It was pretty clear to anyone who’d seen a trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story that the much publicised reshoots led to some rather major changes in December’s blockbuster Anthology movie, particularly during the climactic battle on Scarif. And, speaking to Slash Film, director Gareth Edwards has now offered some insight into the original ending, and the reasons behind why it was changed.
“I think the main thing that changed at the end…what used to happen, and you can get a sense of this in the early trailers, the transmission tower for the plans was separate from the main base on Scarif. To transmit the plans, they had to escape and run along the beach and go up the tower. In cutting the film, it just felt too long. We had to find ways to compress the third act, which was quite long as it was. And one real, fast, brutal solution was to put the tower in the base, so they don’t have to run across the beach and do all of that stuff to get there. That became a decision that eliminated the shots you see in the trailer of the back of Cassian and Jyn and the AT-ATs. That was some of the reinvention that happened. It was all to do with compression.”
It has also previously been revealed that Darth Vader’s final scene battling the Rebel Troopers was a last minute addition during reshoots, and Edwards also discussed how that came about:
“He arrives and obliterates the Calamari ship, and then the blockade runner gets out just in time and he pursues the blockade runner. And then [editor Jabez Olssen] was like, ‘I think we need to get Darth on that ship,’ and I thought, yeah, that’s a brilliant idea and would love to do it, but there’s no way they’re going to let us do it. It’s a big number and we had, what, like three or four months before release. Kathleen Kennedy came in and Jabez thought, fuck it, and pitched her this idea, and she loved it. Suddenly within a week or two, we were at Pinewood shooting that scene.”
Sadly, the home-entertainment release of Rogue One doesn’t include any deleted scenes, and Edwards pretty much ruled out the possibility of fans getting the chance to see the film’s original ending, stating: “That’s a decision way above me! I don’t think there’s any plans to do it.”
From Lucasfilm comes the first of the Star Wars standalone films, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, an all-new epic adventure. In a time of conflict, a group of unlikely heroes band together on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star, the Empire’s ultimate weapon of destruction. This key event in the Star Wars timeline brings together ordinary people who choose to do extraordinary things, and in doing so, become part of something greater than themselves.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story sees Gareth Edwards (Monsters) directing a cast that includes Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything), Diego Luna (Milk), Ben Mendelsohn (The Dark Knight Rises), Donnie Yen (Ip Man), Jiang Wen (Let the Bullets Fly), Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland), Alan Tudyk (Con Man), Riz Ahmed (Nightcrawler), Genevieve O’Reilly (Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith), Jimmy Smits (Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones), James Earl Jones (Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope), Valene Kane (The Fall), Alistair Petrie (The Night Manager), Warwick Davis (Star Wars: Episode IV – Return of the Jedi), Ian McElhinney (Game of Thrones) and Jonathan Aris (Sherlock).