Rogue One: The Origin of Riz Ahmed’s Bodhi Rook


In Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Bodhi Rook left the Empire and sacrificed his life to save the rebellion. However, the character was different originally.

(Caution: This article contains several Rogue One spoilers.)

In Rogue One, Riz Ahmed played Bodhi Rook, an Empire defector whose sacrificial actions first set the events of the film into action. Since he donned the enemy’s garments and wore the Empire symbol, he endangered his life more than anyone else, and was even subjected to torture during the film. Still, he persisted and it was his knowledge that allowed the Death Star schematics to be beamed to Princess Leia’s ship, therefore leading into A New Hope.

However, according to a new report from Entertainment Weekly, the character wasn’t always going to be that brave. Or even exist in the original drafts.

In addition to auditioning for the role about a dozen times, Ahmed joined the project under the impression he’d be playing someone different.

"“His name was Bokan, and he was actually Saw Gerrera’s engineer, living on a planet with a strong electromagnetic field, which meant that electronics were never working. He was actually an Imperial engineer who had been kidnapped and kind of had Stockholm Syndrome. He had been living there for so long, he kind of lost it, like Dennis Hopper in Apocalypse Now.”"

By the time the character was conceived, several elements made their way to the final cut as intended. For example, nabbing an Imperial ship was always part of the plan. And the character always harbored secret knowledge that made him valuable to both sides.

While we all know Rogue One ties into the original trilogy rather nicely, it actually ties into The Force Awakens kind of too. Or gives a nice nod. Well, in my head, at least. Because once they changed Bokan’s name to Bodhi Rook, the “symbolism” was all there.

As Ahmed explains:

"“Bodhi means awakening. He’s a character who goes through kind of an enlightenment.”"


Additionally, Gareth Edwards shared how Ahmed got to keep his job, despite all the changes.

"“With Riz, we needed a person that was stuck in this life with the bad guys. He had gotten there by accident and the only way he could survive was to play along. Deep down he had guilt. He was going to be one of those characters that was going to help turn this around. He wasn’t brave at the start but found bravery in the end. Even though we changed the literal character, that underlining concept stayed intact. We thought it would be stronger if he wasn’t Saw Gerrera’s guy, but instead he knew Galen. Those sorts of things changed, but the desire for them feels similar.”"

And all that “found bravery” makes Bodhi’s death in the end even sadder. But according to the report, Rook was meant to die a lot earlier in the scene from a stray bullet. Unfortunately, we instead witnessed the fear fill his eyes as the grenade landed in the ship.

Related Story: Rogue One: Krennic Really Did Choke On His Aspirations in Original Script

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will be available on Blu-ray/DVD on April 4.