We audiences first meet Felicity Jones' Jyn Erso as an adult in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, she isn't exactly the friendliest person around. More than just extremely independent, she really trusts nobody other than herself, and will happily kick the ass of anyone who even tries to get close. It's a rough edge that is sanded down throughout the course of the film, but there is a very clear explanation as to why she is who she is -- and it all ties back into the 15 years she spent as a child on the run from the Empire.
Jyn Erso's mysterious past was a topic of discussion when I had the wonderful opportunity to sit down with Felicity Jones at the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story press day held in San Francisco earlier this month. Noting that the movie opens with Jyn as a child and then flashes forward to her as an adult, I asked the actress how she went about filling the gaps of her character's past -- and she not only explained how she went about it herself, but also how it wound up totally informing her entire performance. Said Jones,
Those 15 years are really, really important, and as you say, it's a bit of a gap in her backstory. So I kind of went away and filled it in myself! It was just this idea that this woman has survived on her own, that she's pretty street-wise, she's learned how to defend herself. But in so doing she's built a little bit of a shell around her -- a really hard, tough shell. Even in the way she walked I wanted to have a sense that she's kind of like a tortoise or something! She's carrying a lot of baggage, a lot of metaphorical baggage. And then what you see throughout the film is someone learning to trust other people and finding kindred spirits in a group of people who have different languages, different races. But that is not important -- they are united in a common humanity.
Without getting to far into spoilers, it's worth noting that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story does touch on some details of Jyn Erso's upbringing -- but fans also shouldn't expect long flashback sequences that explain every little thing that happened to her. Instead, the story of those 15 years is really only touched upon through Jyn's hardened personality, and conversations during a particular reunion. All that said, it wouldn't be surprising in the slightest if in the next few years we get either a book or a comic that tells the full story of Jyn's past.
You can watch Felicity Jones talk about Jyn Erso's crazy-heavy emotional baggage by pressing play on the video below!
For now, Jyn Erso remains mostly a mystery to even the most hardcore Star Wars fans, but that period of time will soon come to an end. We are now just two days away from the release of Rogue One, which will be arriving in theaters worldwide this Friday, December 16th. Be sure to read my spoiler-free review to get yourself amped for the blockbuster, and stay tuned for a whole lot more interviews, features, and editorials about the film here on Cinema Blend!