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With Star Wars: Rogue One set for release in December of 2016, there's a lot they need to get done, and not a lot of time to do it. The film keeps taking steps forward, however, as they’ve just cast another role. Popular Chinese actor Jiang Wen is reportedly on board the first standalone film.
Yahoo News reports that Wen has signed on to appear in the film. While there’s no information about what role he will play, Yahoo does use the word "star," which implies Wen may be the male lead in the film. We’d heard some other names, including Riz Ahmed, as a potential name for the male lead a few months ago, but more recently we heard that director Gareth Edwards was looking at Chinese actors for Rogue One, and now it looks like that info was true. Still, we don’t know how many "leads" the film will actually have, so Wen could just be one of many important characters, assuming this is true.
The report of Wen joining Rogue One follows the news that Hong Kong action star Donnie Yen is also being looked at for a role in Episode VIII. Hollywood has been looking to China for actors a lot recently as they also look to that region for financial success. The importance of that particular market in the global movie scene can not be understated. A film being a success in China is at least as important, if not more so, than success in the U.S. Wen is a triple threat in China, as an actor, screenwriter, and director, so he’s known to Chinese audiences while being relatively unknown in America.
What we do know about Rogue One is that the film focuses on the theft of the original Death Star plans and stars Felicity Jones. We don’t even anything about the character she’s playing, though we’ve heard some interesting rumors. While we’ve heard several actors names come up attached to the film, little has been confirmed. With the film looking to be a science fiction heist movie, a large main cast could be very likely if they’re going for an Ocean’s 11 in space vibe, so all the names we’ve heard could all end up being true.
It looks like filming may have already begun, which would make sense considering the large amount of post-production work that will likely be needed, and a release date just 16 months away. Still, a movie that close should mean that the first trailers are also close. Once we get to see some of these actors on screen we should have a much clearer idea of what Rogue One is all about.