Ahmed also revealed some pieces of Bodhi Rook’s history that never made it onscreen. “Bodhi grew up on Jedha. It’s been a troubled planet for a long time. It’s occupied by Imperial forces, and I was thinking, ‘What makes you want to be a cargo pilot and just fly long distances for the Empire?’ I always imagined he was supporting maybe a single mother.”
In his mind, Bodhi was the only child from a poor family who agreed to work with the Empire because his mother was sick and had no one else to support her. “He’s taking a job, which a lot of people wouldn’t take. They’d think he was a collaborator with the evil forces,” Ahmed says. “He’s in a position of necessity rather than privilege, and I also think the desire to kind of fly and escape is a strong one. He’s someone who’s always kind of dreamed of escaping and leaving his home world behind, which also speaks to his ability to turn away from the political reality of Jedha.”
Then something happens that changes his mind and makes him turn against the Empire and try to help the Rebellion.
“In my mind, I think he would have lost his mother not too long ago, before we meet him, and that, in a weird way, makes him reassess,” Ahmed says. “It liberates him more. What he’s doing with his life, given that we’re only here for a short period of time?”
With his mother gone, there would be no one left in his life for the Empire to punish for his resistance.