The Star Wars net has been cast further afield with Rogue One, giving us lucky fans the best of multiple worlds; the film's proximity to A New Hope means some familiar faces (see: masks) will return, in addition to a whole wealth of new characters.
Most of the new recruits form the Rebel Alliance, a group who have been given the audacious task of stealing the plans to the Death Star. These recruits are arguably unlike anything the franchise has seen before, a collection of antiheroes who are flawed yet deeply driven.
With the colossal reputation of Star Wars to withhold, Disney have turned to some of the best in the business, from martial arts experts to Oscar winners. Let's have a look at the people behind the Rogue One characters below:
1. Felicity Jones
Character in Rogue One: Jyn Erso
Latest Appearance: True Story (2015)
Jones has the important role of fronting the first Star Wars anthology movie, but the role of Erso is in safe hands with the English actress. On one hand, she's a gifted academic who graduated from the prestigious Oxford University, on the other, acting is in her DNA, first appearing in The Treasure Seekers (1996) aged only 12-years-old.
Her most notable appearance to date was alongside Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything (2014), which earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. This year she'll also appear in Inferno opposite Tom Hanks, as well as A Monster Calls.
2. Diego Luna
Character in Rogue One: Cassian Andor
Latest Appearance: The Bad Batch (2016)
The Mexican actor has had a distinguished career to date, first starting off on TV in his home nation, before a breakout performance in the critically acclaimed Y tu mamá también (2001).
He eventually made the transition to Hollywood a number of years before joining the Rogue One cast, appearing in films such as The Terminal (2004), Milk (2008) and Elysium (2013). More recently, he's turned his hand to directing with Abel (2010), César Chávez (2014) and this year's Mr. Pig.
3. Ben Mendelsohn
Character in Rogue One: Orson Krennic
Latest Appearance: Una (2016)
Every good story needs a formidable villain. As well as Darth Vader, Mendelsohn will be portraying Director Krennic, the Rebel Alliance's biggest stumbling block. It's arguably one of Mendelsohn's biggest cinema roles to date, having rose to prominence starring in Australian movies.
His stand-out performance in Animal Kingdom (2010) helped Krennic move into the American market, including appearances in The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Mississippi Grind (2015) and Slow West (2015).
4. Donnie Yen
Character in Rogue One: Chirrut Îmwe
Latest Appearance: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny (2016)
Considered one of Hong Kong's biggest action stars, Yen is a highly skilled martial artist and Wushu world champion. Although he has appeared in American productions, including the Rogue One cast, the bulk of his work has been in the East, including the critically acclaimed Ip Man (2010).
5. Riz Ahmed
Character in Rogue One: Bodhi Rook
Latest Appearance: Jason Bourne (2016)
British actor Riz has an eclectic résumé; as well as acting in a range of roles, he also has a successful rapping career, releasing tracks under the name Riz MC. His acting roles have been varied, including comedy quips in Four Lions (2010), starring opposite Jake Gyllenhal in Nightcrawler (2014) and delving into action with this year's Jason Bourne (2016).
6. Mads Mikkelsen
Character in Rogue One: Galen Erso
Latest Appearance: Men and Chicken (2015)
One of Denmark's most recognizable exports, Mikkelsen started his career as a gymnast and dancer, before turning to acting. He made his name in his home nation starring as Tonny in Nicolas Winding Refn's film trilogy, Pusher.
Since then, he's appeared as Bond villain Le Chiffre in Casino Royale (2006), played the leading role in TV series Hannibal and will feature in the upcoming Marvel movie, Doctor Strange.
7. Alan Tudyk
Character in Rogue One: K-2SO
Latest Appearance: Zootopia (2016)
Crafting a career from mainly voice acting villains, Tudyk has voiced many well known animations. He's starred in a number of Disney movies, including Frozen (2013), Big Hero 6 (2014) and Zootopia. He joins the Rogue One cast with the task of animating the reprogrammed droid, K-2SO.
He's also performed in live-action, including films such as DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story (2004) and the acclaimed Canadian horror-comedy, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2010).
8. Jiang Wen
Character in Rogue One: Baze Malbus
Latest Appearance: Gone with the Bullets (2014)
Like Yen, Jiang Wen is also a big name in the East, responsible for acting and directing a number of well-known Chinese movies. Some of his key roles include Devils on the Doorstep (2000), The Sun Also Rises (2007) and Let the Bullets Fly (2010). He also directed the American movie, New York, I Love You (2008).
9. Forest Whitaker
Character in Rogue One: Saw Gerrera
Latest Appearance: Southpaw (2015)
An familiar face in Hollywood, Whitaker has had a distinguished career spanning three decades. Noted for highly meticulous character work, his role of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin for Last King of Scotland (2006) won him an Oscar for Best Actor.
His ability to play conflicted troubled and complicated characters will translate well to the role of Clone Wars veteran, Gerrera. The impact and Gerrera's relationship to the rest of the group is currently unclear, but undoubtably Forest will own the role.
10. James Earl Jones
Character in Rogue One: Darth Vader
Latest Appearance: Driving Miss Daisy (2014)
With a career spanning over 60 years, Jones is one of the film industry's most esteemed actors, and the most experienced of the Rogue One cast. As well as an Oscar nomination for The Great White Hope (1970), Jones is best known for voicing Darth Vader in the Star Wars franchise and for voicing Mustafa in The Lion King (1994).
Other actors appearing in the movie include:
- Jonathan Aris as Senator Jebel
- Genevieve O'Reilly as Mon Mothma
- Jimmy Smits as Bail Organa
- Alistair Petrie, Eunice Olumide and Warwick Davis in unspecified roles.
Who are you most excited about seeing in Rogue One?