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Featuring both a young Princess Leia and the return of the planet Mustafar, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story went to great lengths to tie both the prequel and original trilogies together, including enough references to please even the most cynical of Star Wars fans. However, a new report also suggests that the film almost included a character from the popular video game series The Force Unleashed at one point too.
'Rogue One' Almost Starred Rahm Kota
Cheeky and cheerful, Chirrut Îmwe (Donnie Yen) delighted moviegoers with his impressive skills, his loving banter with Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen) and his constant refrain of “I am one with the Force, and the Force is with me.” But according to filmmaker Marcos Cabota, it seems that our beloved, blind believer in the Force derives from another character in #StarWars canon. Speaking on the podcast La Fosa del Rancor, Cabota revealed that he previously helped a friend audition for #RogueOne, and as he glanced through the script, he noticed a particular character who kept cropping up:
“In fact, they were talking about a Jedi, who then did not appear in the movie but did appear somehow … Rahm Kota was in Rogue One, I can tell you, he was a blind Jedi. And what do we find in Rogue One? A blind user of the Force… In the script we had from Rogue One, before becoming Rogue One, it was Rahm Kota.”
Fans of The Force Unleashed games will instantly recognize that name; Though the games predominately chart the story of Galen Marek/Starkiller, Darth Vader’s secret apprentice Rahm Kota was a kick-ass character who also played a major part in the tale. Instrumental in the formation of the Rebel Alliance, Kota was a Jedi Master who had survived Order 66, thanks to the fact that he mistrusted the clones and had utilized his own private militia instead. Kota was blinded in a duel with Marek, but the two later befriended each other when Vader’s apprentice sought to learn the ways of the Jedi from the venerable Clone Wars veteran. Indeed, we can definitely see the similarities between Chirrut and Kota just from that description alone, so all in all, this is pretty intriguing stuff.
Canon Or Not Canon?
Initially, The Force Unleashed games were an attempt by LucasArts to connect the prequel and original trilogies even closer together, yet unfortunately, the Disney takeover put an end to this, along with plans for a third instalment. It’s best to take this Kota revelation with a pinch of salt, since as reliable as Cabota seems, he obviously isn’t part of the Star Wars production process. Plus, the name of Rahm Kota could merely have been used as an early placeholder or code-name for Chirrut, in the same way that secret titles are given to movies.
Even so, we can’t rule this out entirely. After all, The Force Unleashed series may now be relegated to the non-canonical Legends label, but the games still hold interest from the powers-that-be at Lucasfilm. After all, it was recently revealed that Starkiller himself almost made an appearance in #StarWarsRebels, so there is certainly a chance that Kota was considered by the minds behind Rogue One at some point or another too. And this isn’t the first time that the latest batch of Star Wars films have borrowed from the old Expanded Universe. One notable example is that of Han and Leia’s son Ben Solo/Kylo Ren, who is clearly a modification of the corrupted Jedi Jacen Solo from the Expanded Universe novels.
Therefore, it stands to reason that if Kota had been re-integrated into the Star Wars universe, he would have been heavily changed so that he fitted in with Rogue One’s story. But, as much as we would have loved to see another familiar face in Rogue One, it’s probably a good thing that Gareth Edwards and co. chose not to include him. One of the most refreshing things about Rogue One was that it features few references to the Skywalker family, and that it revolves around non Force-users.
Certainly, if every Star Wars installment were to place the Skywalkers or the Jedi at the forefront of ever major event in that vast galaxy far, far away, it would mean that this brilliant and interconnected universe would feel very limited and small. Chirrut was a compelling character in his own right, and if Kota had been involved in Rogue One, then there’s a strong chance that we’d never have got to witness Chirrut in action. Plus, as one of the first Guardian of the Whills to be portrayed onscreen, Chirrut has seemingly opened another avenue of Force-lore for our Star Wars films to explore.
As much as we may love many aspects of Star Wars legends and want them to be incorporated into the new canon, the case of Rahm Kota and #RogueOne shows that new additions are often preferable to recycling old material . Sure, many of these EU stories probably deserve to be included, but if we keep looking back to what worked well in the past, Star Wars can never progress and be enjoyed by fans in the future.