Lucasfilm is giving Star Wars a major presence at this week's San Diego Comic-Con 2015, with a panel for the upcoming The Force Awakens being the main attraction for their show. As exciting as it is to see the long-awaited sequel trilogy come into fruition, Disney isn't stopping there. In between the core episodes, fans will be treated to standalone "anthology" films that tell new stories from around the galaxy.
The first of these projects is Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One, which will tell the tale of the band of Rebels who stole the Death Star plans ahead of the 1977 original film. With director Gareth Edwards gearing up to start rolling the cameras soon, we're bound to learn more about the plot and characters. Recently we found out Darth Vader would be a part of the proceedings, and he's not the only classic Star Wars villain that will be hunting down our heroes, if a new rumor is to be believed.
Bloody Disgusting is reporting that Ben Mendelsohn's unnamed Moff character is the chief adversary in Rogue One. He'll have help in the form of a team of bounty hunters that he hires to "quietly retrieve" the missing Death Star plans. The group will be comprised of Boba Fett, Bossk, Dengar, Zuckuss, 4LOM, IG-88, and Cad Bane - who will be making his live-action debut following his role in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
This is a lot of new information to take in, and it's very important to keep those grains of salt handy. For starters, Mendelsohn allegedly hasn't officially joined the cast yet; and though everything is pointing to him having a role in the film, there's still a chance he passes on the movie.
Also, the ever-churning Star Wars rumor mill has painted an extremely muddled picture regarding the future of the franchise. There's been so much speculation about all the films in the works, it's difficult to say that any of the reports are definitive unless they come straight from the studio.
That said, there are some signs that there could be truth to this latest report. Early in its development, Rogue One was frequently thought to involve bounty hunters in some capacity. This would be an interesting and cool way to include the mercenaries, since it would give the storyline a bit of the famous "evil twin" narrative trope (see: Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation). As the Rebels, led by Felicity Jones steal the plans, they'll have a gang of bounty hunters hot on their trail, which would present a new set of challenges for the heroes.
At the same time, one can make the argument that should this turn out to be true, Rogue One is in danger of becoming overstuffed with characters. Actors like Riz Ahmed and Diego Luna have already joined the cast, presumably as Felicity Jones' allies in her mission to obtain the plans. Unless the plan is for the team of bounty hunters to make small cameos a la The Empire Strikes Back (which would be a wasted opportunity for the new film), there might not be enough time to ensure that all the characters are well developed. The villains were looking strong enough with Mendelsohn and Vader. One bounty hunter would make sense - a team of seven seems like overkill.
As the old saying goes, we'll just have to wait and see what happens. Unfortunately, Rogue One is not expected to be a part of the Comic-Con presentation, so it may still be some time before all the details are ironed out. Hopefully we don't have to wait too long, since Edwards is close to filming. A little clarity on the situation would be nice to have, if nothing else.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens releases in theaters December 18, 2015. Star Wars: Rogue One releases in theaters December 16, 2016.
Source: Bloody Disgusting