The cast that Gareth Edwards has to work with on Rogue One is both diverse and intriguing, not to mention outstanding at what they do. I’m especially excited to see how they use Donnie Yen – if you haven’t seen Ip Man, it’s on Netflix, go watch it asap…if you don’t have Netflix yourself, I’m sure you know someone who does, or just put it out there on social media that you’re looking to watch a great Kung Fu movie and you’ll bring the popcorn…who knows, could turn into a date…anyway, perhaps an even more interesting reveal in the cast announcement was in this line: “Alan Tudyk, who plays a performance-capture character in Rogue One.” Ah ha! So it won’t be a band of human resistance fighters that unite for a daring mission to steal the Death Star plans, there will be at least one alien species…but which alien species will it be? I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’ll be a species we’ve seen or at least heard of *coughtBothancough* in a previous Star Wars movie, so, with that in mind, here are my top five choices, starting with the one I’d like to see the most and going down from there.
Chagrians have been one of my favorite alien species from the first moment I saw Mas Amedda in Episode I. It’s like they took Devaronians and Twi’leks, both of which I like, and mashed them together into one super-cool species…then, just for good measure, made them blue, which just happens to be my favorite color. Now, aside from looking badass, according to legends, “After the Emperor rose to power and it was clear that the Empire was a harsh and tyrannical regime, many Chagrians joined the Rebellion” (Lewis, Margaret Ann, Helen Keier. Star Wars The New Essential Guide to Alien Species. New York: Del Rey, 2006.) So there’s precedent there, albeit legends, that not all Chagrians were yes-men like Amedda…but you can see it, right? A gruff, crack-shot, Chagrian sniper with a bad attitude and a thirst for head-shotting bucketheads…he’d be a hell of an addition to any band of resistance fighters.
Sure, they seemed pretty primitive at the time of the Clone Wars, but if Muftak made it to Tatooine somehow then the Talz are at least hitching rides off-world so there’s no reason one couldn’t decide, based on things he’s seen the Empire do (perhaps enslaving his people being one of those things), he’d like to do whatever he could to fight back. Every group needs some muscle, and big, hairy muscle is a Star Wars staple. It would also be interesting to have a species with such a decidedly non-human face play a larger role in a film, but that begs the question of how much captured performance can you really use for a face like that? Then again, isn’t that exactly the kind of thing Lucasfilm and ILM do? A little Talz movie magic could be just what Rogue One needs.
Okay, two things really quickly: yes, I know “Many Bothans died to bring us this information” is for Death Star II information, and yes, I know we don’t actually know what Bothans look like as far as canon goes. Phew…anyway, I think it would be nice to put a cinematic stamp on a mysterious species that’s been a background part of Star Wars since the original trilogy. We can safely assume (I think so anyway) from Mon Mothma’s speech and mentions of the Bothan spynet that the species is rooted in espionage, so wouldn’t having a Bothan along for a mission to steal information be kind of a no-brainer? Hell, if their spynet is that good then they probably know what you’re doing anyway, so it’s not like you’d be blowing your cover by asking them for help…or maybe since they know what you’re attempting and how dangerous it is, they offer to help because the end game of a critical blow being dealt to the Empire is good for them as well. I only hope if the character does turn out to be a Bothan that they stick to the same general look the species has in legends…something canine-esque, or at least mammalian. If a character says, “oh, there’s our Bothan partner now,” and they pan to some kind of lizard creature, I’ll be sorely disappointed.
4) Gand/Kel Dor
This might be a cop-out, I’m not sure, but I couldn’t decide between the two and I didn’t really want to put two species that wear respirators on the list separately so instead of leaving one out they get to share the spotlight instead…and, since I make the rules, that’s fair…moving on…these are both badass-looking, bug-like species that I think anyone would love to have as a sidekick. The only issue might be that their respirators may make too much noise for a covert operation, though neither Zuckuss nor Plo Koon seemed to have the Vader effect on their breathing…could be a different story in otherwise silent conditions though…anyway, I would be equally happy with either of these two species getting some extra screen time on looks alone, whatever their backstory might be would be icing on the cake.
I mean just look at that face…it’s a face not even a mother could love, but I love it anyway…three eyes, horse mouth, weird antenna things…I feel like there’s a lot you can do with this species, and it’s definitely not human-looking, but I think you could still pull off some interesting motion capture work with it. This is definitely the most prolific species on the list, but there’s still no main-type Gran character to speak of…unless you count Mawhonic being featured in the pod race, which, by Star Wars character standards, is a lot of screen time, but I’d still like to see more of these unique creatures in our beloved universe.
There you have it, my 5 cents (get it?) on what species I’d like to see have a bigger part in the development of the Rebellion. If it’s not any of those, I’d take Cathar (oh yeah, keeping the links to KotOR coming), Gotal (there are a lot of cool species that begin with the letter “g”), or Bith (just to show they’re not all musicians) as honorable mentions…and then if it’s not any of those, well…I’ll probably still be happy because, what can I say, I’m a fanboy. So, which of my choices would you pick? Let me know in the poll on the side, and, while you’re thinking it over, may the Force be with you…