In an exclusive new interview with Entertainment Weekly, director Gareth Edwards has shared a ton of new details about Jedha, the mysterious new "Jedi planet" that plays a pivotal role in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
The gist is that Jedha is holy land of the Star Wars universe, a borderline "religious" place which draws both Jedi and agents of the Empire. In design, the planet will be reminiscent of a few holy places you might visit here on Earth:
With its narrow market alleyways, desert sands, and Ottoman-inspired architecture, Jedha has obvious Middle Eastern influences, but it could be any place where far-flung followers would gather to pray, reflect, or meditate – Mecca, Jerusalem, Canterbury, Bodh Gaya…
So, what draws all these characters to Jedha? Well, Edwards isn't ready to reveal that quite yet, but does say the following:
“There’s something very important in Jedha that serves both the Jedi and the Empire. It felt very much like something we could relate to in the real world.”
EW's speculation is that Jedha must contain some sort of precious mineral or resource, something that would be as valuable to the average Jedi as it would the average Sith lord. What might that be? Their guess (which sounds good to me!) is kyber crystals, minerals which are used in both the construction of lightsabers and several of the Empire's big-ass, planet-destroying weapons.
When the story picks up in Rogue One, the Empire has taken control of Jedha...but is still dealing with pockets of resistance from those who would seek to destroy the Dark Side. Says Edwards:
“Within Jedha, even though there’s the oppressive foot of the Empire hanging over them, there’s a resistance that won’t give up and our characters have to go and meet people there to try and secure a person from this group.”
It's also interesting to hear that Rogue One will be treating the Force as a straight-up religion, but I think it's even more intriguing that we'll get to see how non-Force users react to those who do wield that power. Says Edwards:
“In a wider level, there must be loads of people who just believe in the Jedi and believe in the Force and have been affected by it. If it’s a really ancient religion, as Obi-Wan Kenobi said, it’s got to exist in thousands or millions of people in the galaxy.”
There's plenty more over at Entertainment Weekly, if you're curious.
Otherwise, hit the comments below and let us know what you think about Jedha. You think they're holding kyber crystals or what?