Star Wars takes over Hollywood as ‘Rogue One’ launches

A large part of Hollywood Boulevard was taken over by the world premiere of ‘Rogue One’ – the first spin-off in the hugely successful science fiction series Star Wars.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES (DECEMBER 10, 2016) (REUTERS) – The wait is finally over for Star Wars fans as the first of its spin-offs, “Rogue One”, had its world premiere in an area which covered two blocks of Hollywood Boulevard on Saturday (December 10).

The film, directed by Gareth Edwards, is the story contained within the opening text crawl of the original Star Wars ‘A New Hope’ and follows the members of The Rebel Alliance who managed to steal the plans of The Empire’s planet-destroying Death Star.

While three trailers and toy figures have already been released, Edwards says that all of the film’s secrets have not been revealed.

“I think the marketing department has done an amazing job but thankfully they haven’t played our best hand and so I’m excited tonight because I think the best is yet to come. I know people have seen a lot of stuff but we’ve kept some surprises for everyone,” he said.

Felicity Jones plays Jyn Erso, the daughter of the man who designed the Death Star and who gets corralled by The Rebels to build a team and steal the plans. The role is far away from other roles that the British actress has done and she feels people may change their perception of her.

“I had to be in the gym for far too long which I have to say is not enjoyable but for the sake of Star Wars I was prepared to do it but I love that side of it, a bit like a tomboy. I just threw myself into it. Literally there were moments where I was thrown on the ground doing a stunt and that kind of thing and it’s just good fun and it’s a nice change from other work that I’ve done before but mostly there’s a lot of pleasure going on even though it looks painful on the outside,” she said.

Mexican actor Diego Luna plays her staunch ally Cassian Andor and expressed worry about launching the film.

“I thought too many nights about what was going to happen tonight. I had nightmares,” he said. “I had other moments where I went ‘This is it, it’s going to be great!’. I just want to live it with my kids and enjoy it and become a fan again and be back in the audience and share ‘Rogue One’ with the world. It feels like a special night. I feel a lot of love tonight so I feel it’s going to go well.”

In recent days, a hashtag has appeared on Twitter #dumpStarWars, a tag used by Trump supporters who are against the film because of tweets written (and subsequently deleted) by screenplay writer Chris Weitz.

British actor Riz Ahmed, who plays Bodhi Rook, although unaware of the on-line campaign, reacted by saying “At a time where the world feels so divided, a movie like ‘Star Wars’ has the potential to bring people all around the world together. No matter what country you’re from, no matter who you voted for, no matter what your situation is, your sexual orientation, your gender. This is truly a story that brings the world together so I think we should celebrate that and embrace that.”

The new cast of the Star Wars spin-off were joined by Anthony Daniels and Peter Mayhew, who played C-3PO and Chewbacca respectively. For Alan Tudyk, who plays new droid K-2SO, it was an honor to meet the original droid in the series.

“That he was able to create such a full character as C-3PO just blows me away especially after going through the process of creating a droid. I’m just beside myself that I got to just chat,” he said.

Chinese star Donnie Yen takes on the role of the blind Chirrut Imwe, although it took his children and friends to persuade him to do it.

“All my friends and everybody came out and said ‘We’re so excited for you. You’re the first Chinese actor that’s going to be in the Star Wars universe’ and everything just dawned on me. I said, you know what? That’s right. This is history making here so I’m so glad that I’m standing here in front of the camera,” he said at the premiere.

Other celebrities who turned out to watch the first official screening of the film included singer Ricky Martin, Moby and actor Michael Douglas.

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” goes on release on December 16 in the US.