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With each new casting announcement for Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One, I almost want to just skip over The Force Awakens and go directly to this one-off spin-off. Variety now reports that the great Mexican actor Diego Luna, known for Y Tu Mama Tambien, Milk and Elysium as well as for directing the 2014 SXSW audience award winner Cesar Chavez, has joined the ensemble as one of the main rebels on a mission to steal the Death Star plans.
That aligns Luna’s character with primary lead Felicity Jones and Riz Ahmed, both of them also exceptional performers, plus more to be revealed later. Variety also clarifies that the still-unconfirmed Ben Mendelsohn will be found on the other side, playing the movie’s main villain. I’m curious to hear more about what sort of baddie this installment will have, because heist movies don’t always need one.
I’m also curious to see what direction Rogue One goes for the rest of the casting. Currently it’s looking like director Gareth Edwards and his higher-ups are aiming for an internationally diverse cast, and that’s great but I also want some less-handsome character actors in the bunch. Of course, this is a Star Wars movie, so aliens and robots tend to fill-in for where distinct character actors would appear in a classic Dirty Dozen type movie.
The two ways to go with ensemble-based tentpoles nowadays include the ethnically diverse route of the Fast and the Furious franchise, which is partly so popular because American audience do want that kind of diversity in casts. But its actors are all also mainly variations of the same good-looking and physically fit type. The other way in the wake of the success of Guardians of the Galaxy is to go even more diverse to the point of weird, especially for sci-fi.
Rogue One, and Star Wars in general, doesn’t need to copy Guardians (which itself was clearly influenced by Star Wars and find characters as odd as a talking raccoon and a tree-like creature that can only say its own name. Still, I anticipate that we are going to see some more interesting rebels in the bunch alongside the very talented actors we’ve heard about so far. Stay tuned for more as we get closer to the movie’s summer shoot.
Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One hits theaters on December 16, 2016.