It's no surprise that the Star Wars spin-off Rogue One is a bona fide box office hit. Earlier this week, it passed $600 million at the worldwide box office. The franchise is one of the most beloved in cinematic history, with all eight movies released so far earning a whopping $3.5 billion domestically and $7.3 billion worldwide. With all that being said, it's quite surprising to learn that one of the Rogue One stars, Wen Jiang, has never seen any Star Wars movie before.
The news comes from director Gareth Edwards, who revealed in this juiy bit of gossip in a lengthy conversation on Empire with the entire cast. The director says that Wen Jiang's character Baze Malbus, and his longtime friend Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen) are inspired by characters from the Akira Kurosawa classic The Hidden Fortress. Here's what the director had to say about these characters, before dropping the bombshell that Wen Jiang has never seen a Star Wars movie before.
"It was definitely a deliberate thing to have diverse characters. Because Star Wars is so diverse - they have walking carpets and droids. It's about as diverse as it gets. But what happened is things evolved. Like, you know, you've got Star Wars and you've got to make a film [set just] before it. So what do you do? One of the things you can do is look at the things that inspired George and go back to them and see if you can branch off in a different direction. One of the main things that inspired him was Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress. And there were two characters in particular that inspired C-3PO and R2D2, and they were these Japanese slave-servants who bickered all the time. And I was thinking, 'why don't we just do that but without making them robots?' So that started off being Baze and Chirrut. It feels right that there'd be Asian characters in Star Wars, because it's got such Asian influences. And because it's Star Wars, you can kind of go for anyone: 'Who are the best Asian actors in the world?' Though, what's funny is, Jiang Wen, who plays Baze, has never seen Star Wars in his life."
Gareth Edwards revealed that he didn't want Wen Jiang to watch Star Wars during the production, because he thought it'd be funny if he got to the world premiere and one of his stars had never seen a Star Wars movie before. As it turns out, there is a very good reason that Wen Jiang has never seen Star Wars, since he grew up in a much different time in China. Here's what the actor had to say below, revealing he plans to fill his gap in Star Wars knowledge soon.
"I know nothing about them. Because when I grew up, there were no American movies in China. That was Cold War time, so no Star Wars. Now there's no Cold War, we can have Star Wars. So I will see it after I finish this movie, from beginning to end."
Given how Rogue One ends, it's possible we may never see Wen Jiang's Baze Malbus again, but it's also possible that he could return in future spin-offs set before the events of Rogue One, or in the animated TV series Star Wars: The Clone Wars. We reported earlier this month that Forest Whitaker will return to provide the voice for his Rogue One: A Star Wars Story character Saw Gerrera in an upcoming episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which is set several years before the events of Rogue One. Hopefully we'll find out more about whether or not LucasFilm has plans to bring back Baze Malbus or any of the other Rogue One characters in the near future.