Of all the names on the #RogueOne cast list, Donnie Yen is undoubtedly the most exciting. #StarWars films are known for casting relatively unknown actors, but Donnie Yen is a bit of an exception. Donnie Yen isn't just an actor. He insists on having a very involved role in all his films, extending his job to include directing and choreography. It's for this reason that Yen likens himself to Michael Jackson: "because if you want Michael Jackson, you’re not just getting a performer, you’re getting the whole package."
Donnie Yen is a force to be reckoned with. He's an established name in his home country of China, and an accomplished martial artist— his mother was a Tai Chi grandmaster. When he was younger, Yen was attacked by a gang who were harassing his then-girlfriend. Eight of them were hospitalised. He's also put Mike Tyson in the hospital after breaking his finger on set.
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Yen will be playing Chirrut Îmwe, a follower of The Force and an adept warrior. The monk is no Jedi, but his belief in The Force is unwavering. Trailers reveal Chirrut residing in the holy city of Jedha, a fitting place for a disciple like him.
Apart from being the second Asian character in Rogue One — an admittedly rare oddity in itself for Star Wars — Chirrut is blind. However, that wasn't always the intention for Yen's character. It was Yen's decision to introduce a disability to Chirrut's story, and director Gareth Edwards loved it.
Recent Star Wars fan film Hoshino also features a blind, Asian lead character, no doubt inspired by Chirrut. Both Hoshino and Chirrut are skilled warriors, and the trailer gives us a fleeting example of Chirrut's badass fighting skills.
His blindness is clearly no hindrance to his character's abilities, which makes him a great addition to the Rebel Alliance. But he's certainly not the first sci fi character to refuse to let his disability restrict him, especially in the Star Wars universe. Here are some famous characters who managed to kick ass regardless of their disabilities.
Luke & Anakin Skywalker
Like father, like son. Losing an arm is somewhat of a bizarre trend in Star Wars, and a family tradition for the Skywalkers (watch out Kylo). Anakin lost his entire right arm to Count Dooku's lightsaber, and it was so much fun that he decided to share that experience with Luke during their reunion at Cloud City. A+ parenting skills right there.
But you know what's worse than losing an arm? Losing your left arm, and both your legs, then being horribly burned with lava. To be fair, Luke was gifted a bionic arm which was probably stronger than his original could ever have been, and Darth's iconic life-supporting armour only helped rebrand him as a "Force" to be reckoned with. Darth's disability seemed to fast-track him to the dark side, perpetuating the disabled villain stereotype, while Luke's disability motivated him to continue with his quest to bring peace to the galaxy. Though he did get his revenge by slicing off Darth's right arm with a lightsaber yet again.
Daredevil lost his sight in stereotypical comic book fashion: a toxic waste spillage. The radioactive materials also heightened his four remaining senses, gifting him with supernatural abilities which he of course uses to fight crime. When he's not being Daredevil, he's fighting crime as Matt Murdock, attorney at law.
Tyrion's identity has been closely linked to his dwarfism since birth. Given the unflattering moniker of "the Imp" and sometimes even "Halfman", his own father was so repelled by his disability that he refused to acknowledge his true right to the Lannister name. But Tyrion is determined not to let his disability define him. He has proven himself to be more than capable in battle, and has enough wit and business sense to lead a kingdom, earning him a place beside the Mother of Dragons. More importantly, he's a kind-hearted and moral individual in a family of cruel, incestuous monsters.
Charles Xavier wasn't always wheelchair-bound. In the comics, he was crushed by a large stone slab during a scuffle with an alien. In the X-Men: First Class, he is shown to suffer a stray bullet wound to his spine. Nevertheless, his psychic abilities are unparalleled, and he committed himself to becoming an admired father figure to countless young mutants.
After Arya got a little too cocky with her newfound assassin responsibilities in Game Of Thrones, Jaqen H'gar got super pissed and straight up blinded her. Her rivalry with the insufferable Waif is suddenly made all the more painful when she's unable to see when she's about to get her daily beating. Arya eventually regains her sight, but being forced to train without the aid of her vision makes her all the more stronger— and deadlier.
Marine Jake Sully was paralysed during a war in Venezuela. The future is bleak in the world of Avatar, and spinal surgery just isn't an affordable option for a veteran on benefits. He jumps at the chance to have the freedom to walk again with the means of a lab-grown avatar, originally intended for his twin brother Tom, who died. Despite his lack of training, he adapts quickly to his Na'vi body, relishing in his newfound physical abilities. Despite eventually choosing his avatar body and a life among the Na'vi over his human life, his disability portrays an aspect of war that is rarely touched upon in films— especially for a protagonist.
What do you think of Donnie Yen's character in Rogue One?
[Source: Jetset Magazine]