'Rogue One' Writer Explains Galen Erso's Big Decision

Why would a respectable scientist end up building a moon-sized superweapon, anyway?
Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios

If Rogue One: A Star Wars Story left you uncertain about the allegiances of Galen Erso, Gary Whitta — who initially broke the story with director Gareth Edwards — clarified how he intended the actions of Jyn's father during a Twitter chat about the movie.

"He was always a pacifist," Whitta tweeted, as part of an Audible-sponsored chat Tuesday. "His act of defiance in sabotaging [the first Death Star] makes him a Rebel for sure. He risked his life to do it."

In subsequent tweets, he added, "In the writing it was always intended as an act of defiance and also a way to unmake what he was forced to help make… I personally love the poetry that in a way it falls to the daughter to absolve the sins of the father. That feels like Star Wars to me."

As to why Galen had worked with the Empire in the first place, Whitta suggested that it was his belief in a better tomorrow. "I think that's what kept him working on it for a long time, the belief that the Empire actually had altruistic goals. Naive, really." ("That's the real tragedy," he went on to write. "All of Galen's genius and good intentions corrupted in the purpose of something truly horrific.")

Whitta answered other questions unrelated to Mads Mikkelsen's character, as well, during the chat. He said that he would "swim through a lake of Mustafan lava" to be involved in writing prequel stories to the movie featuring adventures of Cassian (Diego Luna), Chirrut (Donnie Yen) or Baze (Jiang Wen), and teased that "actual nerd herders" appeared in the original draft of the Rogue One screenplay. The question is, were they scruffy?

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