Neal Scanlan, creature effects supervisor on The Force Awakens and Rogue One, says aliens in Rogue One will be more realistic.
In an interview with MTV, Scanlan opened up about creature plans for his next project, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
The first live-action standalone Star Wars film, directed by Gareth Edwards, will see a ragtag team of rebels going against the Empire in a quest for the first Death Star plans. It sounds like there are going to be aliens who are either a part of this team or who at least run into them, and as such it’s important to Edwards they appear realistic next to their living, breathing counterparts.
"“In the world of ’Force Awakens,’ there was a real mixture of all different kinds, very much like the original Cantina sequence,” said Scanlan… “Working with Gareth now on ’Rogue One,’ he sees these aliens as being much more part of the human [world]. They co-habitate, they work together and so it’s pushed us very much to create characters that are more realistic.”"
A lot of different alien species have been introduced throughout all of the Star Wars films, not to mention shows like The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. So many, that most if not all of their designs were probably chosen for their coolness rather than how they would realistically appear after having evolved in a particular environment (for example, the Kaminoans in their stormy, watery world).
Additionally, Scanlan told MTV that for most of The Force Awakens aliens, creating an “infrastructure” around the performers (as in, how they would dress in the costumes, how they would keep cool, etc.) was more important than making the aliens they were portraying expressive.
A lot of those creatures, however, stay in the background. In Rogue One, it sounds like we’ll be seeing much more of species other than the human one in the fore, so a lot more thought is going into the performance aspect.
"“They move more realistically, they’re able to emote more than maybe the characters that we did for ’The Force Awakens.’ So they’re a closer part of the storytelling. They’re less of the world, and they’re more of this group who have a mission, and play a part in that.”"
A few realistic alien characters we’ve seen from the films which come to mind are Watto and Jar Jar Binks from Episodes I and II, Bib Fortuna from Return of the Jedi, and of course, Maz Kanata, Supreme Leader Snoke, and Unkar Plutt from The Force Awakens. Yet, all of those characters were more side characters, leaving the humans to be the stars of the films. Rogue One may change that up a bit, even though the first main character is already slated to be a human female soldier played by Felicity Jones.