First off, if you've never heard Riz Ahmed in a recorded interview, it's one of those "holy-accent!" moments. After hearing him rock an American (or Spanish) accent so often for his roles, the way he really sounds comes off as a surprise. The actor, who saw his career hit the gas pedal with Nightcrawler, Jason Bourne and then HBO's The Night Of, will see his popularity continue to grow thanks to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. One of the more unknown characters in the film, it turns out that Bodhi is edgy and has a darker past. With Rogue One selling itself as a darker Star Wars installment, his character could be one of the most important.
Riz Ahmed is Bodhi Rook in Rogue One
While talking with EW, Riz Ahmed explained that his character is somewhat like Finn in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Besides his name meaning "awakening" in the Buddhist faith, the character has a bit of history working for the Empire. Like Finn, he became enlightened to the Empire's evils and washed out. While Lucasfilm's Kathleen Kennedy describes Bodhi as "tense" and a "little volatile," Ahmed expands on the personality.
“A character like Bodhi is not born into the life of a soldier,” Ahmed says. “He’s a pilot working for the Empire, doing his job, getting on with it. But when you put ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, it can freak them out. It can inspire deep passions. So I’m gonna defend Bodhi.”
If you paid attention to the media coming out for Rogue One, you may have noticed that Bodhi's garb still shows the Empire insignia on the shoulder. Ahmed claims the character never ripped it off as a reminder of his history.
“I think it’s to remind you of where you’re coming from, remind you where your debts are. Do you know what I mean?” Ahmed says. “For me personally, every day, looking at that, it reminds you of what you’ve done.”
Bodhi is a Truck Driver
While the character Bodhi sounds exciting, his job title is Cargo Pilot, or our version of a truck driver. While fans might hope to link some comparison to Han Solo, also a freight hauler, Lucasfilm already shot that idea down. Bodhi is not the dashing smuggler. But don't be fooled, as Adam Driver made it a point to use the word "nuanced" when describing Rian Johnson's style of telling the story. Low and behold, Ahmed uses that very same word when describing the movie and its characters.
“Everyone in this Star Wars movie has got quite a complex past. They have a lot of baggage and history to it. That’s part of what makes it an interesting, nuanced movie. It’s taking characters with interesting backgrounds, whether it’s warrior monks, or ex-assassins, or long-distance truck drivers, and you’re assembling this pack of misfits.”
Origin stories typically do well with audiences, and it definitely looks like Rian Johnson will exploit that fact with Rogue One. Who knows, if JJ Abrams had directed, we might have experienced LOST-style flashbacks.