As Star Wars - Episode 7: The Force Awakens continues to shatter box office records, both domestic and abroad, movie fans suddenly can't get enough of the Galaxy Far, Far Away. In addition to established Star Wars lovers who journeyed to theaters for multiple Force Awakens viewings, Disney has also managed to entice casual filmgoers who might not have initially been interested in a new Star Wars movie but now want to see what all the fuss is about. The result? A pop-culture phenomenon unlike anything Hollywood has seen in a long time (in theaters and on toy store shelves).
Longtime fans might argue Star Wars was never really gone, since the Expanded Universe as well as canonized animated series (The Clone Wars and Rebels) kept churning out new adventures, but for many The Force Awakens was a heartening return to a beloved movie franchise. For that reason, fans and casual viewers alike are already looking toward the future - to Star Wars: Rogue One and Episode 8. Moviegoers will likely have to wait until Episode 8 for answers to Star Wars 7's biggest questions but with a story set during the time of the original trilogy, and an appearance by at least one returning fan-favorite bad guy, Rogue One is more than just filler before the next numbered installment. After months of Force Awakens leaks, speculation, and rumors, attention now turns to Rogue One - and today, we're hearing new (albeit unofficial) story details to share.
The new report comes courtesy of Making Star Wars - who pieced together Rogue One story details from multiple but still "unverified" sources:
"Mads Mikkelsen (Galen appears to be his name in the film) is kind of the key to the film in a way. He is a scientist that took over the Geonosian Death Star project. He solved several of the flaws the Empire could not and is sort of a revered person in the Empire for his contributions. However, Mikkelsen’s character is a Robert Oppenheimer-type character. Oppenheimer helped design the atomic bomb only to say, “Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” The guilt “Galen” feels for his contributions to the Empire become too much and he defects, attempting to make things right. In order to do this, he enlists the help of his only daughter…. Felicity Jones’ character has to undo the devastation her family has unleashed onto the galaxy."
Making Star Wars goes on to debate the actual type of character that Felicity Jones will play (scientist, bounty hunter, etc) but that part of the report begins to slide into speculation - where the site's new info contradicts older reports.
Previous to these new rumors, little had been officially revealed about the Rogue One story - other than the core premise: a rascally but skilled team of Rebels attempt to steal Death Star plans from the Empire. Concept artwork and official stills of the cast suggest that Gareth Edwards's spin-off installment will explore the gritty reality of galactic war (to the extent that Disney even hired real military officers as extras). That alone made Rogue One an exciting prospect for Star Wars fans that have longed to see other aspects of the Rebellion explored in live-action. However, the assertion that Mads Mikkelsen isn't playing a mustache-twirling evildoer and is, instead, a nuanced Oppenheimer-like scientist makes the Star Wars spin-off tale all the more intriguing. After all, growing pains go hand-in-hand with shared cinematic universe building - often resulting in thin spin-off movies that struggle to stand on their own (especially when it comes to telling a quality story).
Previous rumors had pegged Mikkelsen as a villain, and gained traction thanks to the actor's prior filmography as well as, often, creepy on-screen demeanor; yet, a few months back, Mikkelsen suggested that his character wasn't necessarily a bad guy. The new report could uphold that claim, while at the same time co-existing with older rumors from sources that may have known Mikkelsen's character helped engineer the Death Star. That's to say, older scoopers might not have been wrong to claim Mikkelsen would portray a villain (an Imperial scientist responsible for creating Emperor Palpatine's super-weapon) even if the character isn't actually a bad guy (a regretful creator-turned-Rebel informant).
After all, while it might be easy to claim that Star Wars is a tale of good versus evil (as evidenced by lead characters who are literally clad in black and white), it's actually a story of the grey area in between - men and women who are under the constant pull of light and dark forces. Anakin Skywalker was a good person, tempted and corrupted by the dark side, only to be redeemed by the inherent good that remained within. His son, Luke, was also good-natured but lived in constant fear of giving in to the dark side like his father (and we all know that fear is the path to the dark side: "Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering."). It's a theme that returns in Star Wars 7 - as Kylo-Ren suffers from a pull to the light side, in spite of his allegiance to the dark.
For that reason, it makes complete sense that Mikkelsen would be a layered character that evolves and changes in his understanding of the universe around him - and his role within it. That's all before we even bring up the parallelism of Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker's story - set against the new tale of a do-gooding child (Felicity Jones) attempting to make-up for the mistakes of her father (Mikkelsen) and save the universe in the process.
Until Disney confirms Mikkelsen's role in the larger Rogue One story, take this information with a grain of salt. Still, in an industry that's packed with wild rumor and speculation, the new Making Star Wars details don't just make a lot of sense; if true, they're an encouraging confirmation that Disney has no intention of slacking with their Star Wars spin-offs and intends to aim for the high bar and expectations that has been re-established by Star Wars 7.
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.
Source: Making Star Wars