In the highly anticipated first Star Wars spinoff film, Rogue One, Hong Kong martial arts superstar Donnie Yen was given the chance to shape his character. Yen is well known for his active role in the creative process during his movies, from Ip Man to the Blade franchise. Most often, that influence has come from the incredible fight choreography that he brings to the table, stemming from his mastery of Wing Chun.
“When you hire me, you’re not just getting an actor; you are getting a choreographer, a director.” – Donnie Yen
This time the process was even more intense for Yen. Director Gareth Edwards actively sought out the star’s ideas about where to go with his character Chirrut Îmwe. When Edwards approached Yen early in the process about how to make this character more compelling, he shared his idea that the fighting master should be blind.
That decision would change the vision of the Chirrut Îmwe, a spiritual warrior monk who helps bolster the Resistance to defeat Darth Vader. Donnie Yen went on to determine other aspects of the character, adding his own experience and flavor to the Star Wars universe.
Star Wars brings wider exposure
Extraordinarily exciting about Donnie Yen’s role in Star Wars: Rogue One is that he will finally be able to reach out to a wider audience. Though he’s a bonafide superstar in much of the world, starring in a Star Wars film will undoubtedly take his career to the next level and beyond.
It’s hard to think of another actor that’s more interesting to see onscreen, and knowing that this character is in many ways his creation is that much more fantastic.
Rogue One opens December 15th & 16th in most of the world, January 12th in China.