is a self-reliant and aggressive fighter whose major objective for most of her life was mere survival. She had no intention of joining forces with the Rebels until she saw a holo-message from her father, where he explained that he had purposefully put a weakness into the Death Star so that it could be destroyed by the Rebels. Jyn realized the danger of the Death Star and worked with Captain Cassian Andor to ensure that the Death Star plans were retrieved from Scarif — a mission that came with a high price.
Captain Cassian Andor
Captain Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) is an officer in the Rebel Alliance specializing in covert operations. While not much is known about Cassian’s past, he tells Jyn that she is not the only person who lost someone, and that he started fighting for the Rebellion at the tender age of six. In many ways, Cassian illustrates the darker side of the Rebel Alliance, evidenced by a scene in which he kills an informant rather than let him be taken by Imperial forces. Cassian is not without a conscience — he believes that everything he does is necessary to help the Rebellion fight the Empire. Even after he’s ordered to assassinate Galen Erso, the clearly conflicted Cassian elects to disobey this order based on the information that Jyn Erso gives him about her father.
Cassian chooses to disobey orders again after the Rebel Alliance formally rejects Jyn’s proposal to attack Scarif and steal the Death Star plans. He joins with her on the U-wing Rogue One, even though he knows that the mission will likely end in their deaths. And while Cassian helps Jyn and the other Rebels successfully send the Death Star plans to the Alliance, he pays the same price that the rest of his ragtag team is forced to pay.
K-2SO (voiced by Alan Tudyk) is a reprogrammed Imperial droid who fights for the Rebel Alliance alongside Captain Cassian Andor. Cassian says that as an effect of the reprogramming, the former security bot usually says whatever is on his mind. K-2SO is often blunt or sarcastic, making jokes and comments at the expense of others.
Initially, K-2SO does not seem to care for Jyn (or anyone but Cassian), but as the story progresses, he begins to show signs of affection towards his teammates. K-2SO is physically imposing and very deadly — with or without a weapon in his hand. He is instrumental in the Rogue team’s escape from Jedha, as well as their plot to retrieve the Death Star plans from the archive room on Scarif. He sacrifices himself while holding off Stormtroopers attempting to intercept the Rebel plot, and his heartbreaking final actions help Cassian and Jyn escape to safety after they get ahold of the Death Star plans.
Chirrut Îmwe (Donnie Yen) is a human Guardian of the Whills who protected the Jedi Temple on Jedha. After the Temple was destroyed by Imperial forces, Chirrut, along with his longtime companion Baze Malbus, stayed in Jedha City and struggled to get by. Initially, Chirrut engages with Jyn because he knows she is wearing a kyber crystal necklace. Although Chirrut is not a Jedi, he is a strong believer in the Force. Even though he is blind, he is capable of fighting off entire squadrons of Imperial troops. He’ll likely come to be best-known for the short prayer he often recites: “I am one with the Force and the Force is with me.”
Having found new purpose in their lives, Chirrut and Baze aid Jyn and Cassian on Jedha, and eventually become key members of the Rebel One troop on their missions to Eadu and Scarif. Chirrut is tragically killed by Imperial forces on Scarif, but not before he successfully flipped the “master switch”, sending a transmission to the Rebel fleet above the planet, telling them that they must destroy the shield surrounding the planet so that the plans can be safely beamed to them.
Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen) is Chirrut Îmwe’s companion and protector. Like Chirrut, he was also a member of the Guardians of the Whills on Jedha. While Chirrut has remained a faithful believer in the power of the Force, Baze has become skeptical about the mysterious entity. Despite his doubts, his fierce loyalty to his longtime pal never wavers, and he manages to save Chirrut’s life from Imperial troops on Jedha (and on numerous other occasions).
