One of the more intriguing characters battling the Empire in Gareth Edwards' Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the feisty ex-Imperial pilot Bodhi Rook, played by Riz Ahmed, star of the HBO crime thriller The Night Of. Rook began his spacefaring career as a working-class freighter pilot of the Empire, then defects to the resistance side to assist the rebels in their quest to snag the sinister Death Star's blueprints. In a new interview with EW, Ahmed breaks down his character's motivations, rough edges and murky past in the galaxy far, far away and reveals why Rook still sports the Imperial insignia on his shoulder.
“Bodhi is a cargo pilot. In our world, Bodhi would be a truck driver," explained Ahmed. 'A long-distance truck driver. A character like Bodhi is not born into the life of a soldier. He’s a pilot working for the Empire, doing his job, getting on with it. But when you put ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, it can freak them out. It can inspire deep passions. So I’m gonna defend Bodhi.”
Concerning that cog patch on his sleeve, Ahmed defends Rook's decision to wear it despite his alliance with the Rebels.
I think it’s to remind you of where you’re coming from, remind you where your debts are. Do you know what I mean? For me personally, every day, looking at that, it reminds you of what you’ve done.”
And regarding the ragtag team of thieves assembled for the cosmic caper, the British actor dissects the camaraderie that forms in the face of adversity and conflict.
“The feel of this film is quite rough and ready, and so is the mission and so are the characters, and so is the coming together of the characters. So the idea of people having special ships that they spit-shine and say, ‘Hey, this is my ship called the XYZ,’ that’s not of this world. This world is more about ‘Grab what you can, and let’s roll.’
Everyone in this Star Wars movie has got quite a complex past. They have a lot of baggage and history to it. That’s part of what makes it an interesting, nuanced movie. It’s taking characters with interesting backgrounds, whether it’s warrior monks, or ex-assassins, or long-distance truck drivers, and you’re assembling this pack of misfits.”
Check out this video with Ahmed discussing his associations with the famous space saga and the world-building of Rogue One and tell us if you're excited to see this new high-energy character in action.
Also starring Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Jiang Wen, Donnie Yen, Forest Whitaker and Mads Mikkelsen, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story steals nationwide movie screens on Dec. 16.