With the impending release of ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,’ the first “standalone” theatrical film from the Star Wars universe, Disney is looking to capitalize on fans’ resurgent interest in the franchise – not that interest ever really went away with the hard-core fans, mind you – by expanding some of the backstory of the characters and situations that have never been fully explored before (yes, we’ve had the ‘Extended Universe’ of novels, comics, etc., but these were never officially canon tales, per Disney and ‘Star Wars’ creator George Lucas himself).

‘Rogue One’ director Gareth Edwards recently took the time to speak to EW, and he elaborated a bit on the setting of the film – namely, the planet Jedha, which is seen by most of the denizens of the galaxy as the “Holy Land” of the Force.  Says Edwards:

“The Force is basically in Star Wars like a religion, and they’re losing their faith in the period that we start the movie. We were trying to find a physical location we could go to that would speak to the themes of losing your faith and the choice between letting the Empire win, or evil win, and good prevailing. It got embodied in this place we called Jedha.”

So, what about Jedha makes it not only a special place, but also a fighting ground between the Empire and the Rebellion?  Edwards further elaborates:

“It’s a place where people who believe in the Force would go on a pilgrimage. It was essentially taken over by the Empire. It’s an occupied territory… for reasons we probably can’t reveal. There’s something very important in Jedha that serves both the Jedi and the Empire. It felt very much like something we could relate to in the real world.”

Even though Edwards had to get a bit vague there at the end (spoilers!), he did wax poetic a bit further about the planet and the Force’s bigger role in our favorite galaxy far, far away:

“Within Jedha, even though there’s the oppressive foot of the Empire hanging over them, there’s a resistance that won’t give up and our characters have to go and meet people there to try and secure a person from this group. In a wider [galactic] level, there must be loads of people who just believe in the Jedi and believe in the Force and have been affected by it. If it’s a really ancient religion, as Obi-Wan Kenobi said, it’s got to exist in thousands or millions of people in the galaxy.”

‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ hits American theaters on December 16, 2016.

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Tony Schaab mixed up all this fake puke at home and then he went to this movie theater, hid the puke in his jacket, climbed up to the balcony, and then he made a noise like this: hua-hua-hua-huaaaaaaa… and then he dumped it over the side, all over the people in the audience. And then – this was horrible – all the people started getting sick and throwing up all over each other… and he never felt so bad in his entire life!  A lover of most things sci-fi and horror, Tony is an author by day and a DJ by night. Come hang out with Tony on Facebook and Twitter to hear him spew semi-funny nonsense and get your opportunity to finally put him in his place.