Baze is definitely the curmudgeonly sort, but his relationship with Chirrut is a playful one. His blind friend’s assertions that the Force is his true protector are constantly correctly by Baze, who asserts that he is the one truly looking out for Chirrut. Later, on Eadu, Chirrut quips that he does not need luck to survive, because he has Baze to protect him. While his companion prefers trusting in the Force, Baze chooses to trust in his weapon of choice, a heavy repeater cannon (which is easily one of the coolest guns in the galaxy). After Chirrut is gunned down on Scarif, Baze repeats his fallen friend’s mantra, “I am the Force and the Force is with me,” while he mows down a group of Imperial Death Troopers. He is killed soon after in the ensuing firefight by a grenade blast.
Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed) is an Imperial pilot who defects to the Rebel Alliance with information from Galen Erso, the father of Jyn and one of the creators of the Death Star. Prompted by Galen, Bodhi goes to Jedha to pass on a hologram message to Saw Gerrera, unaware that the resistance fighter has become an incredibly dangerous extremist. Saw and his followers take Bodhi prisoner while they attempt to determine if he is a friend or foe. Saw tortures the Imperial defector in order to find out if he is telling the truth.
Bodhi becomes an ally of Jyn and Cassian after they help to break him out of the prison. Jyn chooses to trust him before the others do, largely because Bodhi delivered to her the first glimpse of her father that she’d been afforded since early childhood (which, of course, contained some highly valuable intel). Bodhi pilots (and names) Rogue One when Jyn’s team goes to Scarif, and he gives his life to transmit a message to the Rebel fleet, telling them that the Death Star plans can be transmitted once the shield is down.
The Rebel Soldiers
A number of Rebel soldiers volunteer to help Jyn Erso and Captain Cassian Andor at the Battle of Scarif. They go on a rogue mission, without the permission of the Rebel Alliance High Command, because they believe that it is their duty to stop the Death Star at all costs. All of the Rebel soldiers who go on this mission know that the odds are not in their favor. While their mission is successful, they all die in the process once Grand Moff Tarkin fires the Death Star, destroying the entirety of the Scarif base.
The Rebel Soldiers include Bistan (a Iakaru gunner), Pao (a Drabata commando, pictured above), and Ruescott Melshi (a human commando, who also helped to rescue Jyn Erso from the work camp on Wobani). Each of these soldiers had done whatever was necessary for the Rebel Alliance, and they gave their lives to prevent the Death Star from going unchecked in the galaxy.
The Rebels: Mon Mothma and the Alliance High Command
Mon Mothma is the leader of the Alliance to Restore the Republic, more commonly known as the Rebel Alliance. With Senator Bail Organa, she formed the Alliance, and remained its leader through the destruction of the second Death Star. Mon Mothma was originally played by Caroline Blakiston in Return of the Jedi (1983) and later played by Genevieve O’Reilly in a deleted scene of Revenge of the Sith (2004), a role the latter reprised in Rogue One (2016). Mon Mothma, like Senator Bail Organa, supported Jyn Erso’s plan, recognizing the fact that if the Death Star existed, the Rebel Alliance would need to do whatever was necessary to stop it. She was not able to rally the entirety of the Rebellion to the cause, but she was able to send significant aide once the fighting began on Scarif.
Senator Tynnra Pamlo of the planet Taris expressed her fears about the Death Star and opposed Jyn Erso’s mission to Scarif. Senator Nower Jebel did not trust Jyn Erso, and said that the Rebellion should disband and surrender to the Imperial forces. Senator Vasp Vaspar also served on the Alliance High Command and stood against Jyn Erso’s plan.
Senator Bail Organa
Senator Bail Organa (Jimmy Smits) is the adoptive father of Princess Leia. He is both a representative of the planet Alderaan in the Galactic Senate (which is dissolved at the beginning of A New Hope) and a leader of the Rebel Alliance against the Empire. Smits, who played Bail Organa in Attack of the Clones (2002) and Revenge of the Sith (2004) reprises his role in Rogue One. Although decades have passed between the movies, Organa has aged much more gracefully than Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Senator Organa is a key figure in the Rebel Alliance, helping to found the movement with Mon Mothma. He continues to play an important role, but is not able to sway the other leaders of the Rebellion to sanction/support Jyn’s mission to Scarif.
