With the home release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Kendall Schroeder takes a closer look at the new Heroes of the Rebellion in the next installment of the RetroZap Artist Series.
I can’t get enough of Rogue One. The release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on digital and blu ray has excited me even more. Heroes of the rebellion come to life once again. After several viewings in the theater, having the ability to watch it any time at home or on my phone has heightened my enjoyment of the film. The new alien worlds seen for the first time still seem like they fit in the Star Wars universe. The vast imagery creates the feeling of an even larger universe. New characters bustle through the streets of Jedha City.
With the Star Wars: Rogue One: The Ultimate Visual Guide by Pablo Hidalgo by my side, I get a sense of the scope of the galaxy I grew up with while learning of new characters who play a critical role in the Rebellion. From the strong, impassioned Jyn Erso, a student of Saw Gerrera, to the deeply spiritual and mysterious, Guardians of the Whills, Baze and Chirrut, our heroes are as varied as ever before.
I began to study several of these characters by creating small portrait sketches quite early in the process. But, once I had the visual guide in hand, I could get a closer look at the details of these new additions to the Star Wars canon. I sketched out several characters and fully rendered a few of them to create portraits as a memorial. I imagine these portraits hanging in the Hall of Fame for the Rebellion.
After some consideration, I decided to focus on a few characters that had interesting connections: Admiral Raddus, Bodhi Rook, Cassian Andor, and K-2SO.
I Say We Fight!
From the depths of his homeworld of Mon Cala, Admiral Raddus rises to the top of the Rebellion and is certainly worthy of Hall of Fame status. As a member of the Rebel Council, Raddus is a commanding presence. His gruff demeanor and distrust for the Empire is well-known among the Council members.
Present in the Rebel briefing room, Raddus hears Jyn Erso’s plea for the Rebellion to attack the planet Scarif. His battle cry, “I say we fight!” will go down in history. Despite being in the minority, Raddus readies his fleet of Mon Calamari cruisers and prepares his enormous city-ship, the Profundity for battle. Utilizing the Hammerhead Corvettes, Admiral Raddus destroys the Imperial shield gate allowing the Rogue One team to transmit the plans to the Death Star up to the Profundity.
The blue-green skinned Mon Cal, is unlike any we’ve seen before. His look resembles a battle-worn military hero. He stays in the fight until he knows the battle is won, until he knows the plans to the Death Star have been transmitted to his ship. His only communication on the planet’s surface is with one unsung hero, Bodhi Rook.
I’m the Pilot!
A former imperial, Bodhi Rook is the pilot. Born on Jedha, Bodhi meets Galen Erso on one of his many cargo runs. Erso must have been quite persuasive to convince Bodhi to defect and transport a secret message to Saw Gerrera. Galen sees something in Bodhi. Within this meek and mild cargo pilot, the scientist spies a ray of hope, a glimmer of a brave soul. That’s not all.
Bodhi also wants more for his life. According to the Rogue One visual guide, Bodhi Rook set out to be a fighter pilot. Bodhi wanted a piece of the action. He wanted to be a hero. Delivering a secret message to an underground resistance fighter was his chance. This was his chance to be brave. However, after his encounter with Bor Gullet, all hope would’ve been lost if it wasn’t for his rescue by Captain Cassian Andor.
Everything I did, I did for the Rebellion.
Captain Cassian Andor is an experienced Rebel intelligence operative who grew up fighting. He has led many covert operations under various identities. We first meet Cassian in the crowded city streets of the alien world The Ring of Kafrene, searching for information. Once he receives the necessary intel and the informant poses a threat to his escape, Cassian takes him out. Five minutes into the story and the hero shoots someone in the back. This is a different sort of Star Wars hero. But, looking at Cassian’s face, more can be seen. As soon as the shot is fired and the dirty deed is done, the look in Cassian’s eyes says so much. Emotions like regret, disgust, shame come to the surface.
Upon meeting Jyn Erso, Captain Andor begins to change. Like Bodhi, Cassian begins to see a way to make things right. He sees a way to redeem himself for the evil acts he has committed in service of the Rebellion, a service to which he has devoted his life.
He’s not alone. Captain Cassian Andor is a hero with a sidekick.
I’ll be there for you. The Captain said I had to.
K-2SO is an Imperial security droid reprogrammed by Cassian Andor. Furthermore, he is loyal to not only the Alliance but to Cassian specifically. He follows Cassian’s orders, for the most part. K-2SO is a versatile droid who perfectly compliments the covert operations of his trusted companion. The comradery and devotion they have for each other carries on to the very end of the story.
K-2 is an imperial droid yet he displays a level of emotion that we haven’t seen before. In the same way Jyn influences Cassian’s heart, I believe she has the same effect on K-2SO. I think there is more truth than we know in his statement to Jyn as they prepare for the raid on Scarif, “I’ll be there for you. The Captain said I had to.” He commits himself to the cause. He fights to the end, sacrificing himself to ensure that Jyn and his friend, Cassian, achieve their goal.
Visualizing the Heroes of the Rebellion
I uploaded my sketches into my iPad Pro Procreate App and completed each of them separately utilizing different brushes and pens with my Apple Pencil. For each, I tried to create a watercolor feel. Also, by adding the white outline it helps each character to stand out from the page even more. The more I watched Rogue One and the more I read about the characters and saw their connection to each other, I wanted the final piece to include all four heroes. I create a new canvas in Procreate and bring the four completed portraits together.
Each hero impacts the other. Admiral Raddus communicates with the Rogue One team through Bodhi Rook. Bodhi completes his mission from Galen Erso and becomes Cassian Andor’s trusty pilot. Cassian and his loyal reprogrammed Imperial droid, K-2SO, use their well-trained skills to accomplish the mission impossible: stealing the plans to the Death Star.
The sacrifice each of these new, yet historic heroes from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story made to offer a chance for the Rebellion to overcome the Empire will forever be remembered. They deserve their place in the Rebel Hall of Fame. I envision myself walking through those hallowed halls and seeing these portraits hanging as reminders of their sacrifice. While, we may never see this come to fruition, it would be a worthy tribute, indeed!
Kendall Schroeder saw the original Star Wars in a small theater in the summer of his 10th birthday and immediately fell in love with the Far Away Galaxy. Pretending to be either Jedi Luke Skywalker or Colonel Steve Austin, the Six Million Dollar Man, Kendall always believed he had special powers. Maybe that’s why he truly believes there is good in all people. And, he will stop at nothing to help rid the world of evil. When Kendall is not creating art, he is leading educators as the head of an online school. Kendall lives in West Michigan with his wife and two kids.