Donnie Yen Almost Passed on Rogue One

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If you saw Rogue One this weekend, which you probably did, then you may remember Donnie Yen’s Chirrut Îmwe, a blind but Force-sensitive ninja who takes down storm troopers with just a wooden stick. Initially, though, Yen was reluctant to take the part, as he explained in an interview with the LA Times.

Yen, a martial arts star, explained that he was reluctant to leave his family for such an extended period. “It’s crazy but I was hesitant about taking this role,” Yen said. “I was flattered but at the same time I didn’t want to leave my family for five months to go to London, because I just got off another movie.”

After consulting with his kids, Yen realized that the opportunity may have been too good to pass up. “I said, ‘Wait a minute—there’s something special there,’” Yen explained. “Then my friends and family and fanboys, everybody was so excited and I realized, this is not just making a movie. You’re making history here. So that’s how I got involved, and I’m so glad I did.”

Yen also explained that, because Chirrut is blind, which required special contact lenses, he had to take frequent breaks from fighting in order to give his eyes a rest. Needless to say, Yen isn’t the only one who’s happy he took the role. The Force was with him, and he was one with the Force.

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