With the release of Rogue One just three weeks away, fans are more eager than ever. It doesn't help, or maybe it does depending on how you view it, that Disney is in full-blown marketing mode, so a lot of new stuff related to this first Star Wars spinoff is making its way online. The latest photo to hit the web gives us our first look at Jimmy Smits, who is returning to the franchise to play Bail Organa, probably for the last time.
The photo made its way to Twitter recently and will be an exclusive in the latest issue of US Weekly. In it, we get to see Bail Organa for the first time since the end of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, when he offered to take Princess Leia into his care. We can also see that he isn't looking quite as fancy and dapper as we are accustomed to seeing him and according to Jimmy Smits, there is a good reason for that. As we can see in the photo, Bail Organa "isn't as high up the political food chain" as he once was.
Given where Rogue One: A Star Wars Story falls in the overall Star Wars timeline, it makes perfect sense that we would see Bail Organa in the movie. Several months ago Jimmy Smits broke the news on The Talk that he would be appearing in the movie, but he made it clear that he would have a small part in the movie. So he may not have a lot of screen time, but Bail Organa will be providing some connective tissue between the prequels and these new Disney era Star Wars movies. Those who know their Star Wars history also probably know that since this movie takes place so close to the events of Star Wars: A New Hope, this is probably the last time we will ever see Jimmy Smits as Bail Organa. The first planet the Death Star destroys is Alderaan, Princess Leia's home planet. It hasn't been confirmed in the new Star Wars canon yet, but it is a safe bet that Bail Organa will be on Alderaan when it blows up, adding another heartbreaking layer to that event in Star Wars history.
Jimmy Smits as Bail Organa will be one of the only recognizable Star Wars characters in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, as the movie will primarily be centering on a new cast of characters. Specifically, a band of Rebels led by Jyn Erso, played by Felicity Jones, who are tasked with stealing the plans for the Death Star, something that was teased in the original opening crawl of Star Wars: A New Hope. However, there will be another classic Star Wars character in the form of famed Sith Lord Darth Vader, which has been teased in the trailers quite a bit. As an added bonus, James Earl Jones has returned to voice the character, which has Star Wars fans very excited.
Rogue One stars Felicity Jones, Mads Mikkelsen, Riz Ahmed, Ben Mendelsohn, Alan Tudyk, Diego Luna, Jiang Wen, Donnie Yen, Wen Jiang and Forest Whitaker. The movie is being directed by Godzilla helmer Gareth Edwards. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is set to hit theaters on December 16, 2016. You can check out the first image of Jimmy Smits as Bail Organa for yourself below.