The cast: Riz Ahmed, Diego Luna, Felicity Jones, Jiang Wen and Donnie Yen (Photo by Jonathan Olley, Lucasfilm)

Disney has just announced the cast and crew of Star Wars: Rogue One, the film which Kathleen Kennedy had already hinted about at San Diego Comic Con last month. Apparently, her promise that production of Rogue One will begin in a couple of weeks were not just words.

The film is the first part of Star Wars Anthology, a series of films unrelated to the main episodes, which focus on expanding some Star Wars characters or important events. Star Wars: Rogue One will tell us the story of how the Rebels gained possession of the Death Star plans. As we know, this whole thing actually started the events in Episode IV. From the looks of it, we can look forward to more ground warfare-type film focusing on a group of rebel troops.

And who can we expect, then? The crew of actors chosen seems no less than magnificent. Among the chief cast are Felicity Jones (nominated for Oscar for her role of Stephen Hawking’s wife Jane in The Theory of Everything), Diego Luna (appearing recently in the films Milk and Elysium) and Ben Mendelsohn (currently performing in Netflix’s series Bloodline). Interesting promise seems to be the Hong Kong actor Donnie Yen, who has appeared in some Hollywood films in minor roles and has a long history with martial arts. Other actors revealed are Jiang Wen (a Chinese actor, who has also directed several movies of his own), Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland, or Lee Daniels’ The Butler), Mads Mikkelsen (known among others for the role of the Bond villain in Casino Royale, or 2012 Danish film The Hunt), Alan Tudyk (Firefly) and Riz Ahmed (English rapper and actor, getting several nominations for his supporting role in the 2014 film Nightcrawler).

Rogue One is going to be directed by Gareth Edwards (who made his big début in 2010 with the independent film Monsters and also directed the most recent Godzilla). Edwards himself is known to have stated that “Star Wars is the reason that he wanted to become a filmmaker”, so together with the cast and rest of the crew Rogue One seems to be in good hands. The film’s release date is scheduled for 16th December 2016.