What We Learned From The Star Wars: Rogue One Panel

The cast and crew of ‘Star Wars: Rogue One’ have appeared at Star Wars Celebration Europe… and they gave us a hint of what we can expect from the first ‘Star Wars’ spin-off.

‘Star Wars: Rogue One’ is just around the corner, and with an all-new behind-the-scenes sizzle reel, we’ve got our closest look yet at the upcoming ‘Star Wars’ spin-off. Thankfully, there’s plenty more where that came from, as the cast and crew took to the stage at the ExCel London for a quick panel.

And some of the stars even let on a lot more than they should have.

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Here’s what we learned from the ‘Star Wars: Rogue One’ panel…

Rogue One is a gritty war story

That’s right – ‘Star Wars: Rogue One’ has more than a passing resemblance to ‘The Dirty Dozen’ in both plot and visuals… and that’s surely no coincidence. Director Gareth Edwards explained that he’ll be bringing something new to the table.

And with a behind-the-scenes glimpse of ‘Rogue One’ filming, it looks as though we’re getting a very different kind of ‘Star Wars’ movie.

“The pressure’s so high,” explained director Gareth Edwards. “We’re making a film that’s right touching my favourite movie of all time. But then, if you’re too respectful of it that you daren’t do anything new or different, or take a risk, then what are you bringing to the table?”

Jiang Wen really shouldn’t do interviews

‘Star Wars: Rogue One’ star Jiang Wen is playing Baze Malbus – a rough and ready soldier who takes up arms against the Empire on his occupied home planet… and soon gets tangled up with the Rebel Alliance.

But while discussing his character on stage, Wen dropped a massive ‘Rogue One’ spoiler.

If you want to find out exactly what that spoiler is, you can find out more here… but suffice to say that Jiang Wen was probably kicking himself once he got backstage.

Mads Mikkelsen confirmed to play Jyn Erso’s father

It’s been rumoured for some time, but now it’s finally confirmed – Mads Mikkelsen is playing Jyn Erso’s father. And now we even have a name: Galen Erso.

“My character is a person of interest,” said Mads Mikkelsen. “It would kind of be a big spoiler if I say too much but what can I say… he’s a scientist and he at one point invented something so beautiful and so fantastic that it might change the universe. That’s all I can say.”

Quite what that means remains to be seen… but Galen’s robed look is certainly interesting.

Mark Hamill visited the Rogue One set

One of the perks of being a ‘Star Wars’ legend is being able to turn up on set to find out what’s been happening in the galaxy far, far away… and Mark Hamill took the chance to geek out with director Gareth Edwards.

“I was with Felicity [Jones] and we were in the middle of a shot,” he explained. “And someone just nudged me and pointed to this guy in the corner and said ‘do you want to meet Luke Skywalker?’ I looked over and there was Mark Hamill.”

“I went over to him and he was wearing a Godzilla t-shirt,” he added, “which is the film I made before… and I was like, you know when you go up to someone and you’re so in awe of them? I don’t know what I said to him – I was trying to be articulate and intelligent and I don’t know what came out, and he was being really sweet and complimentary.”

“All I was thinking, as he was talking to me was: ‘Please Lord, someone be taking a photograph of this – nobody is going to believe I met Luke Skywalker!’”

Rogue One was developed on the back of Star Wars: Underworld

Although we’ve never had a ‘Star Wars’ spin-off film before, the idea isn’t exactly new.

In fact, it looks as though the concept of ‘Star Wars: Rogue One’ was created thirteen years ago by ILM’s Chief Creative Officer, John Knoll. And it’s all on the back of the now-defunct ‘Star Wars: Underworld’ live action TV series.

“This started about thirteen years ago when we were shooting ‘Episode III’ in Sydney, and I heard that George was developing this live-action TV series. I got thinking about what sort of fun stories you might be able to tell in that episodic format and I started playing around with this idea drawn from the opening crawl of ‘Episode IV’ for this ‘Mission Impossible’ style spy mission to steal the Death Star plans.”

“I started to tinker around with what the plot structure for something like that would be and… I started to realise that this idea had no place in that concept, so I dropped it. It wasn’t until later when the new slate of films was announced a few years back that I was thinking ‘that original idea could make a pretty good stand-alone film’.”

Alan Tudyk’s K-2SO is awesome

It’s no secret that Alan Tudyk played a new droid in ‘Star Wars: Rogue One’.

But what we didn’t realise was that he’s absolutely awesome.

“He speaks his mind and says things that could be … unsettling,” said Tudyk as he gave us a hint of what to expect from K-2. “He’s very honest. If you know any old people, it’s like that. He says whatever he thinks.”

K-2SO is described as being a good friend of Captain Cassian Anders… and that Anders is the one responsible for re-programming the former-Imperial droid in order to serve the Rebel Alliance.

“Cassian re-programmed him,” explained Tudyk. “And he did like, a data wipe… and when he re-programmed him, he’s not quite all there… it was great to play him.”

Darth Vader is back… obviously

Not exactly a huge surprise, but Darth Vader has returned.

The iconic ‘Star Wars’ villain is synonymous with the franchise… and considering the plot of ‘Star Wars: Rogue One’ it would perhaps be a bigger surprise if he wasn’t in the movie. Still, we finally got a glimpse of his silhouette in the latest ‘Rogue One’ trailer – still unavailable to the general public.

And while it was an understated appearance, they did confirm that James Earl Jones is back providing that iconic voice.

‘Star Wars: Rogue One’ heads to cinemas on 16 December 2016.

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Picture Credit: Lucasfilm, Ryan Leston