Disney and Lucasfilm will venture into both familiar and unfamiliar territory at the end of the year with the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The movie itself will take place in a familiar time period, just shortly before Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, as the Rebels recruit Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) to lead a dangerous plan. Even with the time period being close to other films within the Star Wars universe, though, this will be the first non-saga film that has been made.
This has put some tough expectations on the shoulders of Rogue One, as it must prove audiences are interested in this world outside of the main story. Disney has recently been tempering box office expectations for the film, as it has to follow up the record-breaking numbers of Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens, but the studio is still hoping for one of the biggest hits of the year. Meanwhile, expectations are high for star Felicity Jones as well, as she has been tasked with leading the film. And recently Jones revealed that part of those expectations were for her to have an increased physical presence in the film.
In and interview with Total Film, Jones was asked about the physical requirements that came with doing this role. As it turns out, this was a completely new aspect to Jones acting career, after not doing many physically demanding roles in the past. From what it sounds like, however, she enjoyed learning new fighting styles, suggesting Jyn will take part in the action.
"I've never done this level of physical preparation for something. Particularly for Rogue One where I was training every day and doing kung fu rehearsals on a daily basis, but that's part of the reason I wanted to do it, because it was very different from what I've done before."
From what has been seen of Rogue One footage so far, there have not been many instances of Jyn fighting in hand-to-hand combat. Her weapon of choice appears to be a blaster, which should not come as a surprise given non-Force users tend to carry a blaster around. And given that the film takes place during a time of conflict, Jyn and her fellow crew mates are likely to know their way around a blaster as well as have a few hand-to-hand tricks up their sleeves.
From early on in production, Rogue One has been described as a war film first -- one that just happens to be set in the Star Wars universe. What's been seen of the film so far certainly has the look and feel the Star Wars universe, but opening up the fighting styles to include more than just gun fire and lightsaber battles will definitely bring a unique feel to the film. Whenever Jyn gets involved in the action, be on the look out for some different fight moves than these films have shown before.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in U.S. theaters on December 16, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on December 15, 2017, the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25, 2018, Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019, and the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.
Source: Total Film