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Why Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the movie female Sci-Fi fans have been waiting for.

Rogue One
Thanks to our brand partner, Rogue One

As a young girl, there weren’t any female characters I aspired to be like more than Star Wars’ Princess Leia. She was everything I ever hoped I could be: cool, kick-ass and she wasn’t afraid to take risks to save those she was closest to.

I distinctly remember asking myself on more than one occasion ‘What would Leia do?’ in times where I needed to find that extra bit of courage (and yes, more often than not, sass) to get me through a tricky situation.

So you can imagine my excitement that the franchise that has dominated popular culture since the late ’70s is adding more female influences to the mix – both on and off screen – in its latest offering.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is hitting our screens on December 15, and it comes complete with two of the most powerful female forces in the entertainment industry.

The film is not a sequel to last year’s smash success, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Instead, Rogue One is more of a prequel, looking back at the years between Episode III – Revenge of the Sith and Episode IV – A New Hope.

New generations of young women – and yes, existing Princess Leia fans like me – will be able to enjoy a new female hero in the form of Jyn Erso, a Rebel spy who is leading a mission to steal the plans to the Empire’s deadly weapon, The Death Star, played by English actress Felicity Jones.

"A new female hero in the form of Jyn Erso." Image: Supplied.

Indie film fans fell in love with the actress in 2011 when she starred in Like Crazy, a cross-continental love story where many of her lines and scenes were improvised. Jennifer Lawrence also appeared in the film, but it was Jones’ performance that critics described as “intelligent” and “palpably real”.

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Her appearance in the Academy Award nominated 2014 film The Theory of Everything that sparked her meteoric rise to success. The 32-year-old played Jane Hawking, married to physicist Stephen Hawking (played by Eddie Redmayne). Her portrayal of Jane had an understated power and she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress as a result.

Soon she was being chased down by Hollywood’s most recognisable directors – including Ron Howard, who recruited the rising star to appear opposite Tom Hanks in Inferno. Then, she was starring alongside another woman who paved the way for female leads in science-fiction films, Sigourney Weaver, in A Monster Calls.

When one of the greatest producers in Hollywood – and new president of LucasFilm – Kathleen Kennedy came knocking, it was this relationship that gave Jones the gusto to become Sci-Fi’s newest female hero.

“She told Weaver she couldn’t have tackled Rogue One if it had not been for her lead [in Alien],” wrote The Hollywood Reporter, a fact that left the 67-year-old actress “floored”.

The new President of LucasFilm - Kathleen Kennedy. Image: Wikipedia Commons.

Kennedy and Jones are now inextricably linked when it comes to Rogue One, after all, it was Kathleen who first thought of auditioning Felicity for the part of Jyn.

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“She comes off very strong and physical and capable, and all of those things were the qualities that we were looking for,” Kennedy recently said of casting the actress in the role.

Kennedy has worked closely with Steven Spielberg on classics like E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Jurassic Park, and as the owner of her own production company has lent her name to films that have earned over $6 billion at box offices worldwide.

Now, arguably the most powerful woman in Hollywood, she is producing the new era of the Star Wars franchise; no mean feat in the once male-dominated world of science fiction.

Kennedy has made no secret of the fact that more than half of her direct reports at LucasFilm are women, and has even hinted that a female director is the next step for the franchise.

With Jyn about to become the world’s new favourite heroine, Jones already a female acting force to be recognised with and the biggest female producer in the world working behind-the-scenes, Rogue One will be nothing but astronomical.

Who is your favourite inspirational female character from a movie?

Here's some great movies Felicity Jones has starred in:

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