Meet the Badass Ladies of 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story'
An introduction to the film’s fiercely strong women.
Almost one year after the release of the monumental Star Wars: The Force Awakens instalment, the franchise returns once again with one of the most highly anticipated movies of the year – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Slated to hit theaters this week, Rogue One is the inaugural film of the burgeoning Star Wars Anthology series. Taking place shortly before the events of the original Star Wars: Episode IV narrative, the storyline will actually be a standalone plot within the Star Wars universe. For fanboys and new fans alike, however, several recognizable icons from the movie’s official trailers will undoubtedly spark a flame of familiarity. Not only is there a Darth Vader cameo, but a significant portion of the storyline revolves around the Death Star, a weapon of mass destruction commissioned by the Empire.
Perhaps one of the most noteworthy aspects of the new Star Wars chapter, however, has nothing to do with nostalgia for the baddies. Leading the rebellion against the Empire is none other than Jyn Erso — a woman. Played by Felicity Jones, the decision to write a female as the leading protagonist perpetuates Star Wars’ history of strong female characters. As one of the most recognizable figures in pop culture, Princess Leia may have started out as a damsel in distress, but has since become a bonafide badass as both the founder and General of the Resistance against the First Order. Then of course there’s Queen Padmé Amidala, who was a senator in the Galactic Senate and was a vocal spokesperson for the anti-war movement. Perhaps one of her most distinguishing aspects was the fact that she often posed as a servant for the sake of security. Humbled by her close relationship with her body double, Padmé can be characterized by a deeply empathetic nature that balances her strength in both politics and combat.
Most recently, Daisy Ridley portrayed a fierce, ass-kicking heroine named Rey in Episode VII, a very important catalyst in re-starting a conversation about the sci-fi genre’s oft-criticized boy’s club mentality. Along with other upcoming superhero movies such as Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel, women are finally taking the spotlight in large-scale blockbuster films that have historically glorified the archetypal male superhero. No longer are women portrayed as the weaker sex — instead, this new wave of leading ladies provides strong, independent role models that young girls can look up to in the same way that boys can aspire to be Luke Skywalker or Han Solo.
Highlighting the other badass women in Rogue One, we’ve put together an introduction to some of the female characters that you can expect to see in theaters tomorrow. Read on below to learn more.
Played by Felicity Jones, Jyn Erso has more or less become regarded as the face of Rogue One. Although we’ve only been able to familiarize ourselves with her character through her screen time in the trailers, we already know that she is a courageously selfless fighter who stands up for what she believes in with unwavering strength and conviction. Jyn was formerly a criminal who now sides with the Alliance to Restore the Republic, fighting as a sergeant during the Galactic Civil War. Recruited by revolutionary leader Mon Mothma, who is part of the Rebel Alliance, Jyn becomes part of an intricate scheme to steal the Death Star plans and thwart its construction.
Although certain details can’t be confirmed until the movie officially releases tomorrow, we do know that Jyn is a human. Born to the scientist Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen) and his wife Lyra Erso, Jyn was unfortunately separated from her parents at a young age. This, in turn, contributes to her reckless and rebellious nature growing up. As we have already seen in the trailer footage, Jyn finds out that her father is connected to the development of the Death Star superweapon. Details are still hazy regarding Galen’s involvement but whatever the reason is, it is clear that Jyn is intensely motivated by the desire to uncover the truth behind his complicity.
For diehard Star Wars fans, Mon Mothma will definitely be a familiar name. Within the franchise, she is an infinitely strong character who also happens to be a driving force in the Rebellion. Let’s cover the basics: she is a human female politician who is also an active revolutionary leader for the Alliance to Restore the Republic. Having served in both the Galactic and Imperial Senates as the representative of Chandrila, she was also the first chancellor of the new Republic.
Counting Padmé Amidala of Naboo (played by Natalie Portman in Star Wars: Episode I, II and III) as an ally, Mothma was very vocal when it came to speaking out against Chancellor Palpatine’s increase in executive wartime power during the Clone Wars. As we know, however, Palpatine continued to accumulate power at the end of the war — as a result, he successfully transformed the Republic into the Galactic Empire. In efforts to re-establish the Republic, Mothma worked in tandem with Senator Organa to help lay the foundations of a rebellion against the Imperial regime.
Although Mothma is often overlooked in the Star Wars cinematic instalments, she is a crucial character in the Star Wars: Clone Wars animated series (which ended back in 2013). Despite being in only a handful of episodes, her role in the Rebellion is pivotal and once again emphasizes why Mon Mothma embodies female strength.
As mentioned earlier, Lyra is the wife of Galen Erso and the mother of Rogue One‘s heroine, Jyn Erso. Although she is a fairly minor character in the film, her role in shaping Jyn’s future is noteworthy. During the war, she, Galen and Jyn are captured by agents of the Confederacy of Independent Systems, an alliance that asserts independence from the Galactic Republic. Lieutenant Commander Orson Krennic eventually comes to their rescue, who is an old friend of her husband. The plot thickens, though: Krennic also happens to be a member of Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine’s top secret Death Star project. This, of course, is critical in understanding Galen’s involvement with the Empire’s diabolical plan. As we see in the opening scene of the second official trailer, Galen tells his young daughter, “Jyn, whatever I do, I do it to protect you.”
Although it is unclear what Lyra’s role is in the eventual separation between parents and child, mothers have always played an important role in shaping characters in the Star Wars franchise (Shmi Skyalker, anyone?!). Then there’s the theory floating around on the Internet that the Erso’s are Force-sensitive, but unable to wield its powers. Whatever the story is here, we’re definitely more than curious to find out what Lyra Erso’s deal is.