First update: One of our Chinese-speaking readers says the original interview seems to suggest that Donnie Yen is returning to the UK to fill gaps in the movie.
Second update: It’s confirmed: Yen is returning to London to reshoot scenes for Rogue One.
With less than 6 months to go before Rogue One, a principal actor has revealed that he’s not yet done with the film.
Actor Donnie Yen, who plays one of Jyn Erso’s dirty band of rogues, says he has to return to London to do “additional photography”. In a local interview last week, the Hong Kong-based actor was asked if he’ll be spending Father’s Day with his kids:
“I can’t. My wife and I will be flying to Japan in two days for a project. After that, I’ll be flying all over the place for some more work. I’m going to have to go back to London soon too, to do some additional photography for Rogue One.”
London is currently the production epicenter for both Rogue One and Star Wars Episode VIII. Rogue One began shooting last August 2015, even as Disney was hyping up The Force Awakens.
So what does this mean for Rogue One? Some possibilities are:
- Principal photography is not yet done, and Yen was just on break
- The cast may have been called back for reshoots
- Filming is done, and Yen is flying back to do promotional material (such as photoshoots, spreads and merchandising).
According to Redditor ArlonDarke, who speaks Cantonese, “From the original interview, Donnie seems to be suggesting that the reshoot, rather than just being for promotional material as suggested, (has) to do with filling in some gaps in the movie. Maybe Gareth Edwards decided to expand Chirrut’s role a little. In any case, he’s probably involved in some new shots.”
In the case of The Force Awakens, principal photography ended in November 2014, over a year before the film’s release. The rumored reshoots at Skellig Michael as late as September 2015, just 3 months before TFA hit theaters, turned out to be false. It was actually the preparatory shoot for Episode VIII.
If anything, Disney seems to be planning very well ahead. So ongoing production or even a reshoot at this stage for Rogue One would be unusual for the franchise, but not out of the ordinary in the filming industry.
Donnie Yen was the first to leak photos of the Death Trooper and Shore Trooper helmets on his Instagram and Facebook page, as early as August 2015. They were quickly deleted within 2 hours. His wife Cissy Wang may also have accidentally leaked a key detail when she posted this on her IG last March:
The original caption was “So cool, it looks just like the one on set when I visited hubby!” Although with the release of the Edelweiss leak, she may have been talking about a mockup of the U-wing, whose cockpit looks similar to the T-47 snowspeeder.
The actor has been as busy as a mouse droid since September, being involved in Rogue One as well as XXX: The Return of Xander Cage. Both projects have kept him flying back and forth between Hong Kong and the studios for the past 9 months. In fact, he just finished shooting XXX last May 20.
When he was asked if he would turn down Hollywood films to spend more time with his family, Yen revealed his motivation for appearing in Rogue One:
“It was never really about the money. I picked up those jobs because they were a rare opportunity. I did Rogue One because my kids are huge fans of Star Wars.
In fact one of them, 7-year old James, is a budding Sith lord:
He seems to be a pretty cool guy. As the lead star of Ip Man, Yen does his own martial arts fight scenes, having knowledge of taekwondo, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Muay Thai, and judo. He’s also one of the few Star Wars characters to incorporate martial arts in his role, alongside Darth Maul actor Ray Park who was an expert in kung-fu and wushu. Anyone as deadly as Maul in hand-to-hand combat is alright in our book.
Donnie Yen will appear as Chirrut, a “spiritual warrior” in Rogue One. As one of the few melee characters in Star Wars, I hope Hasbro turns Chirrut’s awesome blaster stick into a toy for Donnie’s little kids!
Thanks to rebel spy Cherry Wong for translating the interview, and to Reddit user ArlonDarke for the additional intel!
Hungry for more Rogue One intel? Check out our in-depth analysis why the U-wing isn’t a starfighter!