One of the major obstacles for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was the one inherent in any prequel—we know how this ends, and we know which characters are not a part of the future story. Lucasfilm and director Gareth Edwards had a great premise—the story behind how and why the rebels stole the plans for the Death Star—but they also had to ensure that the film is compelling in and of itself and not racing towards an inevitability. Visually, this thing looks incredible, but story-wise folks are still curious to see how Edwards will execute this first ever standalone Star Wars film.
Speaking with USA Today recently, Edwards spoke a bit about the film’s villain Director Orson Krennic, played by Ben Mendelsohn. Krennic poses another problem in that he appears to be a pretty visual player in the Empire, but we know he’s not big enough to be in Darth Vader’s inner circle in George Lucas’ original trilogy. When crafting the character, however, Edwards wanted to set Krennic apart from the Empire goons we’ve seen previously:
Because top men in the Empire such as Grand Moff Tarkin are upper-class types, Edwards recalls Mendelsohn asking if he should adopt “a very posh English accent.” But the director preferred Krennic, the man in charge of the advanced weapons research wing of the Imperial military, not be a part of that boys club.
Indeed, Edwards describes Krennic as much more of a working class baddie:
“It feels like if the Empire ever have a job vacancy, they go to the Royal Shakespeare Company to headhunt people. I like the idea that Ben’s character was much more working-class” and rose in the ranks “through sheer force of personality and ideas.”
That informs both the character’s mannerisms and his motivation, as Edwards teases that Rogue One builds to a pretty big moment for Krennic:
Krennic “hits a brick wall in the hierarchy where they won’t let him in the club and it’s going to turn into a them-or-us situation: either Krennic or Tarkin and the others.”
It’ll be mighty interesting to see where we find these Rogue One characters at the end of the movie, and if it opens the door for more Star Wars stories to be told with these same characters in parallel to the events in A New Hope, etc. going forward. We’ll find out when Rogue One hits theaters on December 16th.