A few weeks ago, news that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story would be undergoing reshoots sent the internet into a frenzy, especially when rumors began circulating that Disney executives were unhappy with an early cut that Gareth Edwards had delivered. At the time, I pointed out that additional photography was a fairly common thing, especially for major blockbusters, and I didn’t really buy the idea that Disney ordered the reshoots at the last minute.
But the internet rumor mill quickly took on a life of its own, with stories claiming that approximately 40% of the film would be shot again. From a logistics standpoint, this is almost impossible – Rogue One features a huge ensemble cast, and will no doubt require a hefty number of visual effects in post-production. The possibility of reshooting nearly half of the film and still having it ready for a theatrical release in less than six months just doesn’t seem plausible.
As part of their ongoing coverage of Rogue One, Entertainment Weekly has basically confirmed my original theory: like most studio tentpoles, reshoots were always part of the budget, and the schedule (it’s worth noting that The Force Awakens also underwent several weeks of reshoots, and no one batted an eye about that). Bourne franchise writer Tony Gilroy was brought onboard to write some additional dialogue to punch up the film’s emotional beats, and he’ll also be directing some second-unit material alongside Edwards (the two worked together in a similar capacity on 2014’s Godzilla reboot).
Edwards himself confirmed that he anticipated reshoots from the very beginning:
“It was always part of the plan to do reshoots. We always knew we were coming back somewhere to do stuff. We just didn’t know what it would be until we started sculpting the film in the edit… There’s lots of little things that we have to get, but it’s all little things within the preexisting footage… Obviously, you’ve got to work around everyone’s schedule, and everyone’s on different films all over the world, and so it’s a bit of a logistical nightmare… That’s why I think it’s been blown out of proportion a little bit.”
Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, who also serves as producer on Rogue One, was also quick to dismiss rumors that the film’s tone would be changed from Edwards’ original vision of a visceral war epic to something more light-hearted:
“There’s nothing about the story that’s changing, with a few things that we’re picking up in additional photography. I think that’s the most important thing, to reassure fans that it’s the movie we intended to make. One of the things we’re doing with these Star Wars stories is embracing the uniqueness of the different genres, and we’re very deliberately leaning into the various styles of directors that we’re approaching so that each of these movies will very intentionally have a very different tone and style from the saga films.
Gareth has shown a stylistic preference that’s much more handheld, visceral, inside-the-action kind of feel. He does a lot of handheld, intimate, close-up work. That’s not something you’ve necessarily seen in a Star Wars movie before… and it just gives it a really unique style.”
So there you have it, straight from the source: there’s nothing to see here. As usual, the internet took something completely innocuous and blew it out of proportion, and it sounds like Rogue One will be just fine. With the reshoots wrapping up prior to Star Wars Celebration, here’s hoping we get a new trailer during the event, so we can get a better idea of what Edwards and his team are doing to expand the Star Wars universe.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will hit theaters on December 18.
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