Rogue One: A Star Wars Story–Director Gareth Edwards Vision

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the first in a new series of Star Wars standalone films set in the familiar universe, but featuring new characters and storylines.

The movie will be released by Disney in the U.S. on December 16, 2016.

When Lucasfilm president and Star Wars producer Kathleen Kennedy first sat down with George Lucas as he outlined his plans to continue with the Star Wars saga and to make Episodes VII, VIII and IX, he also revealed another ambition: “George decided he was going to make more saga films, but he said he felt there was also an opportunity to tell more stories inside the universe,” explains Kennedy, “and to make films not related to the Luke Skywalker story.”

The idea was to create films that would complement the new saga films, but also allow Lucasfilm team to explore the universe and experiment with different styles and different ways of telling stories.

Rogue One tells the story of a group of unlikely heroes, who in a time of conflict band together on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star, the Empire’s ultimate weapon of destruction.

This key event in the Star Wars timeline brings together ordinary people who choose to do extraordinary things., and in doing so, become part of something greater than themselves.

Cast and Crew

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is directed by Gareth Edwards (“Godzilla,” “Monsters”) and produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Allison Shearmur (“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” “Cinderella”) and Simon Emanuel (“The Dark Knight Rises,” “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Parts 1&2”).

Veteran ILM visual effects supervisor John Knoll (“Pirates of the Caribbean”), who shares a long history with the Star Wars films, is executive producer alongside Jason McGatlin (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, “The War of the Worlds”).

Academy and BAFTA Award nominee Felicity Jones (“The Theory of Everything,” “Like Crazy”) heads up the cast, starring opposite Diego Luna (“Milk,” “Elysium”).

Joining them are Ben Mendelsohn (“Bloodline,” “Animal Kingdom”), Mads Mikkelsen (“Casino Royale,” TV’s “Hannibal”), Alan Tudyk (“Frozen,” “I Robot”), Riz Ahmed (“Nightcrawler,” “Jason Bourne”) and Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker (“The Last King of Scotland,” “The Butler”). The film also welcomes two of China’s biggest stars, Donnie Yen (“Ip Man,” “Blade II”) and Jiang Wen (“Let the Bullets Fly,” “The Sun Also Rises”).

To create the distinctive and contemporary look of the film, director Edwards chose cinematographer Greig Fraser (“Zero Dark Thirty,” “Foxcatcher”) who teams with Academy Award–winning special effects supervisor Neil Corbould (“Black Hawk Down,” “Saving Private Ryan”). Star Wars veteran Doug Chiang (Star Wars Episodes I and II, “Forrest Gump”) and Neil Lamont (supervising art director on The Force Awakens and the “Harry Potter” film series) join forces as production designers, and Neal Scanlan (“Prometheus”) returns as creature effects supervisor having recently won a BAFTA for his work on Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Additional key crew include costume designers Dave Crossman (costume supervisor on The Force Awakens and the “Harry Potter” film series) and Glyn Dillon (The Force Awakens and “Kingsman: The Secret Service” costume concept artist), as well as stunt coordinator Rob Inch (The Force Awakens, “World War Z”).

Director’s Vision

Before director Gareth Edwards could focus on the casting the film, he had to think how he could give the film its own identity within the Star Wars universe and make it his own.

Edwards took all that he knew about the films and take each element to its breaking point to find out what ultimately makes a Star Wars film feel exactly that, but equally, how he could make it fresh and exciting.

Kathleen Kennedy was very supportive of Edwards’ desire to experiment and to give the film its unique personality: “The Star Wars saga films have a responsibility to maintain a continuity of tone and stylistic device. Things like the crawl at the beginning, and the wipes. But with the standalone films we’re relaxing some of those rules so that we can try stylistic and tonal experiments that depart from what we’ve seen and are exciting.

Edwards also wanted to make his film feel more grounded in reality and to give Rogue One a sense of gritty realism reminiscent of his style of filming in Monsters.

“What I wanted to do was to make ‘Rogue One’ more natural, more realistic and a little more organic; to make it feel like a real world. This is a time with no Jedi, no god to come and help the people who are under this massive threat,” explains the director.