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Felicity Jones Talks Jyn Erso’s Motivations in Rogue One

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The new official trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was released in the midst of the Olympics on Thursday night, and everybody was counting down for the reveal. Since its posting online, it’s accumulated over 14 million views, and it’s no wonder–the trailer delves deeper into all of these characters and their motivations, and also hints at the kinds of relationship dynamics we may have to look forward to.

For example: Jyn Erso, played by Felicity Jones, definitely isn’t your typical movie heroine. When the first trailer was released, a voiceover listing off Jyn’s various offenses was the preface to watching her go in and kick some Imperial butt. The impression we get is that she’s definitely a supporter of the Rebel Alliance, albeit a reluctant one–and maybe she’s also helping out to avoid some legal repercussions? Either way, she’s not one to be underestimated.

Jones recently spoke to Entertainment Weekly about the character of Jyn Erso and teased a little info about her inner motivations:

She is absolutely a very unlikely heroine. She’s someone on the edges and fringes of society. Physically, she’s smaller than everyone else around her, but… when someone has something they believe in, that’s what powers them, that’s what motivates them, that’s what can give someone enormous strength.

Similarly, director Gareth Edwards said he cast Jones in the role because of her ability to play both the physical and the emotional sides of the character. For Jyn, Edwards didn’t want her to be “so kick-ass and shields-up that the audience couldn’t empathize with her. There were a lot of people who could learn how to fight and beat people up and do the physical side of it. For me, the most interesting thing is when there’s a crack in the armor, when you can glimpse the vulnerability in someone.”

Originally it also looked as if Jyn and Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly, reprising her role from Revenge of the Sith) might have a contentious relationship too, based on their brief interactions in the trailer–but Jones confirmed that Mon Mothma is a woman Jyn looks up to and respects. So hooray for more female mentorships on screen! (Speaking of respect: am I the only one who noticed Diego Luna’s Cassian making eyes at Jyn? I don’t think I’m imagining things.)

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