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Jyn Erso

The Star Wars saga, to date, has spent a lot of time on the Skywalker family. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) started the journey as an orphan wondering who his real father was. The prequels delved into the earlier days of Luke's father, who'd cast a VERY long shadow over the series, as a whole. And in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we met Rey (Daisy Ridley), another orphan -- left on Jakku, perhaps for safety -- who knows all about waiting for her family. Well, Jyn Erso has no interest in this.

Jyn Erso is the leading lady of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and she is played by Oscar nominee Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything). We learned an awful lot about Rogue One today, from the origin of the droid K-2SO (Alan Tudyk) to the names of the planets where the Stormtroopers bathe in the sun. Really. But when Jones was describing Jyn, and what sets her apart from previous Star Wars heroes, the actress summarized:

She's not a character who's asking, 'Who am I, and where have I come from?' We know that about her. We know where she comes from. And that fact is what propels the story, and it's the beginning of Jyn's journey to find out what her reason is, and her cause.

Gwendoline Christie, the moderator of the Rogue One panel who also played Captain Phasma in The Force Awakens, added that Jyn Erso has had a very full life before we even meet her in Rogue One. That alone instantly sets her apart from Rey. At the start of the first trailer, the Rebel leaders are listing all of the things Jyn has done... wrong? Maybe it's "right," since she has been rebelling against the Empire basically since Day One. She's a hero. She's a rebel. She's a rogue.

One of the criticisms hurled at Star Wars: The Force Awakens was that JJ Abrams was only rehashing a lot of what we loved about the Original Trilogy. Which was fine, for most of us. But everything that we have learned about Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is that director Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) wasn't content to just redo what George Lucas had done. He wanted to move the story forward, to push the envelope, and to bring something new to the table. If that meant reinventing the traditional Star Wars hero, so be it.

At Celebration, Edwards showed a blistering sizzle reel of Rogue One footage. Did you see it yet? Watch it on the next page. It's incredible.

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