The upcoming film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story promises to be a very different kind of installment than the ones previously seen in the galaxy far, far away. This doesn't just pertain to the tone of an intense war drama; the spinoff will incorporate filmmaking techniques that haven't been used in the Star Wars franchise before. It's long been confirmed that Rogue One includes flashbacks, depicting protagonist Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) as a child living with her father Galen (Mads Mikkelsen). One of these was seen in the most recently released trailer, with a young Jyn hiding as Galen is taken away by the Imperials to work on the Death Star project.
Jyn's relationship with Galen is being set up as the emotional core of Rogue One, and viewers should see plenty of that dynamic in the finished film. While it hasn't been stated how many flashback sequences are in the movie, audiences are going to get a chance to see Jyn at varying stages of her life. According to Mikkelsen, the heroine will be shown at three different ages throughout the narrative.
Speaking with GQ, the actor touched on his experience making Rogue One, revealing that he worked with a trio of actresses for Galen's scenes with Jyn, as well as praising co-star Ben Mendelsohn:
"I worked a few days with Felicity Jones and she is a wonderful actress. I worked with Jyn at three stages, and three different ages, so there was a little kid that was four, one that was eight, and then there was Felicity. So that was wonderful. I spent a lot of time with Ben Mendelsohn and that was hilarious. He’s a very funny man and he makes the day just fly by.”
In addition to watching Jyn and Galen, it will also be interesting to see how the elder Erso interacts with Mendelsohn's Director Krennic. The forthcoming book Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel will detail their history with one another. Per the synopsis, Mendelsohn saved the Erso family during the Clone Wars, and Galen owes him a tremendous debt. Though they start out as friends, the characters obviously don't see eye-to-eye as the years go on. One of the earliest Rogue One rumors was that Galen felt extraordinary guilt over helping develop a super weapon and sought to make things right by contacting the Rebel Alliance. It will be nice to see Mikkelsen play a sympathetic figure in a big-budget film for a change, after he carved out a niche as a compelling villain actor.
Chances are, the 8-year old Jyn is the one shown at the beginning of the third trailer, so it remains to be seen how the 4-year old version factors in. There's still some mystery surrounding the Ersos as a whole, since it was announced last month that Valene Kane is portraying Jyn's mother Lyra in Rogue One. In all likelihood, her role in the film will be brief, appearing in select flashbacks to flesh out those portions of the movie. While this isn't the juiciest Star Wars update out there, it's still nice to know that Gareth Edwards is going to show a natural evolution of Galen and Jyn. This franchise has always been known for captivating stories about parents and their offspring, and Rogue One looks like it could be the most emotionally-wrenching.
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.