After months of waiting, we finally have some official details about the Rogue One characters and plot, courtesy of Entertainment Weekly. In traditional EW style, there are tons of important hints buried in the character breakdowns, and we wouldn't be true fans if we didn't dissect every single nugget of info which seems salient. And at least one character history has interesting implications for Star Wars Episode 8, and the rest of the saga.
That character is one Chirrut Imwe, portrayed by Donnie Yen. Chirrut already had fans buzzing after the Rogue One trailer was released, thanks to his awesome fighting skills. Because he's blind, many fans assumed Chirrut was using the Force to guide his actions, but he's no Jedi.
The EW breakdown positions Chirrut as one of the most important characters in Rogue One, but it's not just his skills as a warrior that have us intrigued.
Honoring The Jedi Legacy
According to EW, Chirrut was inspired by the Jedi philosophy to incorporate parts of their spirituality into his own life. It seems as though he's not Force Sensitive, but has nonetheless incorporated Jedi martial arts into his fighting method. And he definitely believes in the Force, as Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy revealed:
"Chirrut falls into the category of being a warrior monk. He very much still believes in everything the Jedi were about."
This makes Chirrut a sort of negative image to Maz Kanata in The Force Awakens, who is Force Sensitive but chose not to follow the Jedi ways. Chirrut, however, is dedicated to the memory of the Jedi, and it's his devotion to them that is fascinating for the saga. Through his character, Rogue One will reveal what the galaxy was like without the Jedi, as director Gareth Edwards explained:
"This idea that magical beings are going to come and save us is going away, and it’s up to normal, everyday people to take a stand to stop evil from dominating the world."
This is a fascinating idea, leaving Rogue One to fill in the narrative gap between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. The picture Obi Wan Kenobi paints to Luke Skywalker is a bleak one — a galaxy without the Jedi is one without hope.
In Rogue One, we'll get to see what that means for normal people, and Chirrut will reveal how the legacy of the Jedi lives on even when the Jedi themselves did not. And all of this is the perfect build up for Star Wars Episode VIII.
The Jedi Return (Again)
It's easy to see how Rogue One sets up the original trilogy. After all, the action will flow right into A New Hope, as Jyn Erso's team steal the very plans to the Death Star that Princess Leia hides in R2-D2 at the beginning of the first movie (and fourth episode).
But in real world chronology, the next Star Wars film we have to look forward to is Star Wars 8, so Rogue One has to have some kind of narrative flow into that, too. And Donnie Yen's character is crucial for this.
In a similar way to A New Hope, The Force Awakens presented us with a galaxy bereft of a strong Jedi order. This was something of a surprise, especially for fans of the Expanded Universe (now non-canon of course), as we all assumed Luke Skywalker would begin a new Jedi order after Return of the Jedi. As Star Wars 7 progressed it was revealed that Luke did train new Jedi students, until Kylo Ren massacred them on the orders of Supreme Leader Snoke.
The final scene of The Force Awakens set up an interesting situation for Episode 8, as Rey passes the lightsaber on to Luke, and we assume she'll ask to be trained in the ways of the Jedi. There have been multiple rumors that Star Wars 8 will explore Jedi history, really delving into the nature and origins of the Force itself.
The best thing is: Rogue One — by showing us a galaxy without the Jedi and exploring how the Jedi teachings can be applied to normal people through Chirrut Imwe — will prepare us for the Jedi to finally return for good in Episode 8, as Luke Skywalker finally establishes a new order. And we can't wait.
Which are you more excited for: Rogue One or Episode VIII?
[Source: Entertainment Weekly]