By: Dominic Jones
Over the past week, the creatives involved in the making of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story have been revealing how the story of the film changed through various editions of the script. We've heard about alternate endings, alternate beginnings, and even an alternate death for Director Krennic. Now, Riz Ahmed has revealed that Bodhi Rook was, at one point, a completely different character. In an interview with EW's Anthony Breznican, Ahmed revealed that Bodhi wasn't always the well-intentioned, if nervous, Imperial pilot turned Rebel. In fact, he wasn't even named Bodhi.
Ahmed told EW,
“His name was Bokan, and he was actually Saw Gerrera’s engineer, living on a planet with a strong electromagnetic field, which meant that electronics were never working. He was actually an Imperial engineer who had been kidnapped and kind of had Stockholm Syndrome. He had been living there for so long, he kind of lost it, like Dennis Hopper in Apocalypse Now.”
Bokan apparently had key knowledge about the Death Star that both the Rebels and the Empire wanted. But Saw Gerrera did not want to give him up and made the moon where his base was impossible for ships to land on. This meant Jyn and the Rebels would have crashed the U-Wing during the mission to recover Bokan. The reason for this added danger, according to the film's first writer Gary Whitta was,
"We knew we needed to ditch the U-Wing and get them on that Imperial shuttle that they used at the end. In the finished film, you see that scene happen on Eadu."
Director Gareth Edwards also revealed that the change from Bokan to Bodhi came late in the game and that Ahmed had already been cast as Bokan. (He stops short of saying if they actually shot the "Bokan" scenes or not but it definitely sounds like it may have, especially given the highly publicized, extensive reshoots that took place). He explained that they decided to keep Ahmed as Bodhi because the underlying emotions of the character stayed the same, even if the actual story changed.
Edwards told EW,
“He wasn’t brave at the start but found bravery in the end. Even though we changed the literal character, that underlining concept stayed intact. We thought it would be stronger if he wasn’t Saw Gerrera’s guy, but instead he knew Galen. Those sorts of things changed, but the desire for them feels similar.”
One things that definitely changed in the reshoots was Bodhi/Bokan's death. Ahmed explained that while his character always died getting the message to the rebel fleet, his journey to plug into the comms tower was extended. He told EW,
“Every time he’d get sprung by a Stormtrooper, Donnie (Yen, Chirrut Imwe) would come out and Bang! then they would go down, and then Bodhi would have to crawl and jump over somebody, just to be caught again.Then Chirrut would pop up. It was almost, kind of an extended slapstick comedy sequence.”
Things got dark fast, however. “When he was running into the ship, he was shot and badly injured,” Ahmed said. “He has to crawl his way back onto the ship, and it was quite extended.”
You can read the entire interview with Ahmed, Edwards, and Whitta, where they further discuss the changes to Bodhi as well as his backstory, over at Entertainment Weekly.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will be released as a digital download on March 24th, and on blu-ray and DVD on April 4th.
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