Lately, I’ve been thinking about how names are such an integral yet understated part of Rogue One. We see the origin of a name that’s become so familiar to us—the Death Star, as Galen spitefully refers to such a destructive weapon as having “no better name”. We see Bodhi Rook name Rogue One in a spur of the moment decision that had cinema-goers cheering. And, lastly, Jyn’s childhood nickname—one of her last connections to her father—eventually becomes the final clue that helps secure her and Cassian the Death Star plans. Names are so vital to the events that unfold throughout Rogue One, and they help pave the way for what is to come in A New Hope and beyond.
Each character’s individual name also gives us some clues about their personality and motivations, and the Rogue One writers have been deliberate in their name choices. Below, I’ve written up some of my thoughts on the main Rogue One cast, and how their given names relate to who they are as characters.
Jyn’s name is actually of Chinese origin, it’s a given name which means “gold” when spelled as “Jin”. The significance of naming Rogue One’s heroine after something so precious and unique hasn’t been lost on fans, who have speculated that it’s a perfect name connotation for someone who was destined to help the Rebellion in such an important way. The kyber crystal necklace given to her by Lyra also has a gold-bronze tone to it, reflecting that both the kyber crystals and her family ties are as integral and important to Jyn as her very name itself.
I also think of stardust as being gold in colour, which fits perfectly with Galen’s pet name for her. Though I’ve never actually crushed up a star myself, so I’m open to corrections for that one…
Cassian’s name is an Earthly one, but one which also has its place among the clouds. “Cassian” is a name which is believed to be of Ancient Roman origin, and is the name of several Saints, the most famous one being Saint Cassian of Imola. Saint Cassian’s martyrdom involved the Emperor at the time ordering for his sacrificial death, which is pretty interesting when you consider the role that Cassian Andor plays at the end of Rogue One, and the fact that Star Wars has a famous Emperor of its own! Saint Cassian is also the patron Saint of Mexico City, which is awesome news for Mexican actor Diego Luna, who plays everyone’s favourite fur-hooded Captain.
He also basically took my name and added an “n” to it, so I’m expecting a royalty payment any day soon…
Baze’s name immediately conjures the image of “baize” to mind—for those of you who aren’t upholstery experts, baize is a kind of rough, felt-like material that you see on billiard and poker tables. (You might even find it on some sabacc tables if you know where to look!)
If we’re thinking about how this idea of roughness relates to Baze as a character, we might say that he’s a bit rough around the edges himself, and wary of newcomers who might be looking to harm him or Chirrut. Those who don’t know him might also think him rough-handed, or even dangerous. But we all know that Baze is just a big softie, really.
Chirrut’s name is a fictional one, but one which has some very real-world influences to it. Firstly, the use of the “chi” sound at the beginning of his name has connotations with Chinese medicine and martial arts (think “tai chi”), which is pretty pertinent considering the real-world martial arts influences on the Guardians of the Whills, and the fact that Chirrut is played by martial arts veteran Donnie Yen. Chirrut’s name is also written in the stars: in astronomy, “chi” is the twenty second star in a constellation—taken from the fact that “chi” is also the twenty second letter of the Greek alphabet.
A “cheroot” is also a type of cigar which has both its ends open, so there might be some derivation from the similar vowel/consonant sounds there!
Bodhi is another real-world name: it’s actually a Sanskrit name which means “awakening” or “enlightenment”. This is a perfect name for a character who has switched sides when we first see him at the beginning of Rogue One. He’s a character who continues to grow and learn throughout the movie, and we see him grow in confidence as he realises that his actions are having a positive effect on others.
His surname, Rook, is equally interesting. In chess, the rook (also known as “the tower”) can participate in a special move with the King known as “castling”, whereby the rook moves to where the King has just crossed. I’m no chess player (and I’m certain someone will correct my terminology in the comments!) but I think this move is a good reflection of Bodhi following the path that Galen (the “king”) laid out for him, especially if we consider his final words: “This is for you, Galen.”
Did I miss your favourite Rogue One character off of my list? Do you have your own theories and interpretations for any of the character names? Let us know in the comments below!