There are certain franchises that any actor or actress doesn’t say no to being in. Instant fame, eternal fandom, and legions of Comic-Con fans lining up to see you would be pretty hard to turn down.
For Felicity Jones, the unique opportunity to play the leading female character in a rare stand-alone Star Wars movie was a move she didn’t need to consult the force about.
Though this was hardly Felicity’s first big role, when the power of the Star Wars fandom is going to judge your every move, it can be intimidating.
But Rogue One: A Star Wars Story exceeded everyone’s expectations, and Jones gave a performance the Rebels will always be proud of.
Her character may have met her demise for the good of the galaxy, but did that also signal the end of Felicity’s fame? Let’s see what the Rebel fighter has been up to since she set the Skywalker’s up to bring down the Empire.
In Birmingham, West Midlands, England, on October 17th, 1983, Felicity Rose Hadley Jones was born to parents Julia, who worked in advertising, and father Gareth, who was a journalist. When Felicity was three her parents divorced, and she and her older brother Alex were then raised by her mother in Bournville, a village within Birmingham. She is also related to acting great Michael Hadley, as he was her uncle. And we have him to thank for Felicity’s interest in acting. Going to see her uncle perform Shakespeare in the theatre helped ignite that love for the stage.
In school, Jones was an excellent student. After attending Kings Norton Girls school Felicity went on to the exclusive grammar school for girls, Edward VI Handsworth School, for her A Levels. She took a small break after, doing the usual gap year, which was probably much needed after finishing those A Levels. Jones returned to school and graduated in 2006 with a 2:1 from Wadham College, Oxford.
Felicity technically started acting at age 11 in the Central Junior Television after-school workshop.
Jones put her first actual acting credit on the board at age 12 when she played Alice in the family TV movie The Treasure Seekers with an even younger Kiera Knightley.
But it was as Ethel Hallow in the first TV adaptation of The Worst Witch that she started to work her magic.
She brought Ethel back for 13 episodes in the sequel where the witches were older in Weirdsister College in 2001.
Working solely in TV for her first years as an actor, Jones made her movie debut in the 2008 British drama Flashbacks of a Fool.
Felicity continued to take on more serious roles, such as portraying Margot Frank for the five-part BBC series The Diary of Ann Frank in 2009.
A Blossoming Career
It was in the 2011 romcom Like Crazy alongside Jennifer Lawrence and Anton Yelchin that the spotlight really started to shine on her.
The film, which was shot in only a few weeks and had the cast improvise the majority of their lines, went on to win the Grand Jury Prize at that year’s Sundance Film Festival.
The movie was nominated for multiple awards, and Felicity herself went on to win quite a few.
The praise and acclaim that came with Like Crazy helped launch her and her other projects right to the front.
In 2011 Jones had a total of five projects released and she’s had something come out every year since.
In 2014 Jones starred in a couple of huge films that brought constant demand for her. It started with her appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 as Felicia Hardy.
That same year Felicity landed a role of a lifetime, playing Jane Hawking opposite Eddie Redmayne in the Stephen Hawking biographical drama movie The Theory of Everything.
Her performance snagged her nominations for an Oscar, Golden Globe, SAG, and BAFTA for Best Actress.
Felicity has a busy 2016 as well, appearing in four movies that year. She played Juliette in the action thriller Collide, as Mum in the highly acclaimed dark fantasy A Monster Calls, and in the Tom Hanks-led action thriller Inferno, the third installment after The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Felicity ended her packed 2016 year with the release of the stand-alone Star Wars movie titled Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, playing the lead character Jyn Erso.
In a franchise where female characters were sick kicks or supporting roles, Felicity got the chance to be a pivotal female lead in a Star Wars film.
Her character Jyn is a young woman that’s a little rough around the edges, but is crucial to the Rebel Alliance.
Jyn Erso is at first imprisoned for her actions against the Empire, but later is rescued by the Rebel Alliance and becomes part of the mission to steal the necessary plans to destroy the Death Star.
