'Rogue One' star Ben Mendelsohn wants his own 'Star Wars' spin-off series and has a great pitch (exclusive)

Ben Mendelsohn's Orson Krennic flanked by Death Troopers (Disney/Lucasfilm)

Ben Mendelsohn wants to return to the Star Wars universe as Orson Krennic in a spin-off series that sees Palpatine’s Empire at war with an opposing Empire.

“Another Empire – that's the other thing that we have never gone to in Star Wars,” Mendelsohn told Yahoo Movies UK. “We have other peoples and what not, but they all seem to be run under the one Empire. I'd like to see f***ing Carthage.” 

Released in December 2016, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story told the story of how a ragtag team of Rebels stole the plans of the Death Star from under the nose of the Empire, setting up the events of A New Hope.

Starring Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Mads Mikkelsen and Ben Mendelsohn, it’s considered by many fans to be the best live action Star Wars film released under Disney’s watch.

In celebration of Star Wars Day, we spoke with Australian actor Ben Mendelsohn about his time as Orson Krennic, who was more than happy to look back at the pivotal role in the beloved film.

Actor Ben Mendelsohn poses for photographers during the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story fan photo call in London, Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

Krennic was Rogue One’s main antagonist, an Imperial weapons developer who oversaw the construction of the Death Star for Emperor Palpatine from the beachy planet of Scarif. The character was on the Imperial base when it was blasted to smithereens by the Death Star’s super laser.

Read more: Cassian Andor show lands Rogue One script doctor

When asked whether he was keen to reprise the role, Mendelsohn was unequivocal.

“Of course. Without any doubt, without any doubt,” the actor told us while promoting historical Netflix drama The King, in November 2019. “Krennic is a middle manager, which is a very unusual thing for a villain to be, but that's what he is.”

“I'm really proud of Rogue One because it feels like a dirty version of the original Star Wars film. By ‘dirty’ I mean, like you can feel the environment. And I’d be up for [another spinoff] just to wear that f***ing costume again!”

Mendelsohn said that during the production of Rogue One, there was an idea to flesh out Orson Krennic  further, with a deeper backstory and military past. 

“There was an idea that we talked about, that he is actually a come-up-through-the-soldiers kind of guy, rather than being born into the officer class. That he is more Napoleonic, rather than like Henry the Fifth,” Mendelsohn told us.

The battle of Scarif in Rogue One. (Disney/Lucasfilm)

“But I don't know that we fleshed it out enough to the point where it became legible enough. And also, I don't think I performed him in a way which helped carry that idea forward.”

Continuing to talk about Krennic’s early rise through the military, Mendelsohn continues, “I'd like to have seen some of those earlier Rebels and Empires. Another Empire – that's the other thing that we have never gone to in Star Wars. We have other peoples and what not, but they all seem to be run under the one Empire. I'd like to see f***ing Carthage.” 

Read more: Rogue One editors reveal how the film changed in reshoots

The Carthaginian Empire was at war with the Greek and Roman empires during the 7th–3rd centuries BC, and was eventually wiped out by the Romans in 146 BC

Ben Mendelsohn's Orson Krennic (Disney/Lucasfilm)

On a possible Krennic-starring prequel series, Mendelsohn says, “Frankly, if we were going to do something more in Star Wars, let's f***ing see an opposing Empire. That would be awesome.” 

Rogue One star Diego Luna is set to return to the world of Star Wars in a Disney+ spin-off show based on his character Cassian Andor. Beyond that, there’s a series centred around Ewan McGregor’s young Obi-Wan Kenobi, a female-centric one from Leslye Headland, the creator of Netflix’s Russian Doll, plus at least two more seasons of The Mandalorian.

Season two of the Pedro Pascal-starring series, which delivered to the world the iconic character of The Child, is due for release in October 2020 (though that date was set before any pre-Covid-19 production delays)

Mendelsohn adds that this Krennic prequel isn’t a proposed series that’s in development – but his own idea that he’s keen to pursue. “Look, it's not something that’s been proposed, it's only something that I've cooked up,” he prefaces.

Ben Mendelsohn's Orson Krennic (Disney/Lucasfilm)

“But what I would like to see, if we were going to do it with Krennic, is that you could go further into the early early stages of the Death Star and I think that's really interesting.”

Mendelsohn laid down his one condition for his Star Wars return: that Rogue One co-star Mads Mikkelsen (who appeared as Galen Erso, Jyn's father) join his spinoff. 

Read more: Rogue One writers reveal twist that was cut

“Mads Mikkelsen is in the handful of absolute best people you want to spend time with on a set. If the rest of my working life was just filming one endless cleaning product commercial, and Mads was going to be there every day, I'd be happy,” he says, on his desire to work on literally any project with the Hannibal star.

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 08: Actors Ben Mendelsohn and Mads Mikkelsen attend the 2016 GQ Men of the Year Party at Chateau Marmont on December 8, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for GQ)

“That guy is so f***ing good looking. And that guy doesn't behave like a guy that’s that good looking. Mads is f***ing awesome fun.”

“I really enjoyed our rapport. And I love Mads. You'd take a bullet for the guy. He's just he's strictly beautiful in every dimension. That's awesome.”

Rogue One is streaming on Disney+ now.