Last year, I had a very popular piece entitled "What Really Happened On the Set of Rogue One." It ran a few months before "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" would even come out. It turned out to be the site's most popular article ever. An insider close to the production had given us a glimpse of the chaotic production that was happening within the film's shoot. Suffice to say, and we won't go into all the details, but multiple version of the film exist, Deleted scenes that supposedly number in the hundreds, and every time somebody from the film talks about it, it always turns out to be a fascinating conversation.
Director Gareth Edwards just spoke to Fandango, here are the most fascinating tidbits we gathered.
On the deleted scenes:
“The stuff people talk about, like what they saw in the trailer, they’re not scenes you can just put on a DVD. They’re moments within scenes and threads, and you pull a thread and it all changes. It was changing the whole time. It’s not like there was one version and then there was this other version — it was like this thing that incrementally evolved constantly through all of post-production and didn’t stop until there was a gun at our heads and we were forced to release the movie,”
On the most famous deleted shot: Jyn Erso and the TIE fighter
“….it’s going to have to remain a myth because it’s sort of the thing where you’re trying ideas out to find the right version of the movie, and at the same time marketing is getting excited about certain shots and moments. Eventually you’ll see something presented to you and you’ll be like, wait a minute, this shot is no longer in the film,” he added, while also saying the VFX for many of those scenes are still unfinished.
On adding Darth Vader in the last minute:
“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. Kathy [Kennedy] came in and Jabez thought, f**k it, and pitched her this idea, and she loved it. Suddenly within a week or two, we were at Pinewood shooting that scene,”
On the very different ending:
“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.”
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” comes out on Blu-ray March 24th and on DVD April 4th.