Rogue one introduced us to a brand new villain in a growing list of evil greats. Orson Callan Krennic served as director of the Advanced Weapons Research division of the Imperial Military. He was also responsible for the security of the Death Star project. Learn all about this new character, and how he became the central figure of the Death Star’s construction.
Born on the planet Lexrul in 51 BBY, he earned a place in the Galactic Republic’s Future Program. There he met fellow student Galen Erso. While his area of excellence was architecture, his counselors noticed he was just as effective at manipulating others. After graduating, he rose in the ranks of the Republic Corps of Engineers, where he supervised large construction projects both onworld and in deep space. This influence helped him give Erso a visiting professorship at the Institute of Applied Science.
Krennic became a member of the top-secret Republic Special Weapons Group, where they discussed the schematics for the Death Star captured from Geonosis. The labor force and superlaser involved with the design were boggling, and Krennic brought up his friend Erso. The Separatists had Erso imprisoned on Vallt, and Krennic got the authorization to launch a clandestine rescue mission. After a prisoner exchange, Erso, his wife Lyra, and their daughter Jyn joined Krennic. He swiftly commanded a bombardment on the planet Vallt from a Republic cruiser. Shortly after, he interrogated a Geonosian archduke and convinced him to assist in the construction and planning of the Death Star.
Krennic helped Erso avoid espionage charges, and after a Geonosian revolt, convinced him to join the project (then known as “Project Celestial Power”). With the Clone Wars ended and the Republic now the Galactic Empire, he convinced Erso the project was about restoring function and power to planets ravaged by the Clone Wars. Erso developed a method of power using kyber crystals, and Krennic used his research to create weapons.
When a research facility on the planet Malpaz exploded after trying to weaponize the research, Krennic met with Erso. Erso admitted to having doubts about the research—doubts his wife helped fuel. Krennic showed him the destruction on Malpaz, telling him it was sabotage. Erso, the footage and information upsetting him, agreed to work in secret, while keeping it from even his wife.
Under pressure from multiple places, Krennic devised a way to emerge from under Grand Moff , whom he despised. He incited an attack from troublemaker Saw Gerrera, knowing Tarkin would command the defensive force. At the same time, he applied Erso’s advanced research and fired a laser into a pair of black holes, proving the research’s application. Shortly after, he ordered the destruction of a group of Project Celestial Power workers, one of whom knew Galen and Lyra Erso.
With the Ersos under surveillance and their friends destroyed, Galen and Lyra contacted others who showed proof the destruction on Malpaz was due to Imperial work, not anarchists as Krennic had said. The Ersos requested a meeting with him, which he avoided as he believed it to be a trap. The Ersos disappeared, Tarkin demoted Krennic for his negligence, and he vowed to leave no stone unturned to find Galen.
Thus, several years later, the trail of the Ersos led to the planet Lah’mu, living a simple farming life. Krennic killed Lyra, captured Galen, and watched Jyn slip through his fingers–leading to the events of the movie Rogue One.
Behind the Scenes
Ben Mendelsohn (The Dark Knight Rises, Animal Kingdom) plays Orson Krennic. The character was first revealed in a teaser trailer on April 7th, 2016. Mendelsohn at first thought he should have Krennic speak with a “posh English accent”. Rogue One director Gareth Edwards said no, because: “It feels like if the Empire ever have a job vacancy, they go to the royal Shakespeare Company to headhunt people…I like the idea that Ben’s character was much more working-class.”
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