With only a handful of developed female characters throughout the franchise, Felicity’s Jyn was a welcomed addition.
But how did fans like this leading lady taking control of the Rebel Alliance’s future? They generally loved it.
Fans thought the character was extremely well-written and acted, and felt they could connect with her.
And the movie itself had numbers to prove it. The film may have been one of the most costly ever then, with a ridiculous budget of $220 million dollars thrown at it, but it all balanced out in the end.
Rogue One went on to be the 20th highest-grossing movie of all time (at that time), and sits at number two for highest-grossing films in 2016 behind Captain America: Civil War, with Rogue One bringing in over one billion dollars ($1,056,057,273 to be exact) worldwide.
Could you imagine anyone else playing Jyn? Well, the Rebel leader was almost cast as a different actress. Rooney Mara and Tatiana Maslany were also contenders, with both actresses testing for the role along with Felicity Jones.
But Jones won out and won big she did, as she took home a seven-figure salary for the rogue female lead.
What is Felicity Jones doing now?
As far as acting goes, Jones is still cranking out project after project.
She played everyone’s favorite Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in the 2018 biographical drama On the Basis of Sex.
In 2020 she appeared as Iris Sullivan in the sci-fi movie The Midnight Sky with George Clooney.
Her next role was in 2021 movie The Last Letter from Your Lover, also starring Joe Alwyn and Shailene Woodley.
Not only did she appear as Elle Haworth in the film, but Jones acted as Executive Producer for the romantic drama.
For upcoming movies, Felicity’s next release should be the action thriller Borderland. First written by Ronan Bennett in 2012, an updated version was written with the help of Felicity’s husband Charles and his brother Thomas. The Guard brothers are also directing the film with Felicity starring with Mark strong, Aml Ameen, and Colin Morgan.
Things take place in London in the 1970s, and follow a retired Irish paramilitary seeking revenge against the SAS officer who shot and killed his wife. Sounds like a heart-racing good time that we can’t wait to see.
Jones has one other movie she’s working on at the moment. Taking a turn away from the serious dramas, thrillers, and sci-fi genres, Felicity will appear in the comedy Maria.
As a woman having a complete meltdown over the crisis she feels her life is, main character Maria tries to run away from it all by hiding behind a relationship with her stepbrother.
With Jason Isaacs and Jonathan Bailey also starring, the story about aging and accepting reality should be entertaining.
Jones as Jyn again?
There has been some talk that Jones could bring her Star Wars character Jyn back from the dead. Hey, prequels and side stories make anything possible in these kinds of universes.
But with all things Star Wars, making Disney+ one of the hottest streaming services right now, a way to make a Rogue One mini-reunion happen isn’t out of the question.
Aside from acting, Felicity is keeping up with her side hustles. She is currently heading the campaign for the Aston Martin DBX707 luxury SUV.
Aston Martin wanted to take their marketing up a notch, and with Jones at the helm, they found their match.
During the heart of the pandemic, Jones and her brother Alex started Piecrust Productions, something the siblings had been wanting to do for quite some time.
While attending Oxford University she began seeing artist and sculptor Ed Fornieles while he was attending Ruskin School of Art. The couple started dating in 2003 and their relationship ended in 2013.
In 2015 Felicity started dating director, writer, and producer Charles Guard. In 2017 the couple became engaged, and went on to secretly wed in June of 2018 in the stunning Cotswolds in Oxfordshire, England.
Jones was pregnant while filming the movie The Midnight Sky, and gave birth to their son in April of 2020. Felicity took two years off of work to stay home with her son, returning to acting only recently in 2022.
Whether or not Jones gets to return to a galaxy far, far away to revive the criminal-turned-hero and don her BlasTech A-180 Blaster again is yet to be seen.
We know we can never say never with timelines in those franchises. But Felicity is sure to bring us characters in roles that will be just as powerful, and we’ll go out in full force to see her next move.