The Rogue One panel at Celebration Europe 2016 was a rather fun hour (despite some hiccups) thanks to the constantly geeking out host, Gwendoline Christie, the entire cast (surprisingly enough) coming out to discuss their roles, and the above behind-the-scenes video. There were details revealed on new planets, new character info, and even a hilarious spoiler slip from one of the cast. For show attendees, we were treated to a new trailer (yet to release as of this writing) which I’ll detail a bit below, while everyone else got to see the fun BTS reel. Check out all the new Rogue One details, and my gallery from the costume exhibit, below! UPDATE 7/22: I’ve included the full panel video below (but it doesn’t include the new trailer).
Before the cast was brought out, the panel began with Kathleen Kennedy (Lucasfilm President), Gareth Edwards (Director), John Knoll (Producer), and Kiri Hart (Senior Vice President of Development). Each one took some time to discuss different creative aspects regarding the film, some of it being repeats from last year’s panel or other recent news drops. Kennedy clarified what A Star Wars Story means: an opportunity to tell stories that explore the universe, while she says Gareth’s over the shoulder camera work makes the film more immersive (a descriptor thrown around a couple times in the panel) than any Star Wars film yet and she said it always surprised her to see Gareth out in the middle of the action with the camera (which the BTS reel shows he certainly was). Kiri thinks the film will work because of the familiarity of the time era, as it’ll be close in visuals to A New Hope. And John Knoll retold his story from Celebration Anaheim about how he ended up pitching the idea, but this year he revealed a new piece of concept art, which shows a vastly different array of characters for the film (including Groot and Rocket Racoon knock-offs and unfortunately all white human characters…glad all those things changed for the film). As for the director, Edwards also retold his SWCA 2015 story about visiting the hotel where Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen’s home was filmed, while also revealing his meeting with Mark Hamill (who happened to be wearing a Godzilla shirt, which was the last film Edwards directed) and none other than George Lucas himself, who swooped by to check out the film. Imagine having to show off your new Star Wars film to the man who made it all in the first place, something Edwards said he was crapping himself about until he realize it wasn’t as nerve-wracking as you’d think because Lucas has a good sense of humor.
After showing off the BTS reel (not for the last time), the entire cast was brought out, whom Christie took a selfie with: Felicity Jones (Jyn Erso), Diego Luna (Captain Cassian Andor), Riz Ahmed (Bohdi Rook), Donnie Yen (Chirrut Imwe), Jiang Wen (Baze Malbus), Alan Tudyk (K-2SO), Mads Mikkelsen (Galen Erso), Forest Whitaker (Saw Gerrera), and Ben Mendelson (Director Krennic). This is a giant, multi-racial, and extremely cool cast to all see together on stage. And while everyone made the usual entrance, it was Mendelson who changed things up a bit as he came out on stage in full Director Krennic uniform, flanked by the imposing Death Troopers. It was a really cool display of the character and definitely helped sell on why he could be so intimidating, especially with such a magnificent cape (while Mendelson himself is a tad eccentric). Before I jump into some of the details the cast revealed, I’d like to say they were all extremely likable and all seemed honestly excited to be there. Nothing makes me anticipate a film more than seeing the actors so proud of their film and anxious to share it with the fans so this panel has ratcheted up my excitement for a film quite a bit thanks to how the cast all presented themselves here (despite Jiang’s spoiler slip).
- Jones had this to say about Jyn: Unlike previous heroines or heros in Star Wars, Jyn knows where she comes from, but now she’s looking for a cause to fight in. The actress was graced with the first action figure of Jyn Erso, coming from Hasbro later this year. io9 has a good close up of the figure while Yakface has the product in its packaging (which includes a name of a planet we’ll get to in a moment).
- Luna says he got into the project because of the fans and their energy and I have to say I look forward to seeing his performance since he gave the same energy right back to the fans that day. He explained a bit about his connection to K-2SO, the repurposed Imperial droid, who is basically Cassian’s only friend in the film (a relationship that sounds eerily similar to Temmin Wexley and Mister Bones in the Aftermath trilogy). Cassian will be the one in the group to keep the others in line and deal with any ‘friction’ growing between them all.
- Tudyk had some of the funnier moments of the panel, including his comment that Kay-Two is, “…7 foot 1 and black, which is really my inner person,” showing he’s got a true sense of humor beyond what all his characters usually have in the projects he’s in. He compared K-2SO to old people, since the droid will just say very honest things that most people would try to edit before speaking them out loud. The droid also doesn’t like to do menial labor, which you can catch in this clip/BTS footage (I saw BTS since in the full clip at the panel you could still see Tudyk in the motion capture suit behind the droid) of the droid rejecting a bag he’s being asked to carry. Looks like he’ll be a lot of fun to watch on screen!
- Ahmed revealed Bodhi works for the Empire currently on Jedha (again, more on this planet in a moment), which he does only to make a living, to which Ahmed added jokingly, “…people work at big organizations and don’t agree with everything they do.” Bodhi will end up questioning that work because what he sees the Empire doing on the planet.
- Yen is very adamant that he and Baze are the baddest warriors on Jedha.
