'Star Wars: Rogue One' Is Happening, But Who Exactly Will The Lead Character Be?

Two hundred eighty-two days out from the arrival of Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens , news hit about another Galaxy Far, Far Away installment that we’re not even ready to be excited about yet. (But time and Hollywood press releases wait for no one!) Godzilla director Gareth Edwards’ standalone Star Wars movie has been confirmed: Rogue One. Applying this reveal to previous announcements of Felicity Jones’ casting can actually offer some pretty substantial hints about what’s in store for the forthcoming film.

First, let’s unpack what “Rogue One” means. The title is refers to a military designation assigned to the leader of the Rogue Squadron elite starfighter group; they’re essentially Navy SEALs of the Rebel Alliance pilots. A number of characters have achieved this honor in the Star Wars Expanded Universe — including Luke Skywalker — but not too many of those have been women. Only two, in fact. If we’re to believe that Jones plays the Rogue One in question, then we’ve already narrowed down the options quite a bit.

The first potential character, whose surname at the very least should be recognizable to those unfamiliar with Star Wars’ canon beyond the feature films, is Jaina Solo: daughter of Han and Princess Leia, and niece of Luke.

Jaina’s service as a military pilot came during a period known as the Yuuzhan Vong War — a contentious chapter in the young woman’s life, challenging her with the death of a loved one as well as a complicated romance. Jaina’s temptation by the Dark Side in this time of fury and eventual ascension to Rogue One status could make for a duly substantial standalone entry.

A bit less likely of an option for Jones is the character Anj Dahl, both because of her lapsed connection to the central Star Wars family and because she has always been written and illustrated as a black character. The zealous and skilled Dahl served notably during the Battle of Mon Calamari — fans of Return of the Jedi might associate this planet with its highly quotable resident Admiral Ackbar — and eventual seizure of the Rogue One rank.

While there are no promises that Rogue One will stick to the established canon of the Star Wars literature, betting on Jaina Solo as Jones’ standalone film character wouldn’t be the most foolish choice to make. She’s only one degree separated from the series’ established heroes, promises an introduction in the forthcoming The Force Awakens, and has quite the interesting back-story to boot. Let’s hope Rogue One is Jaina Solo’s story — it’s one worth telling.

Images: Getty; 20th Century Fox