Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is taking moviegoers back to when the Rebels were still battling the Empire in a galaxy far, far away, but a new villain will be leading the charge in this story. Although it was confirmed earlier today that Darth Vader will have a presence in the movie, it's Ben Mendelsohn's character, officially named Director Orson Krennic, who will be the main antagonist. Just like every Imperial officer, Krennic is fulfilling the wishes of Emperor Palpatine, but now the specifics of the military director's plan have been unveiled.
As part of their massive Rogue One coverage today, EW revealed that Orson Krennic is an "ambitious Imperial apparatchik" who is using his Deathtroopers to destroy the Rebel forces and make a good impression for the Emperor, all while making sure not to anger Darth Vader. According to visual effects supervisor and story contributor John Knoll:
The bad guy is a lot more terrifying when he's really smart, and really effective. There is a lot of palace intrigue going on in the Empire, with people conspiring to move up the ranks and sabotaging each other. There's not a lot of loyalty there.
Although Ben Mendelsohn's Orson Krennic and his Deathtrooper squad were seen in the Rogue One teaser trailer, the preview didn't offer much in the way of what they're trying to do shortly before the events of A New Hope kick off...other than killing Rebel scum, of course. Thanks to this new information, we now know he's taking advantage of recent Rebel activity to make a name for himself, and he won't let anyone, whether they're an enemy Rebel or fellow Imperial, stop him from an ascending to an even higher rank. His scheming mind and white uniform bear similarity to Grand Admiral Thrawn from the Expanded Universe.
Even before all these details came out, it was clear that Ben Mendelssohn's character will command a powerful presence in Rogue One. You have to be a pretty confident officer to not only wear a cape, but also have no problem getting it wet while you stroll through a nearby body of water. In a franchise where there most of the bad guys have been Force users or wielding special weaponry, throwing another mastermind into the mix. However, since Rogue One is one of the self-contained spinoff movies, that may indicate that Orson Krennic won't make it out of the movie alive. Whether he meets his end from a Rebel blaster, is Force choked by Darth Vader or manages to go underground, we'll have to wait and see, but as far as Rogue One is concerned, Jyn Erso and the rest of her allies will need to watch out for Orson Krennic and his troops.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will be released in theaters on Friday, December 16.