Forest Whitaker Is Joining The Star Wars Universe

Forest Whitaker remains one of the busiest character actors in all of Hollywood. Now he’s looking to take his talents to a galaxy far, far away.

Variety reports that Forest Whitaker is in negotiations to join the first Star Wars anthology picture, Rogue One, directed by Gareth Edwards (Godzilla). The trade has no details on who Whitaker would play in the ensemble action-adventurer, and they note that Disney and Lucasfilm had no comment on the casting.

So what do we know about Rogue One so far? Quite a lot, actually. Set during the years between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, this is being described as a darker and grittier take on the Star Wars universe. It’s also being described as a heist movie, with a rebellious group of fighters and X-Wing pilots banding together to steal the plans to the Death Star, which will lead to the Rebel Alliance being able to infiltrate and destroy it during A New Hope. So it’s a prequel, and a sequel, and also it’s own standalone movie.

Rogue One has drawn comparisons to The Dirty Dozen, which is why it’s casting a wide net in terms of its actors. Felicity Jones has been cast as the female lead in the movie, and she is being joined (so far) by Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, and Riz Ahmed. So far, we are hearing that these actors will place a mix of rebel soldiers and pilots. No confirmation on where Whitaker would fit in.

Remember when I mentioned how busy Whitaker can be? Prior to filming on Rogue One, Variety reports that he’s looking to snag a role in the reboot of The Crow before heading to Star Wars. At the moment, Whitaker is filming The Story of Your Life with Amy Adams for director Denis Villeneuve. If negotiations work out, he’d move from that to The Crow, then shuffle on to Star Wars: Rogue One.

Whitaker remains in demand. He’s a producer on the hit Sundance coming-of-age comedy Dope, which hits theaters on June 19. And he’ll next been seen in Antoine Fuqua’s boxing drama Southpaw, opposite Jake Gyllenhaal. Obviously, adding Whitaker to almost any project helps make it more interesting (unless it’s a sequel to Taken), and the idea of him lending gravitas to a Star Wars sequel has us intrigued. I wish I knew who he might be playing, but there will be time enough for that before the movie opens in theaters on December 16, 2016.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.