In Rogue One, Bail Organa’s last appearance includes him saying that he will return to Alderaan. He was on the planet when Grand Moff Tarkin ordered its destruction using the Death Star in A New Hope.
Admiral Raddus & General Dodanna
Admiral Raddus is a Mon Calamari officer who fought for the Rebel Alliance against the Galactic Empire. Raddus went to lend a hand to Jyn Erso after learning that she had gone to Scarif with a group of rogue soldiers to steal the Death Star plans. Like Admiral Ackbar (who famously utters, “It’s a trap!” in Return of the Jedi), Admiral Raddus hails from the planet Mon Cala. Raddus is a tough and decisive military leader, whose personality and performance was based on real-life British Prime Minster Winston Churchill.
General Jan Dodonna (Game of Thrones‘ Ian McElhinney) appears in Rogue One at the rebel base on Yavin IV. He later appears in A New Hope, along with the Death Star plans, to give the briefing to the X-wing pilots on how the Death Star can be destroyed. It was General Dodanna who analyzed the blueprints that the rebels successfully stole at the Battle of Scarif and converted them into an assault plan against the Death Star.
General Davits Draven (Alistair Petrie) is the head of military intelligence for the Alliance to Restore the Republic. He led Extraction Team Bravo, the mission that released Jyn Erso from captivity when she was being held by Imperial forces on the planet Wobani. Extraction Team Bravo freed Jyn Erso so that the Rebel Alliance could use her to get closer to Saw Gerrera and learn about the potential intel that her father, Galen Erso, had given to rogue Imperial pilot Bodhi Rook.
General Draven is the commanding officer of Captain Cassian Andor, and is willing to do whatever it takes in order to protect the Rebel Alliance, including the assassination of not-so-evil folks. Draven gave the order to Cassian to take out Jyn’s father Galen Erso. Cassian chose to disobey Draven’s orders, but Galen was still killed by a Rebel assault on Eadu. Draven is also present during the Rebel Alliance meeting when the Alliance High Command chooses to not pursue Jyn’s proposed mission to the Imperial base on Scarif.
The Rebel Pilots
Red Squadron was led by Garven Dreis (Drewe Henley), who also served as Red Leader on the assault against the Death Star (where he was later killed). Red Squadron was made up of X-wing pilots both at the Battle of Scarif and at the Battle of Yavin. At the Battle of Scarif, Red Squadron also included Jek “Tono” Porkins (Red Six), Harb Binli (Red Seven), Lieutenant Zal Dinnes (Red Eight), Lieutenant Nozzo Naytaan (Red Nine), and Major Ralo Surrel (Red Eleven). Cadet Pedrin Gaul (Red Five) was killed in action, leaving the callsign vacant; that callsign would later be filled by Luke Skywalker when he destroyed the Death Star in A New Hope.
Jon “Dutch” Vander (Angus MacInnes) flew a Y-Wing while serving as Gold Leader for Gold Squadron at the Battle of Scarif and at the Battle of Yavin (where he was later killed).
General Antoc Merrick (Ben Daniels) serves as Blue Leader (the leader of Blue Squadron) at the Battle of Scarif, flying an X-wing. Merrick worked with his squadron to attempt to destroy the shield around the planet of Scarif. Blue squadron includes the named pilots Jaldine Gerams (Blue Three), Barion Raner (Blue Four), Farns Monsbee (Blue Five), and Heff Tobber (Blue Eight).
Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) is a rebel extremist who fought against the Separatists in the Clone Wars and later against the tyranny of the Galactic Empire. Saw was a friend of Galen Erso’s, and helped to raise his daughter, Jyn Erso, after her father was taken by Imperial forces. He abandoned Jyn at the age of sixteen after some of his fellow extremists wanted to use her as a hostage or bait to attack Imperial forces (given that she was the daughter of an Imperial scientist). Gerrera had seen a great deal of conflict in his years, and by Rogue One, he is an old cyborg with mechanical legs and a breathing mask. Saw cares deeply about Jyn, and while he tortures Bodhi Rook to see if he is telling the truth, he gives Jyn the message from her father and lets her come and go peacefully.
