'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' spoilers, news: Prequel taps actress Valene Kane to play Jyn Erso's mom


Roughly three months before the “Star Wars” franchise debuts its very first standalone film in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” a couple of information leaks from the film have made its way online.

Arguably, Lucasfilm is not as cagey with the prequel flick compared to last year’s “Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens” which was shrouded in mystery up until its official air date. One can argue that part of the secrecy in the episodic film is because J.J. Abrams who helmed it is notorious in keeping things tightly under wraps; and despite the lack of plot-generous marketing, it harbored enough interest for fans to flock to the cinemas. This time, the movie studio appears to take a more aggressive approach for the film given its different timeline and boots on the ground tone.

The latest from the news pool is confirmation that Felicity Jones’ heroine Jyn Erso will have her mother, Lyra, also appearing in the film. This was confirmed by actress Valene Kane, who will take on the role, while talking to Belfast Live.

Going back to the Erso’s history, a “Rogue One” prequel novel titled “Catalyst” by James Luceno details how patriarch Mads Mikkelsen’s Galen and his family ended up in the mercy of the Empire. Based on the synopsis floating online, it appears that due to his technological knowledge, Galen was caught in the battle between the Republic and Separatists until Orson Krennic, played by Ben Mendelsohn, harbored him, his wife and daughter and gave them protection in exchange for working on some project. Little did the scientist know that his wits were being utilized to create a weapon of mass destruction known as the Death Star. By the time he figured things out, he devised a plan to run away with his family in tow.

Obviously, with the lore that “Rogue One” has, Galen’s ploy did not fully succeed as it is insinuated that he is still under the Empire’s crutches. Despite Jyn being able to save herself, there has been no word of Lyra which leads to the assumption that she might have died in the process of escaping.

Piecing the novel with the events that will come afterward, courtesy of the movie, it seems like Lyra will be featured in flashbacks as Kane is technically younger than Jones. The “Star Wars” series has yet to really incorporate flashbacks in its eight films, including “Clone Wars.” Instead, visions have taken its place as an alternative means of storytelling. While incorporating glimpses of the past, chances are that the flick will be kicking things off with a young Jyn seeing her mother die followed by a flash-forward to the movie’s actual time frame. This will not only justify Jyn’s angst-ridden personality but it also effectively establishes her history.

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” follows a small group of rebels trying to get a hold of the plans for the first Death Star. The standalone film directed by Gareth Edwards blasts through cinemas on Dec. 16.