While Rogue One: A Star Wars Story introduced fans to a entire team of new fan-favorite characters, the first Star Wars standalone film had undergone relatively more changes than most films throughout it’s development. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Rogue One star Riz Ahmed shares new details on the role he originally going to play and revealed a slightly different ending for his character before re-shoots occurred.
Ahmed, who played defecting Imperial pilot Bodhi Rook in the final version of the film, revealed that he was originally cast as a completely different character.
“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.”
Ahmed explained the reason why the character’s name was also changed.
“Bodhi means awakening. He’s a character who goes through kind of an enlightenment.”
Director Gareth Edwards explained why Ahmed was still chosen to play Bodhi Rook even after role has been changed so dramatically.
“With Riz, we needed a person that was stuck in this life with the bad guys. He had gotten there by accident and the only way he could survive was to play along. Deep down he had guilt. He was going to be one of those characters that was going to help turn this around. 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.
Ahmed also revealed a slightly alternate ending for his character before the re-shoots.
“Actually he died slightly differently before, in that whole sequence of him running around with the plug. There was actually this one shot that was about a minute long, and it was basically Bodhi ducking and diving from Stormtroopers to try and like get the plug to where he wanted it to go while Donnie and Jyn, when Chirrut and Baze were kind of flanking him.”
Though the scene ultimately ended with the same noble sacrifice, Ahmed explains that Bodhi’s fate had originally been sealed before the explosion that costs him his life.
“When he was running into the ship, he was shot and badly injured. He has to crawl his way back onto the ship, and it was quite extended.”
Ahmed also revealed details on Bodhi’s backstory that were omitted from the film and shared his theory that Bodhi joined the Empire to care for his single mother.
“He’s taking a job, which a lot of people wouldn’t take. They’d think he was a collaborator with the evil forces. He’s in a position of necessity rather than privilege, and I also think the desire to kind of fly and escape is a strong one. He’s someone who’s always kind of dreamed of escaping and leaving his home world behind, which also speaks to his ability to turn away from the political reality of Jedha.”
You can read the entire interview with Rogue One star Riz Amhed here.
While the original ending to Rogue One might have been more gut-wrenching considering Bodhi’s death would have been painful and drawn out, the final version of Bodhi’s fate certainly comes as more of a surprise and changing the character to a willing defector definitely allows his sacrifice to carry more weight.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will be available on Digital HD as of March 24 followed by the DVD & Blu-Ray release on April 4, 2017.
Source: Entertainment Weekly