Saw led the Partisans on the planet Jedha, using guerilla tactics against the Imperial forces. His violent methods put him at odds with many people in the Rebel Alliance, many of whom want Gerrera dead, even though both were fighting to defeat the Empire. Beaten down by the ravages of a lifetime of war, Saw Gerrera was eventually killed by the Death Star blast that destroyed the city of Jedha.
The Partisans are Saw Gerrera’s group of rebel followers on the planet of Jedha. They are military extremists who have split from the Rebel Alliance, even though both factions are actively fighting to take down the Empire. Bodhi Rook turns himself in to the Partisans at the advice of Galen Erso, where the Imperial defector delivers a message from Galen to Saw Gerrera. The Partisans include Benthic (or “Two Tubes”, the Tognath who brings Bodhi Rook to Saw Gerrera), Beezer Fortuna (a Twi’lek), Moroff (a white, large, and shaggy Gigorian), Edrio (another “Two Tubes” Tognath), Weeteef Cyubee (a stout Talpini).
Tivik, the human informant who tells Cassian Andor about Bodhi Hook near the beginning of Rogue One, is also a member of the Partisans. When Tivik and Cassian’s meeting is interrupted by stormtroopers, Cassian kills the Imperial foot soldiers. Tivik panics, saying that he will not be able to escape capture because of his impaired leg. After calming him, Cassian not-so-heroicly murders him rather than allowing him to be taken in by Imperial forces for questioning.
Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) is the adopted daughter of Senator Bail Organa and a member of the Rebel Alliance. Bail references her in Rogue One, though he does not name her. He tells Mon Mothma that Leia can help find Obi-Wan Kenobi on Tatooine and that he would trust her with his life. Leia appears in the final moments of Rogue One, as Captain Antilles hands her the plans for the Death Star. Mere minutes later, at the beginning of Star Wars: A New Hope, Captain Antilles will be lifted from the ground and strangled by Darth Vader as Princess Leia hides the Death Star plans in R2-D2 and records a message for Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Princess Leia’s likeness to Carrie Fisher’s original 1977 portrayal of the role was generated and enhanced through computer effects, utilizing the same technology that brought Peter Cushing’s Grand Moff Tarkin to life in other scenes in Rogue One.
The Droids: R2-D2, C-3PO, and Chopper
R2-D2 and C-3PO have appeared in every Star Wars movie to date, though their appearance in Rogue One is only a brief cameo. The two droids can be found on the Rebel base on Yavin IV, where C-3PO, as usual, is complaining to R2-D2. Rogue One does not show the two droids aboard Princess Leia’s ship, but somehow they must have found their way onto her Tantive IV, beginning another adventure for the beloved pair of droids.
Another astromech droid makes a cameo in Rogue One. Chopper, or C1-10P, who first appeared in the animated series Star Wars Rebels (2014), briefly appears behind Rebel Leader Mon Mothma in a scene on Yavin IV. This, along with a call for General Syndulla, is one of Rogue One‘s many shout outs to Star Wars Rebels. While Chopper’s mischievous personality is not showcased in this appearance, fans of Rebels were nonetheless happy to see him among the ranks of the Alliance.
The Imperials: Director Orson Krennic
Director Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) serves as the primary antagonist of Rogue One. Krennic is the Director of Advanced Weapons research for the Galactic Empire. More specifically, he was in charge of the security division of the Death Star project, and a rival of Grand Moff Tarkin. Krennic was originally a friend of Galen Erso’s, helping to advance Galen’s scientific career. Galen helped Krennic to develop and build the technology that would be used in the Death Star, but after Jyn’s father fled with his family, Krennic tracked them down, killed Galen’s wife Lyra, and forced him to continue to work on the Death Star project.
In Rogue One, the Death Star has reached completion, but Galen’s security breach causes Krennic’s reputation to be in jeopardy. Incensed by his loss of control (both because of intel leaks and because of pressure from Tarkin), Krennic investigates Galen’s involvement in the intel leaks, which leads him to Scarif when the rebel forces attack.
Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen) is the father of Jyn Erso and the husband of the late Lyra Erso. A scientist, Galen and his family were initially rescued from Separatists by the young Orson Krennic. As Galen explored the potential of kyber crystals, Krennic took an interest in his work. After learning that Krennic (and the Imperials) were hoping to construct a superweapon, Galen and his family went into hiding. When Krennic eventually caught up to them, Lyra Erso gave her life trying to kill Krennic. Galen was subsequently taken prisoner, and his daughter, Jyn, was taken into the care of the Rebel extremist, Saw Gerrera.
Galen decided that if he refused to work on the Death Star, he would be killed, and someone would be found to replace him. Instead, he worked on the project, but secretly put a flaw into the system so that the Death Star could be destroyed by one single and concentrated shot into the thermal exhaust port. While Galen lived and died working for the Empire, he sent a message through Saw Gerrera to his daughter, Jyn, to ensure that the Rebel Alliance could find the fatal flaw and destroy the Death Star. Galen loved his daughter, calling her “Stardust”, which he also chose as the codename for the Death Star project so that she could later find the file on Scarif.
Grand Moff Tarkin
Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin (played by a digital recreation of the late Peter Cushing) is one of the major antagonists in Rogue One and a rival of Director Orson Krennic. Tarkin is cold and authoritative; in A New Hope, when he is the commander of the Death Star, he orders the destruction of Princess Leia’s homeworld of Alderaan as a demonstration of the station’s deadly power. In Rogue One, Tarkin is first skeptical about the Death Star’s potential, but after seeing the destruction of Jedha;s capital, he tells Krennic that he will take control of the Death Star effective immediately. Krennic is furious that Tarkin would take his power and glory away from him, but simultaneously seems unable to stop Tarkin from doing so.
In the final moments of Rogue One, Tarkin orders the destruction of the base on Scarif. This kills the remaining Rebel forces on the base, including Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor, as well as his Imperial nemesis Krennic, who lives to see his prized weapon used against him.
Darth Vader is the primary antagonist of the Star Wars original series and the main character of the prequel trilogy. Star Wars movies have, up until Rogue One, focused on the fate of the Skywalker family, and Vader (or Anakin Skywalker) is at the center of the films. His brief but memorable role in Rogue One has had fans talking since he appeared in a trailer, and his performance in the final film has also been a major topic of discussion.
A former Jedi Knight and current Sith Apprentice, Darth Vader is first featured at his castle on the planet Mustafar, when Director Krennic visits him. Vader has very little patience for Krennic, and force chokes him for being overly ambitious. However, it is in the final scene that Darth Vader shows his true and horrible power. His attack on the Rebel forces as they flee Scarif is a truly brutal and nightmarish massacre, albeit one that Star Wars fans surely enjoyed.
Cameo: Ponda Baba and Dr. Evazan
On the planet Jedha, in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it scene, Ponda Baba and Dr. Cornelius Evazan pop in to say hello. Fans of A New Hope (or the television show Robot Chicken) probably know the pair from the Mos Eisley cantina on Tatooine, when they foolishly pick a fight with Luke Skywalker. Dr. Evazan threatens Luke, saying, “He doesn’t like you… I don’t like you either.” The two criminals are dangerous and wanted men: Dr. Evazan is a crazed cosemetic surgeon who has experimented with his patients and himself (yes, Evazan is a human), while Ponda Baba is a hired mercenary thug and drug smuggler. Obi-Wan Kenobi breaks up the fight, cutting off Ponda Baba’s hand in the process with his lightsaber.
The new must have left Jedha City shortly after their appearance, narrowly escaping its destruction, and headed to Tatooine for the continuity from Rogue One to A New Hope to make any sense. For more Rogue One easter eggs, check out our complete list.
What other characters from Rogue One do fans need to familiarize themselves with. Which characters do you feel were a bit underserved? Sound off in the comments.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is in theaters now.