Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One is the first of two Star Wars spinoff films that we currently know of. The film which stars Felicity Jones as a Rebel soldier, takes place in between the events of Episode III and Episode IV.
Though the Gareth Edwards-directed film has yet to begin production, it has just added Forest Whitaker (The Butler, Taken 3) to the cast. More on the story below.
Variety was the first to break the news, although they could not confirm the role he has in the film. During Star Wars Celebration, Edwards confirmed that Jones would be playing a resistance fighter who has “fear, humor, and warmth.” It’s rumored that Ben Mendelsohn (The Dark Knight Rises, The Place Beyond the Pines) will play a villain, most likely someone who’s a high ranking officer within the Galactic Empire. Riz Ahmed (Four Lions, Nightcrawler) and Sam Claflin (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Mockingjay) were also in talks for unspecified roles, although it is being rumored that the two could be resistance fighters who join Jones’ character in stealing the plans to the Death Star. Diego Luna (Monsters, Godzilla) is said to be playing a lead role in the film.
Here’s a brief synopsis of the film:
A rogue band of resistance fighters unite for a daring mission to steal the Death Star plans and bring new hope to the galaxy in the Star Wars Anthology film, Rogue One.
The Star Wars Anthology panel confirmed that the films would expand the Star Wars universe, and some of them will “tell stories that may not involve Jedi.” As far as the tone of Rogue One goes, reports are saying that it would like to that of The Dirty Dozen and Saving Private Ryan, while Edwards has said that will borrow influences from movies like Black Hawk Down and Zero Dark Thirty.
Here’s some of what Edwards said during the Star Wars spinoff panel back in April:
“The thing that interests me about it, is Star Wars was basically very black and white. Our movie is gray.”
That gives you some idea of the complexities the film will explore.
Concept art shown at Star Wars Celebration revealed a band of soldiers charging at a target, while the footage revealed a single Tie Fighter flying towards the Death Star.
Before Whitaker can start filming his Rogue One role in the fall, he still has Denis Villeneuve sci-fi drama The Story of Your Life. He also stars in SouthPaw, and is in talks to star in The Crow reboot.
Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One will open on December 16, 2016. The second untitled Star Wars Anthology film is said to center the rivalry between Boba Fett and Han Solo, and is scheduled to open in theaters May 2018.