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Star Wars: Rogue One - Details About Changes

Reshoots, Screenplay Alterations - No Extended Cut

Rouge One - A Star Wars Story is the first actual spin-off within the Star Wars universe which automatically puts it in an exceptional position. Only one year after Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the beginning of the new trilogy which got lots of positive fan reactions, Rogue One was probably the more exciting project because it was harder to determine what to expect. In addition to that, there are characters never seen before in any other installment and Disney was very secretive about their project as well.

When more and more information that director Gareth Edwards (Monsters, Godzilla) might have some issues editing a final cut that would satisfy the people in charge at Disney's saw the day of light, the nervousness was transfered to the fanbase as well. When reshoots with costs of several millions were made and when Tony Gilroy was hired as third editor, a lot of people had a sense of foreboding.

But the fact of the matter is that after the main shoot, one realizes in the editing room that a few reshoots for particular scenes are required in order to have a better pace. Almost none of the high-budgeted blockbusters have no reshoots at all. Except in the case of Rogue One, a lot of reshoots were required and causes a little tension even though similar examples such as Men in Black 3 or the Brad Pitt zombie flick World War Z turned out to be just fine.

Three weeks after its theatrical release, Rogue One made $817 million worldwide and counting. On the one hand, this is a result of Rogue One being part of the Star Wars franchise, of course. On the other hand, the result is not as bad as some people expected due to the numerous reshoots. In fact, the result is quite satisfying and the movie did not suffer from negative buzz marketing either. And yet, the question what was changed remains. For instance, the very first trailer contains a few scenes that did not make it in the Final Cut. So, what do the produers have to say after they can be relieved that the money is rolling in?

The Reshoots and What's Behind Them


For starters, there are the three cutters from the editing room who actually edited the Final Cut. In an interview with Yahoo! Movies, they shed some light. They explained that they had been aware of where the movie was standing the entire time and that they had to add a few things:

I think everyone knew, from the offset, everything was always scheduled from day one for there to be pickups like on every film. We did exactly the same thing on ‘Monsters’, we always knew we were going to go back and do pickups, and it was the same thing with ‘Rogue One’, it was just something that was on the schedule.

What they realized during the editing process was that the introduction of a few of the characters was too abrupt. Jyn Erso for example originally appeared during the interrogation by the Rebels for the very first time. Thanks to the reshoots, the rescue from a prisoner transport was added while Rebel agent Cassian Andor was being introduced via his mission during which he collects important information. Also, the deserted imperial pilot Bodhi Rook is being introduced differently. Now, he is a hostage being taken across the desert to Saw Gerrera. In retrospect, this makes a lot of sense from the cutters' point of view.

The point with the opening scenes that John was just describing was that the introductions in the opening scene, in the prologue, was always the same. Jyn’s just a little girl, so when you see her as an adult what you saw initially was her in a meeting. That’s not a nice introduction. So having her in prison and then a prison break out, with Cassian on a mission… everybody was a bit more ballsy, or a bit more exciting, and a bit more interesting.

In the third act with the final battle that is almost an hour long, things have changed as well. Tony Gilroy refused to reveal too many details but he implied that the order of events has changed.

It changed quite a bit. The third act has a lot going on. You have like seven different action venues, the mechanics of the act changed quite a bit in terms of the characters, and I don’t want to go into too much detail about what had been there before, but it was different.


We moved some of the things that our heroes did, they were different in the original then they were as it was conceived.

Removed Footages and the Probability of an Extended Cut


The answer to the question if there was footage worth being released as deleted scenes was clear: Maybe 10 minutes but nothing substancial because the movie was not cut for time issues but because it just made sense to remove this and that. For that reason, an Extended Cut is rather unlikely because there is no ominous 4-hour-version of Rogue One.

John Gilroy: I don’t know. For me, no. I can’t think of anything.

Colin Goudie: There’s a handful that if people see them they’ll be like ‘oh that’s interesting’, but I don’t think there’s anything whereby you’d be like ‘why did they cut that out?’

John Gilroy: We were in a different position. It wasn’t like ‘the movie’s great, but we have to lose 10 minutes’ or whatever. It was a different situation.


I think the first assembly was not far off actual release length. Maybe 10 minutes longer? I genuinely can’t remember because that was nearly a year ago now. There’s no mythical four hour cut, it doesn’t exist.

As Ben Mendelsohn, he plays the character Orson Krennic, explained in an interview with Collider, several variations of scenes were shot so that one more footage available for the Final Cut. According to Mendelsohn, this was the case with a lot of scenes and even he was not aware which takes Gareth Edwards and the others would pick.

I heard from a lot of the people I’ve spoken to –and I could be wrong– that when you shot it they would sort of play it multiple ways on set, so that way in the editing room…

MENDELSOHN: Yep, absolutely, very much. We did have multiple, multiple ways of going at any given scenario, we had multiple readings of it. So should they ever decided to, there would be a wealth of ways of approaching these different things. And I know from having seen sort of the crucial kind of scenes throughout it, I know there’s vastly different readings of at least four of those scenes.

So in essence there’s basically a completely different version of the movie that could be played on like an alternate cut of the entire film.

MENDELSOHN: Absolutely, with enormous differences within I would’ve said 20 or 30 of the scenes.

That’s crazy.

MENDELSOHN: There really would be. There would be enormously different renderings.


What Alterations Happened in the Screenplay?


Something that had not been decided during the shoot but during the pre-production was the fate of Jyn Erso and entourage. As Edwards told EmpireOnline, he did not believe he could let these characters die at first. As a result, there is also a scriped but never shot version of the finale in which said characters survive. But the studio bosses encouraged him that it would make perfect sense in the context of the story.

“I think there was an early version [of the screenplay] — the very first version they didn’t [die] in,” he explained. “It was just assumed by us that we couldn’t [kill the cast] and they’re not gonna let us do that. So we’re trying to figure out how this ends where that doesn’t happen. And then everyone read that [first screenplay], and there was just this feeling of like, ‘They gotta die, right?’ And everyone was like, ‘Yeah, can we?’ And we thought we weren’t gonna be allowed to, but Kathy [Kennedy, Lucasfilm President] and everyone at Disney were like, ‘Yeah, makes sense.'”


After recapping all that information, one might get to the conclusion that Rogue One - A Star Wars Story is one of the movies with a very good result - despite all the turbulences during its production. Even though the producers and fans were more worried than they originally hoped for.

Release: Jan 19, 2017 - Author: Mike Lowrey - Translator: Tony Montana - Source: Yahoo!Movies

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