‘Star Wars’ fans celebrate ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’

‘Star Wars’ fans celebrate ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’

Friday, many “Star Wars” fans not lucky enough to be in London for Star Wars Celebration this weekend were glued to their TV sets. ABC aired the hourlong “Secret of the Force Awakens: A Cinematic Journey” special which promised a new 3-minute trailer for “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” However, instead of the much-anticipated return of Darth Vader onscreen, the sizzle reel featured behind-the-scenes looks, explosions and Stormtroopers on a tropical beach.

Unfortunately for the masses, the actual trailer was saved first for the thousands in attendance at Celebration. Reports say it ended with Vader’s labored, mechanical breathing and his shadow cast in a red light.

Director Gareth Edwards confirmed James Earl Jones, who voiced Vader in the original trilogy, will return in the new film.

The veteran actor recorded his dialogue in New York last December.

Edwards said recording the dialogue had been “like an early Christmas present”.

He described how he and his sound recordist had a “nerd-gasm” when they heard Jones say the word “power” in his deep, distinctive voice.

“We said, ‘that’s great — let’s do that one more time.'”

While the public may not yet be privy to Vader’s debut just yet, the Celebration panel did reveal several details about the upcoming Dec. 16 Lucasfilm release.

Cnamfi0XgAAgOd4.jpg-large“Rogue One” follows Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) as she and a group of rebels work to steal blueprints of the Death Star.  The plot comes straight from the opening crawl in “Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope.” It’s this intel that Leia hides in R2-D2 that eventually allows Luke to destory the Empire’s master weapon.

Jones said Jyn differs from past “Star Wars” heroes and heroines because her past isn’t shrouded in mystery. She said she is a woman who already possesses a sense of self — “We know where she comes from, and that fact is what propels the story.”

We will learn more about Jyn’s background and family since her father also plays a major role in the film. Celebration offered our first detailed look at Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen). The elder Erso is an inventor who is very valuable to both the Empire and the Rebellion. There are rumors that he played some part in designing the Death Star and guilt over its potential destruction of human life has driven him to try to destroy it.

Mikkelsen said, “My character is a person of interest. […] It would be kind of a big deal to say too much. But he’s a scientist and he invented something so fantastic and beautiful that it changed the universe.”

The panel also gave us a closer look at K-2SO. Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) reprogrammed the Imperial droid for the Rebellion.

“One of the most important members of this team is a droid, an Imperial droid that is programmed by the rebellion. He’s probably the best friend Cassian has in the Rebellion, or the only one,” Luna said.

Unlike Anthony Daniels who donned a metallic suit to play C-3PO, Alan Tudyk provided a motion capture performance for K-2SO. Tudyk said his character can be brash and a little abrasive, speaking his mind at all times.

Other character details included:

Bodhi Rook — Riz Ahmed plays Rogue One’s lead pilot, who previously flew for the Empire, before he started to question his involvement.

Chirrup Imwe — a blind warrior portrayed by Donnie Yen. Despite the Jedi being supposedly extinct, Imwe is a believer in the Force and Yen says the character is a “thinker.”

Baze Malbus — Played by Jiang Wen, Malbus is a friend of Imwe, but prefers big guns and direct action over spirituality.

Saw Gerrera — Forest Whitaker plays rebel fighter Saw Gerrera, who first appeared the animated series “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.” Whitaker said, ““Saw Gerrera is a rebel fighter. He’s been fighting for years against the Imperial occupation. He’s been controlling a group of rebels that’s been out to the extreme. There’s a series of different rebel groups coming together as an alliance, and all these people are different parts of that.”

Edwards also revealed the name of the tropical world where a major battle will take place — Scarif — as well as a new poster depicting the new world and the Death Star looming over it.

Although Vader is said to play an important role, “Rogue One’s” central villain will be a new character, Imperial military Director Orson Krennic, played by Ben Mendolsohn. Mendolsohn took the Celebration stage in full costume, flanked by black Stormtroopers, rumored to represent an elite Imperialist force known as Deathtroopers.

“He’s a very different villain. He’s an Australian kind, we do villainy very well,” he joked. “But he’s smarter than most of his predecessors. He’s perhaps a little sexier than some of them too.”

Briotainment.com will bring you any “Rogue One” updates this week at San Diego Comic-Con. Until then, May the Force Be With You.