Yesterday, Lucasfilm posted a new featurette for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The first half of the video was a feel-good account of what it was like for the cast and crew to work on the newest Star Wars movie, while the latter part clarified to general moviegoers where this tale rests on the Star Wars timeline. What wasn't immediately revealed was that the video contained one of Rogue One's key Rebellion figures, someone who was based on British prime minister Winston Churchill.
Rogue One will feature many of the Rebel Alliance's top leader in a time when they were the scrappy underdogs, That includes Admiral Raddus, the member of the Mon Calamari species standing next to Diego Luna in the shot below.
Neal Scanlan, the creature effects supervisor for the Star Wars franchise, explained to EW that just like with many of the other Star Wars creatures, the Rogue One crew tried to find real life inspiration for Admiral Raddus, and in this case, Churchill was the best candidate for the job. Scanlan explained:
We always tried to find a real world example of who these creatures may be, and in this case we used Churchill. Admiral Raddus is a very strong figure. We would use [Churchill] not only as visual reference for his physical features, but also when it came to performing him and expressing him through the actor.
Even though it's unclear how prominently Admiral Raddus will be featured in Rogue One, or if he even was kept in for the theatrical cut, it's cool to learn about how much time and effort went into making him feel like a fully fleshed out character. Can we expect him to be just as gruff as the man who led the U.K. during World War II? Provided Raddus receives at least one line of dialogue, that would make him the second most famous Mon Calamari to Star Wars fans, following behind Admiral Ackbar, who's most famous for declaring "It's a trap!" during Return of the Jedi, and who briefly appeared in The Force Awakens.
Neal Scanlan also mentioned that some of the other celebrities and historical figures Rogue One used as models for its creatures included Bela Lugosi, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ernest Borgnine, Lee Van Cleef and Peter Lorre. Even though most of these aliens will just be hanging out in the background, it was important they had "grounding" so it felt like they belonged in the "real world."
Taking place shortly before A New Hope begins, Rogue One will follow a group of Rebel operatives who have ben tasked with stealing the plans to the Death Star. The main cast includes Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso, Diego Luna as Cassian Andor, Donnie Yen as Chirrut Îmwe, Mads Mikkelsen as Galen Erso, Jiang Wen as Baze Malbus, Riz Ahmed as Bodhi Rook, Ben Mendelsohn as Orson Krennic, Alan Tudyk as K-2SO and Forest Whitaker as Saw Gerrera.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will be released on December 16.