As we draw ever closer to the debut of Gareth Edwards’ Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, we’re starting to learn a little bit more about the movie’s cast of heroic and villainous characters. Today’s tidbit comes courtesy of Riz Ahmed himself, who talks about his rebellious character Bodhi Rook. You can currently catch Ahmed starring in The Night Of, airing Sunday nights on HBO.
In a chat with EW, Ahmed talked about just how his character came to be involved with the Rebellion despite his early ties to the Empire. The interview also sheds light on Bodhi’s training and a particular set of skills that will come in handy when he attempts to steal the Death Star plans along with his ragtag team of misfits. Get to know Bodhi a bit better now so that you might appreciate him all the more when Rogue One opens on December 16th.
Watch Ahmed talk about his character and his own history with the Star Wars universe below (via EW):
It turns out that Bodhi Rook joined the Rebellion after he was conscripted to serve as a pilot for the Empire – who Ahmed described as “a cargo pilot…in our world, a long-distance truck driver” – but he soon defected. It’s a good thing he did, as Kathleen Kennedy described:
He tends to be a little tense, a little volatile, but everybody in the group really relies on his technical skills.
While Ahmed joked that Kennedy was probably talking as much about him as she was about Bodhi, he admitted that his character’s ornery attitude “comes from trying to make the best of bad options”:
A character like Bodhi is not born into the life of a soldier. He’s a pilot working for the Empire, doing his job, getting on with it. But when you put ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, it can freak them out. It can inspire deep passions. So I’m gonna defend Bodhi.
In recently released images from Rogue One, you can clearly see that Bodhi still wears the Imperial insignia as a patch on his jacket. Ahmed says the mark goes deeper than that simple patch, and his character is not trying to hide from anything:
I think it’s to remind you of where you’re coming from, remind you where your debts are. Do you know what I mean? For me personally, every day, looking at that, it reminds you of what you’ve done.
Don’t expect Bodhi to have his own signature ship with a clever name (though that might change once merchandising inevitably gets involved):
The feel of this film is quite rough and ready, and so is the mission and so are the characters, and so is the coming together of the characters. So the idea of people having special ships that they spit-shine and say, ‘Hey, this is my ship called the XYZ,’ that’s not of this world. This world is more about ‘Grab what you can, and let’s roll.’
So why has Bodhi joined up with the Rebellion? What is he looking to prove, or to atone for? Well, you’ll have to see the movie to find out for sure, but Ahmed does give a general idea of what everyone on Team Rebellion has in common:
Everyone in this Star Wars movie has got quite a complex past. They have a lot of baggage and history to it. That’s part of what makes it an interesting, nuanced movie. It’s taking characters with interesting backgrounds, whether it’s warrior monks, or ex-assassins, or long-distance truck drivers, and you’re assembling this pack of misfits.
Look for Rogue One in theaters on December 16th.