- Jiang was very limited in his English, so he didn’t say much…but he ended up saying too much anyways! First he simply talked about Baze’s big, giant gun but he just went out and let it slip about a character dying! Honestly, a character or two dying in this film isn’t surprising, but it definitely wasn’t meant to be shared. The moment has been forever encapsulated in this excellent gif, where you can see Tudyk’s hilarious reaction and Yen’s disappointment, which should be enough for you to figure out who he said dies.
- Mikkelsen didn’t get to talk too much about Galen, besides the fact that the character is certainly a scientist who creates something that will change the universe or the already revealed fact he’s Jyn’s father, but he did get to share the very first image of the character! He doesn’t look like much of a scientist so it’ll be interesting to see why he looks like he hasn’t seen a shower in ages.
- I didn’t think Forest Whitaker would watch Saw’s episodes from The Clone Wars, but he says he did as much to get into preparation for the character! I honestly believe him because he sounds like he has a really good grasp on who Saw was and what Saw has become since then, making me even more excited to see this excellent actor bring his presence to the Star Wars universe!
They also revealed names for two of the planets in the film: Scarif, the tropical planet where the Death Star is being built, and Jedha, a Mecca for those who believe in the Force, but don’t necessarily need to have it. Edwards gave more details about Jedha in this interview, where he says he was very interested about the story they got to tell there,
It felt very contemporary to have a situation where the Empire were imposing themselves on what means a lot to the spiritual side of Star Wars for their own reasons, their own goals, and within that area there’s a resistance that’s building and trying to fight back, but our characters end up having to go to Jedha and they basically end up getting pulled into their story a bit.
They shot in Jordan and build a set on Pinewood for the location and it’s the current home of Baze, Chirrut, and Bodhi. One has to wonder why the team has to go there and the how and why everyone teams up with Jyn and Cassian, but wonder not since we’ll find out soon enough! For Scarif, it was shot on location at the Maldives, which Edwards teased Kennedy about on “insisting” they just had to go there. He also related the story that some the extras wearing stormtroopers outfits, including Maldivian army, didn’t have any idea what Star Wars actually was…which seems hard to believe, but I guess it’s quite possible.
There was a “new” trailer shown at the end of the panel, which almost seemingly didn’t get shown due to some hiccups. I was at one of the secondary stages where they were streaming the panel and so I saw the three showings of the BTS reel just like all those watching on the livesteam at home did. It was clear things were completely organized, from not prepping the actors on what they couldn’t say (Jiang’s comment on who dies), the Celebration crew member who kept telling Christie they were to show the Sizzle reel again (which makes one wonder if they were stalling to correctly upload the footage), and the fact that everyone at the Celebration stage could take pictures but those of us at a streaming stage couldn’t (which seemed weird because besides the trailer at the end, we all saw the same thing). Anyways, the new trailer opened with footage of a young girl running over a field which is similar to the field where the Death Trooper is standing holding the stormtrooper doll in the EW cover story images. The footage fades into that of Jyn Erso running on the beach, leading many (including myself) to believe the young girl is Jyn. Most of the footage on display in the trailer was from the first trailer, but this one included a lot of intense battle and war footage too, really selling the gritty war nature of the film. The biggest/newest moment in the trailer would be the reflected reveal and breathing of Darth Vader himself. There’s still no word on if or when the rest of the general public will get to see the trailer, but for now it remains a nice gift for those who were able to make it to the show.
UPDATED: Here’s the full panel, in all it’s Christie hosted glory…though Jiang’s spoiler drop is missing! Also, the new trailer isn’t included:
On the convention show floor, they had a costume and model exhibit for Rogue One and here’s my gallery, including shots of the miniature Death Star, TIE Striker, AT-ACT, Krennic’s command shuttle, Shoretroopers, Death Troopers, and the main casts’ outfits:
Here are a few other things:
- Everyone in attendance got a poster for the film, much like everyone got one for The Force Awakens after the opening ceremonies.
- The BTS reel should be a good indicator to those still doubting that the tone of the movie isn’t being changed. This is going to be a war film and it’s clear as day from the footage we’ve all seen, especially this new reel. My favorite moment of the reel is when Jyn and Cassian take cover from an explosion and some of the debris ends up actually landing on and hitting Felicity/Jyn. Authentic, no?
- Dan Brooks sums up the panel with 15 highlights over at the official site.
- Flicks in the City not only has at least half of the panel in video form, they have interviews with select cast members from after the show.
- Here’s a different take on the poster they handed out! Likewise, USAToday collected some fan posters.
- It sounds like no opening crawl for A Star Wars Story films. Intrigued to find out what they plan on doing and if it’ll be close to anything like The Clone Wars‘ opening newsreel.
- As seen in the first trailer and confirmed in the panel/BTS reel, they shot a scene at tube stop Canary Wharf in London. A buddy of mine at the convention showed me the picture he took there the day after the first trailer dropped, as he recognized the station immediately since he lives in London!
- Mads’ brother, Lars, is also in Star Wars! He plays none other than the canon incarnation of Grand Admiral Thrawn in the upcoming season 3 of Star Wars Rebels!
Expect a lot more Rogue One news to drop as we get closer and closer to release!
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