More Details From SWC’s “Rogue One” Panel

The presentation for “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” ended the opening day of the Star Wars Celebration Europe 2016 convention last night.

While the highlight was obviously the behind-the-scenes reel screened earlier and a new poster, those in the room also got to see the next trailer which sadly isn’t online yet. There was also some new information learned about the film during the Q&A and in subsequent interviews. Here’s a breakdown of all the important pieces:

Director Gareth Edwards tells io9 that one key location in the film, a desert marketplace called Jedha, was shot using a combination of location shooting in Jordan and full 360 degree sets:

“We went to Jordan to film and we built this set in Pinewood that was 360 degrees so you could kind of look wherever you wanted. Normally on a set the extras are told, ‘Okay on action you walk over there and on cut you stop.’ We said, ‘Okay for the next hour you’re cooking food, or you’re doing this car thing,’ and the crew were wearing costumes so if the cameras turned around on them, they wouldn’t be in the shot.

We tried to keep it all flowing and the actors were given the freedom to go where they wanted and do the scene in a way that felt right,” Edwards continued. “So there’s a lot of freedom and it had this organic, different vibe to it than you associate sometimes with Star Wars, and so that felt really exciting. As a fan, I wanted to go to these places. It’s gotta feel right, that’s what was a massive learning experience.”

Producer Kathleen Kennedy adds the film has been heavily influenced by the handheld style of the film’s Australian cinematographer Greig Fraser (“Zero Dark Thirty,” “The Gambler,” “Let Me In”). The result is an “incredibly immersive” experience compared to previous “Star Wars” films.

Edwards also revealed that four hours of late night shooting on the film took place along the Docklands Light Railway one day, the crew popping in and out quickly during the midnight-4am period the area was shut down.

Actress Felicity Jones says the major difference between her Jyn Erso role and other Star Wars heroes is that she has had a very full life before we meet her and so isn’t trying to ‘find herself,’ but rather searching for a cause to fight for.

Alan Tudyk plays KT-SO, an Imperial droid reprogrammed by the Rebellion but is not quite all there – resulting in him issuing highly blunt, tactless, sometime creepy statements.

Forest Whitaker plays Saw Gerrera, a guerrilla rebel fighter who has been battling for years against the occupation and a character who appeared in the “Star Wars: Clone Wars” animated series which Whitaker revealed he watched episodes of preparation for the film.

Finally, Ben Mendelsohn turned up to the panel dressed as his character Director Orson Krennic and talked about his villain: “We [Australians] do villainy very well. He is smarter, I think, than most of his predecessors. He’s more inventive. He’s perhaps a little sexier than some of them, not quite as sexy as some of the others.”

Expect more from the convention over the next few days.