ByNicholas Staniforth, writer at Creators.co
Spewing film-related flim-flam and poppycock when necessary. Follow me @nickstaniforth
Nicholas Staniforth

As we all know, the Death Star plans are not in the main computer and this month Godzilla director Gareth Edwards is going to show us who stole them in his upcoming . Focussing on the do-or-(definitely)die mission of a small band of rebels who stole plans for a big effin' space station, these are the events that took place a longer time ago, in a galaxy far away and the cast that's helping to tell it is — as the wheezy fella in the black mask would say — "impressive."

But who are they? Where've they come from? Glad you didn't ask as it gives me time to tell you. Below is a list of some of the best films showcasing the cast list that have been pulled together in this impending story. It's shining examples like these that show the force has been with them, always.

Riz Ahmed — 'Four Lions'

'Four Lions' [Credit: Drafthouse]
'Four Lions' [Credit: Drafthouse]

Before he turned transatlantic heads as the innocent until proven guilty guy in The Night Of, Riz Ahmed stood in the face of terror and laughed in the farcical but idiotically accurate take on terrorism in Chris Morris's Four Lions. Leading the way as part of a small team of jihadists, Riz takes point in this at times painfully hilarious film that hits the heart, head and the funny bone with incredible accuracy.

Anyone outside the UK might miss some of the jokes, but the statement that screams throughout doesn't go unheard. Admittedly, it's the other lions that get the most laughs, but Ahmed playing it straight in an already insane scenario adds plenty. Trying to rope his team of misfits together for "the cause" only to lose sight of it himself as he draws closer to his destiny is a wonderful balance that shows Ahmed's talent.

Ben Mendelsohn — 'Mississippi Grind'

'Mississippi Grind' [Credit: A24]
'Mississippi Grind' [Credit: A24]

He might be one of the most fearless forces in the galaxy but Mississippi Grind puts Mendelsohn in the gutter and he’s undeniably great in it. A betting man whose dances with Lady Luck haven't been ending well, he finds things turn around when he meets super-slick card shark Ryan Reynolds, leading the two on a road trip to find that one big win.

Not too dissimilar than his role in Netflix's Bloodline, Mendelssohn draws in more pity here as a dog who's all out of tricks. Hanging on the well-traveled coattails of Reynolds's gambling man that has both luck and charm on his side, your heart goes out to Mendelssohn's Gerry and stays there until they make that final big bet. A win-win all round.

Forest Whitaker — 'The Last King Of Scotland'

'The Last King Of Scotland' [Credit: Fox Searchlight]
'The Last King Of Scotland' [Credit: Fox Searchlight]

A man renowned for playing the nice guy royally delivers as the tyrannical dictator Idi Amin in this award guzzling drama from 2006. Starring opposite James McAvoy, Whitaker goes to very dark places and makes sure to drag you along for the nightmarish ride as the former Ugandan President.

Based on the book of the same name, Kevin MacDonald’s drama leads Whitaker to bring a historical monster to life with unsettling skill. Turning terrifying on a dime, he keeps McAvoy’s young doctor on edge as soon as he crosses paths with him, and does the same for us in the process.

Felicity Jones — 'The Theory Of Everything'

'The Theory Of Everything' [Credit: Focus Features]
'The Theory Of Everything' [Credit: Focus Features]

Behind every good man is an even greater woman, and in the case of Theory of Everything, Eddie Redmayne’s as the great Stephen Hawking is fortified by Jones as his young love, Jane. Sure the films leading man might’ve come away from the biopic with a shiny new Oscar, but Jones’s nomination is nothing to sniff at, either.

Both performances are heroic and heartbreaking for different reasons. As painful as it is to see Redmayne’s Hawking battle with his growing limitations, so too is it a trauma to see Jane helpless to do anything about it. But still, her strength persists through such a trial, making it all the more remarkable (and no surprise) to see her career explode into the stars thereafter.

Alan Tudyk — 'Serenity'

'Serenity' [Credit: Universal]
'Serenity' [Credit: Universal]

If you ask any self-respecting TV/movie geek about Tudyk’s best work, chances are they’d shove Firefly in your hands and watch you weep when the series comes to its criminally swift end. It’s this crime against humanity that makes Serenity all the more rewarding, particularly with Tudyk bringing the biggest emotional jab.

Up to this point, every crew member had pulled their weight through the series, making the transition to the big screen a smooth one for the fans and unfamiliar alike. Tudyk played a valuable part of this, bringing his sharp humor and well-placed heart along for the ride until its final landing. Just like every outlaw on the rig, he’s a loved one but has even more of an impact with the journey he takes (you might say he even soars) and it’s a thrill to watch. Honestly, if "browncoat" still hasn’t entered your vocabulary and you prefer big screen to small, Serenity deserves your attention.

Donnie Yen — 'Ip Man'

'Ip Man' [Credit: Mandarin Films]
'Ip Man' [Credit: Mandarin Films]

One of the greatest living martial artists ever to grace the screen, Donnie Yen is a welcome and highly anticipated addition to Rogue One, mainly for his back catalog of bad-guy battering movies, of which Ip Man is a very good place to start.

Blurring fact with fist-throwing fiction, Yen takes the coveted role the legend that taught Bruce Lee everything he knew — and schooled a number of ne’er-do-wells in how to get their ass kicked as well. The fight sequences are incredible, but one that sticks out like a sore, badly beaten thumb is our hero taking on 10 guys at once. It’s a masterclass in martial arts in movies and makes you feel bad for any impending Stormtrooper who’s yet to meet him.

Mads Mikkelsen — 'The Salvation'

'The Salvation' [Credit: Warner Bros.]
'The Salvation' [Credit: Warner Bros.]

Quite a year for Mr. Mikkelsen. After causing trouble for Doctor Strange, he’s now the man responsible for building the Death Star. Both big jobs, and with films like The Salvation it’s really no surprise.

Mikkelsen plays a family man who loses everything and after exacting his revenge battles to the death for his actions. Jeffrey Dean Morgan is the baddie in burgundy who thinks the town ain’t big enough for the two of them — and clearly Mads agrees as the body count starts to rise. Beautifully shot and a good enough watch for any Western fan, the real weapon in the arsenal is Mads and his ultra cool delivery.

Diego Luna — 'Rudo Y Cursi'

'Rudo Y Cursi' [Credit: Sony]
'Rudo Y Cursi' [Credit: Sony]

Up until now, Diego Luna hasn’t had the best track record when it comes to Hollywood-handled films. That’s not to say he’s not been good in them, he’s just not been used to his full potential. If you really want to see some talent, check out his second star vehicle alongside Gael Garcia Bernal in Rudo Y Cursi.

The film sees the two as brothers whose love for soccer brings their sibling rivalry to new heights. Already carrying over their excellent chemistry over from their first film together, Bernal and Luna make for a great pair. Admittedly, the film is a joint effort from both, but Luna shows a talent here that he’s not had enough chance of showing in his English-speaking roles. Here’s hoping that changes when he helps leads the charge in Rogue One.

Which actor are you most excited to see in the upcoming Rogue One?

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