New characters for Star Wars

Stars and fans of the Star Wars franchise hit London ahead of the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Diego Luna
Diego Luna

LOS ANGELES • A Star Wars world with a host of new characters and a new feisty female lead was unveiled at a special fan event last Friday, as the cast of the upcoming film Rogue One discussed the latest chapter of the much-loved franchise.

British actress Felicity Jones, who follows in the heels of newcomer Daisy Ridley leading last year's Star Wars: The Force Awakens, said her character Jyn Erso is "incredibly independent" in Rogue One, out in theatres on Dec 16.

"She can be tough when she needs to be, but she has, I hope, great humanity as well at the same time and someone who, throughout the film, finds a cause and finds those leadership qualities inside of her," she said.

She joined Rogue One cast members to kick off this year's Star Wars Celebration in London, which features three days of panels and events for fans. Mexican actor Diego Luna, who plays Captain Cassian Andor, said Rogue One was the "most grounded film" in the franchise and centred on a group of rebels fighting for freedom and to "change their reality".

Forest Whitaker, who plays Saw Gerrera, said Rogue One director Gareth Edwards shot a "very gritty" film with handheld camera work that made it more "personal and intimate". The characters, the actor said, struggled with "light and darkness".

Disney released a three-minute reel online of behind-the-scenes. It featured a glimpse of franchise villain Darth Vader, seen in a fan video from the event uploaded by The Daily Beast.

Star Wars producer Kathleen Kennedy had previously said Darth Vader would return in Rogue One and James Earl Jones will reprise voicing the character.

Rogue One is the first of three new standalone Star Wars movies that will explore new realms and stories outside of the trilogies, first set up in George Lucas' 1977 Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 18, 2016, with the headline 'New characters for Star Wars'. Print Edition | Subscribe