'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' spoilers: Donnie Yen talks about nabbing role of spiritual warrior, Chirrut Imwe


This year, the long established “Star Wars” franchise in taking a step toward a new direction with the release of the first ever anthology film, “Rogue One: A Stars Wars Story.” Much has been talked about with regard to the lore of the Gareth Edwards film, specifically how its dark and gritty tone will differ from past films and the new set of heroes that fans will later on love. Given the uniqueness of the film, which is evident just looking at the surface, it also expands the universe of the series beyond the Skywalkers via the introduction of more boots on the ground type of characters.

There is no Force-user in the film, at least no one has been seen prominently using it similar to how the Jedis did in the first two trilogies as well as last year’s “Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens.” But “Rogue One” is not exactly devoid of the mythological concept introduced by the George Lucas story.

From the moment fans were given their first look at Donnie Yen’s Chirrut mwe, the first thing that he talked about was the Force which could have insinuated that he is a lone, underground Jedi. After all, he imbibes that Zen vibe that both Obi-Wan (Alec Guinness/Ewan McGregor) and Master Yoda (Frank Oz) encapsulated. However, the character is not a Jedi; instead, he is dubbed as a spiritual warrior who strictly practices the Jedi principles.

“Truthfully, I didn’t want to spend five months apart from my family, filming in London,” Yen admitted in an interview with JetSet magazine, referring to being cast in the big-budget film. But then, he mentioned the prospect to his three children. “I asked them ‘how do you feel about daddy doing Star Wars?’ and they flipped out.”

Truly, not many can say that they passed on the opportunity to be a part of pop culture’s biggest community. But Yen, being a veteran actor most notably known for his “Ip Man” series, is more careful with the projects he takes on.

“When you hire me, you’re not just getting an actor; you are getting a choreographer, a director,” he said, which apparently worked well with Edwards as it was Yen’s idea to make Chirrut blind.

The character’s physical disability actually makes him more interesting. In no way has he been slacking on his role within Jyn Erso’s (Felicity Jones) group. Multiple times in the trailers, fans see him kicking Imperial people, firing a bow similar to that of Chewbacca’s, and using his staff against Stormtroopers.

“Rogue One” is a type of film that does not rely on the ending. Everyone who watched the original “Star Wars” trilogy knows where the events of this movie lead to. What it is more interesting is the story of the people involved that paved the way for the eventual destruction of the Death Star and it is safe to say that Chirrut is a pivotal character in that narrative.

Catch Chirrut and the rest of the Rebellion in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” blasting through cinemas on Dec. 16.