'Star Wars: Rogue One' Recruited Real Military Personnel as Extras

Members of the Royal Navy, the British Army, and the Royal Air Force will appear in the new movie.


While you and your friends are busy seeing The Force Awakens, the filmmakers behind the next Star Wars movie are hard at work in England shooting Rogue One to make its 2016 release date. And instead of going the prequel route of throwing all of the lead actors like Felicity Jones and Diego Luna in front of green screens, it looks like Rogue One will have them interacting with actual real-life people in scenes this time — largely, in fact, real-life soldiers.

According to Forces.TV, the British Armed Forces news channel, the film enlisted 40 current and former members of the Royal Navy, the British Army, and the Royal Air Force between the ages of 25 and 55 at Cardington airship station in Bedfordshire, England to be used in a scene for the new movie.

The hangars where the scenes were shot were also used for the original 'Star Wars' movie in 1977.


Though the performers were contractually sworn to secrecy, ForcesTV spoke to some of the servicemen and women who were recruited. “When our Officer Commanding asked us if we wanted to be an extra in the next film during a morning brief, nobody put their hands up. We all thought it must be a wind-up,” one anonymous soldier explained. “It took him most of the day to convince us that he really did know someone who was looking for a body of men to mill around in the background and do what they were told.”

No other real solid details about what it is they shot were mentioned, but it’s obvious — to paraphrase the anonymous soldier — that the milling about involved some sort of intergalactic air battle. ForcesTV mentions the fact that some of the soldiers who will appear in the movie have combat experience “flying attack helicopter missions over hostile territory.” Let’s hope this scene involves pilots flying X-Wing missions over hostile territory, too.

Getting the military to be in movies is nothing new, but this is great news to hear considering it proves that Rogue One will continue the series’ preference of practical versus digital effects kickstarted again with The Force Awakens. Now, instead of hundreds of obvious CGI good guys, the fact that these 40 or so literal good guys might do that much more to make audiences invested in the story.

Find out what these British soldiers got themselves into when Rogue One hits theaters on December 16, 2016.