WARNING: This article contains POSSIBLE MINOR SPOILERS for Rogue One
The Star Wars franchise returned to the big screen with Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens in December 2015, and that film was only the beginning. Disney and Lucasfilm have grand plans for the galaxy far, far away, taking the movie series beyond the traditional Skywalker saga with standalone anthology projects. The first of these, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, hits theaters this holiday season and focuses on the team of Rebels who stole the plans for the original Death Star.
With the hype surrounding The Force Awakens starting to cool down, attention will be shifting towards Rogue One, especially on the ever active Star Wars rumor mill. Keeping that in mind, fans should be eager to check out a new report that provides alleged details on the various new characters Rogue One will introduce, as well as one returning Dark Lord of the Sith.
JoBlo has an exclusive scoop covering information about the initial Star Wars spinoff. There's nothing too juicy in their rundown (i.e. crucial plot twists), so those concerned about spoiling the experience don't have much to worry about. Their findings are presented in a bullet list below:
- The film will feature stormtroopers that wear all-black armor called Death Troopers, seemingly taking a cue from the Shadow Troopers of the now defunct Star Wars Legends series.
- There's a new droid character that works with the Rebels, and he's a "scene stealer"
- One of the main characters is named "Cashen," but it's unknown which actor is playing him/her
- A new TIE Fighter design and AT-ATs will be shown in Rogue One
- Darth Vader is in the movie, and he has a "larger role than originally thought"
The report elaborates that the new droid was originally an Imperial robot that gets reprogrammed to aid the Rebels. As for his appearance, he has long arms, two legs, and is dark grey or black in color. The character is described as being a change-of-pace from the normal protocol droid design fans are familiar with (C-3PO). JoBlo is speculating that this could be Alan Tudyk's motion-capture role, but there's nothing to confirm or deny that so far. It's a logical guess, since it sounds like the technology would be necessary to bring this particular character to life. Time will tell, but after Lucasfilm won fans over with scene stealing BB-8, it isn't surprising that they've apparently created another droid poised to be an instant fan-favorite.
As for Darth Vader, it's difficult to say what exactly JoBlo means when discussing his part in the film, since it's never been stated how much screen time the villain will receive. From the wording, it sounds like Vader will be one of the central antagonists of the film, making life miserable for Felicity Jones' character and her team. If Vader were to have a primary role in Rogue One, it would be a smart move on Lucasfilm's part. Nostalgia was used to great effect in the Force Awakens marketing campaign. Since Rogue One takes place before the original trilogy heroes even met, their options are limited when playing that card for the spinoff. Placing a recognizable character like Vader front and center is almost a necessity when promoting Rogue One, as that would help sell casual audiences on a Star Wars movie disconnected from the main storyline. His appearance is a huge selling point.
The other items from the scoop are not so instrumental to the overall story, but do show how director Gareth Edwards will be making his film differentiate from what came before. The revelation of the Death Trooper brings to mind a behind-the-scenes image Rogue One star Donnie Yen shared, which showcased a black helmet that hadn't been seen in a previous Star Wars movie. Not only would a new stormtrooper outfit (along with a TIE Fighter redesign) give Rogue One something unique to call its own, it would also give Disney more merchandising opportunities when it comes time to launch all the Rogue One tie-in materials. As for why they're never heard from in the original trilogy... hopefully the film provides some answers on that.
Star Wars: Episode 7 – The Force Awakens is now in theaters, followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode 8 on May 26th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode 9 is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.