Rogue One: A Star Wars Story director Gareth Edwards has shed some light on the secrets of his new planet, Jedha – a holy land for those who follow The Force and a combat zone between good and evil.
“It’s a place where people who believe in the Force would go on a pilgrimage,” Edwards told Entertainment Weekly. “It was essentially taken over by the Empire. It’s an occupied territory… for reasons we probably can’t reveal.”
Pressed to reveal a little more detail, he added: “There’s something very important in Jedha that serves both the Jedi and the Empire. It felt very much like something we could relate to in the real world.”
Perhaps not coincidentally, the shots of Jedha show clear Middle eastern influences, with deserts, market stalls and Ottoman-like architecture, and streets bustling with priests and other holy figures.
“The Force is basically in Star Wars like a religion, and they’re losing their faith in the period that we start the movie,” Edwards continued. “We were trying to find a physical location we could go to that would speak to the themes of losing your faith and the choice between letting the Empire win, or evil win, and good prevailing. It got embodied in this place we called Jedha.”
Rogue One stars Felicity Jones and is set inbetween Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, telling the story of a group of rebels who attempt to steal the plans for the Death Star. A new trailer is set to be unveiled by NBC during Olympics coverage this Thursday.
The film hits cinemas in December 2016.