Star Wars spinoff chan­nels new force

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - LIFE - By REUTERS in San Fran­cisco

You don’t have to be a Star Wars su­per­fan to see the first spinoff movie Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, says direc­tor Gareth Ed­wards, but he’s hop­ing the film will light a pas­sion for the fran­chise in any new­com­ers.

The first of three planned Dis­ney Star Wars spinoff films, Rogue One is in­tended as a stand-alone movie, although it is set be­fore the orig­i­nal 1977 film A New Hope.

An­tic­i­pa­tion is high with tick­ets sell­ing fast ahead of the Dec 14 world roll­out, and box of­fice an­a­lysts are pre­dict­ing that Rogue One will take in some $130 mil­lion at North Amer­i­can movie the­aters on its open­ing week­end.

Rogue One doesn’t start with the sig­na­ture Star Wars theme mu­sic or the screen crawl of story in­for­ma­tion that opened the pre­vi­ous seven films in the fran­chise.

“You don’t have to have seen Star Wars to come and see this film,” Ed­wards says.

“My goal would be, if we do our jobs prop­erly, that by the time the film ends, the first thing you want to do is watch A New Hope and see the rest if you haven’t seen it be­fore.”

Se­crecy has been tight around plot de­tails, but Rogue One will fol­low a group of rebels led by Jyn Erso (Felic­ity Jones) who em­bark on a mis­sion to steal the plans for the Galac­tic Em­pire’s new su­per weapon, the Death Star.

Not only is a fe­male char­ac­ter front and cen­ter of the ac­tion, but the film has one of the most di­verse casts yet for a big-bud­get Hol­ly­wood movie, in­clud­ing Mex­ico’s Diego Luna and Chi­nese ac­tors Jiang Wen and Don­nie Yen.

Ed­wards says the di­ver­sity came di­rectly from the plot.

“In our story, the re­bel­lion is frac­tured and it’s be­fore A New Hope ... There’s all these other groups from all over the gal­axy that are not re­ally get­ting along and func­tion­ing prop­erly.

“So we needed to vis­ually rep­re­sent that with dif­fer­ent eth­nic­ity and all sorts, so it was just a re­ally good op­por­tu­nity and the sec­ond you do that you also go: ‘OK, now we can cast any­one in the en­tire world’, so it’s amaz­ing,” Ed­wards says.

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