We are only a few weeks away from the December 18th release of Rogue One, and today we meet Admiral Raddus, who is based in large part upon legendary statesman, Winston Churchill.
Star Wars has always been a universe heavily populated by aliens that looked little to nothing like boring old humans. Still, producers always want the audience to connect with the character, and many of the aliens we know and love take their inspiration from real life human counterparts. The latest example? Rogue One’s Admiral Raddus, who was based in large part upon the esteemed former Prime Minister of Great Britain, Winston Churchill.
Entertainment Weekly brings us our first look at Admiral Raddus is a member of the Mon Calamari species, who’s most famous example was the esteemed Admiral Gial “It’s a trap” Ackbar. The Mon Calamari obviously look very little like humans, be they Corellians or Coruscanti, and thus a real life inspiration was needed, something creature effects supervisor Neal Scanlan is common practice on set.
Image Credit: Lucasfilm
"You try to look at a famous actor, or a statesperson or something like that. Someone you could use. It helps to have someone to reference in the real world. It grounds our creatures and ideas. We use these references to pull these creatures back and make them feel like they belong here in our world."
Regardless of species, characters will still share emotional or intellectual traits with old fashioned humans, and that connective tissue can be important when introducing a character as exotic looking as the Mon Calamari or Sullustans. But how exactly is Raddus similar to the British Bulldog? The man who stood in the face of the overwhelming power of Nazi Germany and did not so much as blink?
"Admiral Raddus is a very strong figure. We would use [Churchill] not only as visual reference for his physical features, but also when it came to performing him and expressing him through the actor."
Turns out, Churchill wasn’t the only inspiration on set either. Bela Lugosi, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ernest Borgnine, Lee Van Cleef, and Peter Lorre were all used for aliens on the set of Rogue One. They might not all make appearances, and some might only be background scenery characters, but the inspirations were used nonetheless.
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So when you are sitting down to enjoy Rogue One December 18th (and we know you are going the day it comes out), play a fun game and see how many Hollywood celebs you can spot hanging around a galaxy, far, far away.