“I am the force and I fear nothing…” So wrote Donnie Yen on his Facebook earlier today accompanied by a reveal of some props from the first of the stand-alone Star Wars “anthology” films, Rogue One.
However, the Hong Kong action star known for Blade II and Ip Man does fear the wrath of Disney and Lucasfilm, who guard their Star Wars secrets with a Vader-esque grip, because he soon scrubbed all evidence of the post from his account. But the damage was done, and fans had already taken and disseminated screen shots of the trio of helmets.
Producer Frank Marshall, husband of Lucasfilm president and ‘Star Wars’ exec producer Kathleen Kennedy, famously tweeted the above poster from the set of ‘The Force Awakens’
As for who might wear said headgear? The instantly recognizable middle model is your basic Stormtrooper job, but the other two are new to the galaxy far, far away. The black helmet is slightly reminiscent of the Storm Commandos (below) — a special-forces unit featured in several comic books and video games over the years — but even more menacing with its sleek, sharply tapered angles.
Alternately, it could belong to another kind of highly trained dark-suited Imperial soldier familiar to fans of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed game, the Shadow Trooper.
The battle-scarred tan helmet, which appears to be equipped with a blast shield, would seem right at home on the desert battlefront.
Set an unspecified time before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope, Rogue One focuses on the rag-team team of rebels who on a desperate mission to infiltrate the Empire and steal the plans to Palpatine’s supreme weapon, the Death Star. Earlier this month, at Disney’s D23 fan convention, Lucasfilm unveiled the first look at the film’s resistance fighters. The photo featured from the bottom left: Riz Ahmed (Nightcrawler), tinkering with some gadgets and suggesting a role in the vein of James Bond’s Q; Felicity Jones (Oscar-nominated for The Theory of Everything), the team leader; the mustache-sporting Diego Luna (Milk, Elysium), who — as many fans have noted — bears a strong resemblance to a young Biggs Darklighter, noted Friend of Luke (and Victim of Vader) in A New Hope; Jiang Wen (Let the Bullets Fly, Devils on the Doorstep), who’s reinforced with plenty of body armor; and Yen, who appears to be blind, yet we’re guessing knows how to use his staff to inflict some serious damage.
The ensemble also includes Forest Whitaker, Ben Mendelsohn, Mads Mikkelsen, and Alan Tudyk.
“[Rogue One] will be a departure from the saga films but have elements that are familiar to the Star Wars universe,” producer Kathleen Kennedy said at the time. “It goes into new territory, exploring the galactic struggle from a ground-war perspective while maintaining that essential Star Wars feel that fans have come to know.”
Rogue One is currently shooting in the U.K. shooting under the direction of Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) for release Dec. 16, 2016.