Having already worked for the evil empire that is television news, Variety is reporting that Nightcrawler co-star Riz Ahmed is being recruited to join the Rebel Alliance in Gareth Edwards’ Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One.
Ahmed will be joining the already-cast Felicity Jones and Ben Mendelsohn, who has been tapped to play the film’s big bad. The exact details of Ahmed’s role remain unknown, but we do know that he will not be a Jedi. (Generally, all (surviving) Jedi are Rebels, but not all Rebels are Jedi.) Rogue One will reportedly be the first Star Wars film to concentrate on the actual war against the Empire, not the Jedi or the dysfunctional Skywalker clan. At last week’s Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy announced that Rogue One will be a heist film revolving around a group of Rebel soldiers and their mission to steal the Death Star plans, and, in turn, set into motion the events of A New Hope.
According to Variety, Ahmed was among a group of young actors that have been meeting with Godzilla director Edwards to prep for the role, and that Ahmed’s chemistry test with Jones is what separated him from the pack. (It’s rumored that their onscreen chemistry may even rival that of Natalie Portman and the green screen in Attack Of The Clones). Ahmed also represents part of a larger movement in Star Wars casting that suggests that there are more than white men in the vast galaxy of walrus people, space werewolves, and Ugnaughts.
Rogue One is set to start shooting this year, and is slated for a December 2016 release.