Yesterday, tickets went on sale for LucasFilm’s highly-anticipated Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, with movie ticketing websites such as Fandango crashing due to the movie’s overwhelming pre-sale ticket demand. Some box office analysts are predicting the movie will earn $130 million when it hits theaters next month, and even though this is easily one of the most highly-anticipated movies of the year, there are still some fans who aren’t too pleased with the casting of a woman in a lead role, such as Felicity Jones’ Jyn Erso. If you’re still upset about having a woman at the front and center of a Star Wars movie, then you may be in for a rude awakening, as long as LucasFilm president Kathleen Kennedy is still around.
When Star Wars: The Force Awakens was in production, there were also a number of vocal fans speaking out against the casting of young African-American star John Boyega as Finn, so those who have been following the franchise shouldn’t be too surprised that some are still criticizing the casting of African-Americans and women in primary roles. Buried within a lengthy profile of Felicity Jones, The New York Times asked LucasFilm president Kathleen Kennedy about the controversy that swirled around the casting of Rogue One and the all-female Ghostbusters reboot. Here’s what she had to say below.
“I have a responsibility to the company that I work with. I don’t feel that I have a responsibility to cater in some way. I would never just seize on saying, ‘Well, this is a franchise that’s appealed primarily to men for many, many years, and therefore I owe men something.'”
Felicity Jones herself added that they wanted the audience to relate to her character Jyn Erso, “as a person, whether you’re a boy or a girl, a man or a woman.” This story is set between the events of Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, with director Gareth Edwards teasing that his story turns the original classic on its ear, in more ways than one. Here’s what he had to say below, while revealing why he cast Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso
“A New Hope is the story of a boy who grows up in a tranquil home and dreams of joining a war. What if we have the story of a girl who grows up in a war and dreams of returning to the tranquillity of home? (I wasn’t looking for) an action star in the classic sense – the clichéd expectation of a soldier or a rebel. You can teach anyone to fight, with enough stunt training. But you can’t teach someone to have that soul in their eyes. Whenever you point the camera at Felicity, there’s just so much going on inside.”
Felicity Jones’ Jyn Erso leads a team of Rebels in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, who are trying to retrieve the plans for the original Death Star. She leads a diverse international cast that also includes Diego Luna as Captain Cassian Andor, Riz Ahmed as Bodhi Rook, Alan Tudyk as the droid K-2S0, Forest Whitaker as Saw Gerrera, Donnie Yen as Chirrut Imwe, Wen Jiang as Baze Malbus, Mads Mikkelsen as Galen Erso and Ben Mendelsohn as Director Orson Krennic. With just a few weeks left until Rogue One hits theaters, we’ll keep you posted with more on this big-screen adventure.