Prepare to sing the Ewok celebration song, folks: Donnie Yen will appear in Star Wars: Episode VIII and possibly Star Wars: Rogue One. Reports suggest Yen, who completed Ip Man 3 with Mike Tyson not too long ago (though probably without a CGI Bruce Lee), will be flying to London next month to start Star Wars-ing for Disney.
According to The Straits Times, Yen will be playing a Jedi in Episode VIII who befriends Han Solo, though the exact nature of his role and Harrison Ford’s further involvement in the series has yet to be confirmed. It’s also unclear if Yen will also be appearing in Rogue One as some sources have reported. Keep your salt at the ready--you’ll never know when you have to preserve rumor meat.
I’ve been a massive fan of Donnie Yen for almost two decades, first encountering his work through bootlegs of Once Upon a Time in China Part II and Iron Monkey as a video store clerk. (Years ago, I even did a list of my 12 favorite Donnie Yen fight scenes.) His ascension to action superstar status has been pretty fascinating since it’s come during middle age and thanks in large part to Ip Man.
Part of me wonders what Yen will bring to Star Wars in terms of fight choreography. There’s no word on if he’ll have a hand in molding the action, though it would be wasteful to ignore his insight. The flashy duels of the prequels often lacked a sense of drama, danger, and weight (i.e., moves were made without consequence or killer instinct), but Yen knows how to tell a story through a fight, and maybe he can bring some viscerally stylish intensity to the films. Who knows, we might get the Jedi vs. Sith duel that’s sort of like this classic SPL fight scene:
So, what do you think about Donnie Yen coming aboard Star Wars?[The Straits Times, Twitch via IGN]