He may have a flowy cape and plenty of henchmen to carry out his every order, but don’t let that fool you: Rogue One villain Orson Krennic isn’t as high-class as he seems. We already knew he is (or was) buddies with Jyn Erso’s engineer father Galen, which suggested Krennic was maybe a little more nuanced than he seems in the trailers. Today, director Gareth Edwards revealed that Krennic is very different from Star Wars villains of the past.

Talking with USA Today, Edwards said that he wanted his Krennic, played by Ben Mendelsohn, to stand out a bit from his Death Star compadres.

It feels like if the Empire ever have a job vacancy, they go to the Royal Shakespeare Company to headhunt people. I like the idea that Ben’s character was much more working-class [and came to prominence] through sheer force of personality and ideas.

Mendelsohn had even asked at the beginning of filming if he should try to fake “a very posh English accent,” but Edwards told him no. In the past, especially in the original trilogy, anyone you’d see working on the Death Star would have a very chic, old-fashioned British accent to contrast with the protagonists’ rough-and-tumble American cadence.

Krennic’s prospective rise to power is marred by interruptions again and again. He “hits a brick wall in the hierarchy where they won’t let him in the club and it’s going to turn into a them-or-us situation: either Krennic or Tarkin and the others,” Edwards said. Krennic was the one who had the idea for the Death Star, but Galen Erso was the one who could actually make it happen. As it turns out, ideas can only take you so far. And as we know, Tarkin ultimately ends up in control of the space station, since he’s the one we met way back in A New Hope. No matter how big an intergalactic empire gets, bureaucracy and infighting will never fail to cause drama among the higher-ups. In a way, Rogue One marks a new era in the Star Wars films: up until now, we’ve only been exposed to the Jedi vs. the Empire, and the Empire as a monochromatic, single-faced entity run by sinister posh-accented men in gray suits (or black capes). It looks like the newest Star Wars adventure could show us a whole new, grittier side to the story, this time about the down-and-dirty, working-class folks who do all the work behind the scenes.

Rogue One hits theaters December 16.