STAR WARS: ROGUE ONE - Donnie Yen On His Character’s Backstory And Creating His Own Martial Arts Styles
For better or worse, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is set to be a wholly satisfying standalone film. Of course, the plus side here is that the film will hopefully manage to give each and every one of their characters a fulfilling arc over a short period of time, while the down side is that, unlike most franchise characters, this will likely be the last time we see any of them.
One of the many characters in this film is Chirrut, played by martial arts legend Donnie Yen, who is perhaps best known for Ip Man films. In the trailer, you’ll perhaps remember his very religious-sounding lines where he said “I fear nothing. All is as the Force wills it,” seeming to imply that this character has a very strong belief in the Force.
Speaking with Yen, Screen Rant asked the actor about the character’s history with the Force, and why he’s such a strong believer. In answering, Yen implied there is a whole lot beneath the surface of this blind warrior.
"That's a backstory actually, we did a lot of back and forth discussions and research between actors, producers, and directors so that is something…it’s probably (motions a large book) this thick of materials and research, but I'm not allowed to talk about it."
Then, when asked about why Chirrut is blind, he answers once again with: "That is also backstory, and I'm not allowed to talk about it (laughs)."
Pretty interesting stuff. Now, I won’t go so far as to say that Disney has plans for this man’s backstory, but it is a bit strange that Disney won’t allow these “one-off” characters talk about their characters’ own backstory. While Disney may have no current plans for Chirrut in the future, it would seem they are hoarding potential backstory details for who knows what. In an ever-expanding universe, one never knows when some of this information can be utilized down the line. As such, it makes sense they’d tell their actors to keep their mouths shut on specifics.
One specific detail, however, that Yen shared during a press junket revolved around the specific martial arts style Yen created specifically for the Rogue One character.
"Every movie, I would create a unique martial arts for each movie. For example, in Rogue One, my character Chirrut, I designed a bit of martial arts specifically for Star Wars."
Now I’m no martial arts expert, but that’s a pretty amazing detail, and I can’t imagine the amount of work that goes into this type of character development in and of itself. Keep an eye out for it when checking out the film this weekend! I know I will.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theaters tonight!