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Rogue One‘s New Villain is a Working Class Guy

The buzz surrounding Rogue One‘s villainous characters has understandably centered around Darth Vader, since he’s the guy we all recognize. But what about that other Imperial officer, played by Ben Mendelsohn? That’s Orson Krennic, a new character who heads up the Death Trooper squad. We got a brief introduction to him in the latest Rogue One trailer, embedded up top, and Rogue One director Gareth Edwards just shared some more details about the character with USA Today.

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Early on in the development of the character, Mendelsohn asked Edwards if he should adopt “a very posh English accent,” given the way that the Imperial officers have historically been played in previous Star Wars movies (Peter Cushing’s performance as Grand Moff Tarkin being the most notable example). Edwards cracked a joke about it: “It feels like if the Empire ever have a job vacancy, they go to the Royal Shakespeare Company to headhunt people.”

Gareth Edwards wanted to go in a different direction with Mendelsohn’s character, however: “I like the idea that Ben’s character was much more working-class.” Although the Imperial Military clearly has some biases (they’re inspired by the Nazis, after all), Orson Krennic still managed to rise to power “through sheer force of personality and ideas.”

Eventually, however, Krennic realizes that there are some biases he cannot overcome, and he “hits a brick wall in the hierarchy where they won’t let him in the club and it’s going to turn into a them-or-us situation: either Krennic or Tarkin and the others.” We already know from A New Hope that Tarkin is the type of guy that the Empire prefers to promote to leadership. So, what’s going to happen to Orson Krennic? Doesn’t look like things are going to work out well for him at work. Maybe he should defect to the Rebels.

(via Geek Tyrant, image via YouTube screencap)

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Maddy Myers
Maddy Myers, journalist and arts critic, has written for the Boston Phoenix, Paste Magazine, MIT Technology Review, and tons more. She is a host on a videogame podcast called Isometric (, and she plays the keytar in a band called the Robot Knights (

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