If you don’t know this about me, I am a MASSIVE Star Wars fan. It’s one of my favorite fandoms next to superheroes. I’ve travelled that galaxy and delved into all their books, comics, toys, you name it. Now nothing is perfect and one of the complaints Star Wars gets is that it isn’t as progressive as Star Trek and that’s a fair argument. The films do a great job on showing different alien species, but not people of color. That is made in the Original Trilogy and it’s less of an issue in the prequels, but it’s still there. The new Sequel Trilogy seems to be heading in the right direction with its casting of its actors and their background. Lucasfilm isn’t going to shy away from casting actors of different backgrounds. After all, Star Wars is an ENTIRE Galaxy, there are ton of rich characters to explore and they are going to explore more of that in Star Wars Rogue One.
For those who don’t fully know, Star Wars Rogue One will take place between Episodes III & IV and happens months, probably weeks before A New Hope. A group of rebels are tasked with finding and stealing the plans to the Death Star and retrieve back to the Rebel Alliance to counter it. This film will put an emphasis on the word “war” in which the film is going to take the grittiness of a war film, that includes horrors of it and the pain soldiers suffer..
One of the earliest complaints about Star Wars was how they didn’t really have a female lead in the films. That seems to change with the sequel trilogy and their new anthology films. Here, Felicity Jones, Jyn Erso is the main hero of this film and although she is a very talented actress, the true stars come from its supporting cast. Standing right next to Felicity Jones is latino actor Diego Luna, who will be playing Captain Cassian Andor. A Intelligence Officer for the Rebel Alliance. He’s kind of a stickler for the the rules, but doesn’t mind bending them. He’s a calm and collective guy who knows his way around the battlefield.
Now next we have probably one of my favorite actors to be in a Star Wars film, Donnie Yen. The average person doesn’t know who he is and what movies he’s done, which is a shame because he is one of the most talented actors out there. Just go watch the Ip Man films. Although he is a master at the martial arts, the range of acting he posses is stellar. He will be playing Chirrut Imwe, blind, but great warrior who uses the ways of the Force to balance himself and his life. Right beside him is Jiang Wen and if I am being honest I have never seen a film with him. Regardless, I have no doubt he will do an excellent job playing Baze Malbus. Baze is the wild one, to Chirrut’s steady demeanor. According to an article by Entertainment Weekly, he “prefers a blaster to hokey religions and ancient weapons, but this soldier is devoted to to protecting his friend Chirrut at all cost.”
No Star Wars story is complete without an ace pilot and that role goes to English and Pakistani actor Riz Ahmed, who will be playing Bodhi Rook. The pilot who likes to live dangerously close to the “danger zone.” Although eccentric and flying skills ballsy, the team needs him. Next up, we have Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker playing Saw Gerrara. A character that was first introduced in the animated series The Clone Wars, he is just as hot tempered and violent as he was back then. He knows the real horrors of war and has been fighting for freedom at a young age and although his methods are questionable in morality, they are always for the greater good.
Now every Star Wars story has to have an evil, white, british actor to play an Imperial Officer, but there is a reason for that. The Empire is systematically racist and the majority of its Officers come from very rich and privileged planets/systems where they are mostly white. There have been very few colored Officers and they don’t allow any other species join the ranks of the Empire, with the exception of one character from the novels. Ben Mendelsohn, from one of my favorite shows Bloodline, will be playing Director Orson Krennic. Who is one of the Imperials in charge of the Death Star plans and is tasked with retrieving the plans that were stolen. Like every Imperial Officer, he wants to get to the top, with no regard for who is at the bottom or who he has to pass.
Star Wars films will always become an event to watch in the theaters and it’s wonderful to see it head in a direction where it is inclusive of every race (& species) in its film.