The villains of the Star Wars franchise are just as popular (if not more so) than its heroes, and so it's with great interest that fans are looking towards the vanguards of the Empire in the upcoming standalone spinoff Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Set shortly prior to the events of A New Hope, Rogue One will follow Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and a daring team of Rebel soldiers as they embark on a mission to steal the plans for the original Death Star.
Standing in their way is Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn), head of the Empire's Advanced Weapons Research division. In his white uniform and cape, Krennic has struck an imposing figure since we first saw him in the original teaser for Rogue One, and he will be sharing the villain stage with Darth Vader himself.
Now, in the wake of Empire unveiling a magazine cover featuring the heroes of Rogue One, Krennic has (rather appropriately) been given his own Empire cover. Mendelsohn's villain stands flanked by two Death Troopers, and the promise of "unprecedented access" suggests we could be learning more about his character very soon. Check out the cover below:
Though Krennic may be on the same side as Vader, the two characters won't necessarily be best buddies. Previous character descriptions have indicated that there isn't much loyalty among the Empire's higher ranks, and those in power are always looking for a way to stab others in the back in order to improve their own station. There may be a dynamic similar to that of Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, with both Vader and Krennic competing for the approval of a superior - who in their case would be Emperor Palpatine.
Mendelsohn's other recent credits include Netflix series Bloodline, crime drama The Place Beyond the Pines, and Ryan Gosling's surreal directorial debut Lost River, so starring in a big sci-fi blockbuster is quite a chance of pace for the actor. Still, since Mendelsohn has already proven himself in smaller, critically-acclaimed films, it will be exciting to see what he brings to the Star Wars universe.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in U.S. theaters on December 16, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIIIon 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.