Star Wars has had a huge culture of secrecy, even dating back to the original trilogy. This is understandable, considering how beloved the franchise is, and it's only become a hotter topic since Disney and Lucasfilm announced The Force Awakens. Even after Star Wars Episode VII was released, publications hesitated to title their articles with details about Han Solo's death, for fear of spoiling the film's big emotional climax. Thankfully, the major twists in The Force Awakens were kept under wraps, but when it comes to Rogue One, weren't so lucky.
Warning: huge, screaming, plot-twist-revealing spoilers ahead. Proceed with caution.
Today is the first, and possibly biggest day of Star Wars Celebration, a convention held by Lucasfilm in London. Last year, Celebration granted us the first trailer for The Force Awakens, and this year it was Rogue One's turn. Described by Kathleen Kennedy as an "incredibly immersive" war film, Rogue One could be the most interesting addition to the Star Wars filmography yet, if the sizzle reel was anything to go by. Unfortunately though, the emotional climax of the film may have already been spoiled.
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The Rogue One panel was fascinating — hosted by Gwendoline Christie (yes, the chrome-suited villain Captain Phasma herself), the panel featured every leading actor from the film, and each of them gave some insight on their characters. Which was all well and good — tantalisingly teasing, but not too detailed — until Jiang Wen's turn came.
Wen began his answer by talking cryptically about the gun his character (Baze Malbus) carries, riffing off Gareth Edwards and asking if that was OK to talk about. This naturally elicited a few chuckles from the audience. Wen then went more in depth, talking about his character arc, and Baze's relationship with Donnie Yen's character, Chirrut Imwe.
"He and me was a partner and he believe of course, believe in Force. But my character don’t believe Force at that time. But I pretend all of them, not them, just them, to do very, very big mission. I cannot say that. And when this guy dead, I do something better. Maybe I believe, by my action, he’s thinker, I’m doer."
Christie quickly cut Wen off at this point, but the proverbial cat was already out of the bag and racing through the internet as fans live-tweeted the slip-up.
It's hard to imagine that Wen's comment was just a craftily placed red herring, considering the atmosphere in the room after his revelation — Gwendoline Christie quickly changed the subject, but one look at (Lucasfilm president) Kathleen Kennedy's frozen expression and tightly gritted teeth was enough to tell us that this little spoiler was not a planned part of the show.
The fact that there is at least one major character death in Rogue One is very intriguing, as the anthology movie seems set to be a fresh and innovative addition to the franchise, one which shows us the brutal side of the Star War we know so well.
Whether he will meet a bitter end or not, clearly Chirrut Imwe is going to be a hugely important character in the film. He definitely stood out in the trailer, as the blind warrior who fights fantastically, but isn't a Jedi. From what we know already, it seems that Chirrut's belief in the Force will drive the group, as they embark on their dangerous mission.
Even if we already know how Chirrut's story will end, that won't lessen the impact of his journey, or the importance of his character. Of course, Wen's comments shed some light on his own character, whose role in the film seems to be a lot more prominent than any of us expected. Besides the obvious, the one part of Wen's statement that has me interested is how he said Baze is just "pretending" to believe in the Force, and the mission itself.
And as for that death spoiler, well, at least Wen didn't reveal who Rey's parents are.