'Rogue One': Riz Ahmed Says He Was Originally Supposed to Play a Totally Different Character

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story..Riz Ahmed (Bodhi Rook)Behind the Scenes on set during production. ..Ph: Footage Frame..© 2016 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
Riz Ahmed (Bodhi Rook) behind the scenes on set during ‘Rogue One’ production (Photo: Footage Frame..© 2016 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved)

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was 2016’s highest-grossing film, and the rare case of a blockbuster that won’t be receiving a sequel, given that it functions as a direct lead-in to Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope. That means we likely won’t see any more of the characters from Gareth Edwards’ prequel — and in a new in-depth piece at EW.com timed to today’s digital HD release of the film, actor Riz Ahmed lets it be known that we almost didn’t see his Bodhi Rook in the first place.

In his interview with EW, Ahmed reveals that when he originally signed on to Rogue One, he was set to play a totally different intergalactic figure included in the script’s early drafts:

“His name was Bokan, and he was actually Saw Gerrera’s engineer, living on a planet with a strong electromagnetic field, which meant that electronics were never working,” the actor told EW. “He was actually an Imperial engineer who had been kidnapped and kind of had Stockholm Syndrome. He had been living there for so long, he kind of lost it, like Dennis Hopper in Apocalypse Now.”

That’s a far cry from Bodhi Rook, the Jedha pilot who helped Felicity JonesJyn Erso locate her father. Nonetheless, Bokan would have been a key component of Rogue One, considering that his ability to detect the Death Star’s weakness would have made him a highly sought-after individual by both the Rebels and the Empire. Even after Bokan was changed to Bodhi, however, alterations to the character’s fate continued. [Spoiler alert!] The character’s death scene, for example, originally played out quite differently than when we saw in the released version, according to Ahmed:

“Actually, he died slightly differently before, in that whole sequence of him running around with the plug. There was actually this one shot that was about a minute long, and it was basically Bodhi ducking and diving from Stormtroopers to try and, like, get the plug to where he wanted it to go while Donnie and Jyn, when Chirrut and Baze were kind of flanking him…Every time he’d get sprung by a Stormtrooper, Donnie would come out and Bang! then they would go down, and then Bodhi would have to crawl and jump over somebody, just to be caught again. Then Chirrut would pop up. It was almost, kind of an extended slapstick comedy sequence…When he was running into the ship, he was shot and badly injured. He has to crawl his way back onto the ship, and it was quite extended.”

To read lots more about the transformation of Bokan into Bodhi, the background details about Bodhi that didn’t make it into the film, and why the filmmakers thought Ahmed was so perfect for the prequel, head over to EW.com. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story debuts on digital HD today, and on Blu-ray on April 4.

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