Gareth Edwards Shot ‘Rogue One’ Like A War Documentary

By December 4, 2016
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With less than two weeks until the release of Rogue One, Disney and Lucasfilm are in the midst of their final marketing push for the Star Wars film.

During a press junket over the weekend, director Gareth Edwards opened up to Collider about his approach to ensuring that Rogue One would feel different than the “saga” films. Like creating a war film that just happened to be set in the Star Wars universe, an idea that traces back to the earliest stages of development.

“One of the early experiments we did was taking real war photography – pictures of Vietnam and conflicts in the Middle East and World War II – and we literally Photoshopped Rebel helmets on the tops of the real soldiers. And we looked at this stuff, and it was really effective. There was something about the realism of that, and we showed it to Kathy [Kennedy] and Disney and everyone was like, ‘Go make that movie, that looks great.'”

In order to capture the feeling of a galaxy at war, Edwards and his team adopted a somewhat unorthodox approach, shooting the action in a documentary style, which the director describes as being like “embedded filmmakers in a war zone.” The result left them with “hours and hours and hours” of footage, and whittling it down to a digestible length turned out to be a tall order.

Edwards admitted that his original assembly cut was “too long,” and likened the editing process to “a game of Jenga – take this out, put this in, and try to keep it all still working.” The finished result left plenty of material on the cutting room floor, but unlike some of this year’s other major studio releases, Edwards isn’t making plans for an extended director’s cut.

“I have no idea what they’re planning right now. I image there are some scenes that will be on the disc or something like that, but we haven’t decided any of that stuff yet.  The film is what it is – I feel like it’s a sport.

“They blow the whistle, and you get the result – you won, or you lost. I feel like what comes out in the cinema is Rogue One.”

Fans won’t be waiting much longer to find out whether Edwards and his team won or lost. Rogue One will open in theaters on Dec. 16.

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Brent Hankins

Brent Hankins

Contributing Writer at GeekNation
Brent Hankins is a member of the Phoenix Critics Circle and co-host of the Drinks and Discourse podcast. He's also the proud owner of an Italian Greyhound named Sullivan. He's adorable (the dog, not the author).