Hindsight being what it is, it’s clear that Disney and Lucasfilm made all the right decisions concerning Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. That all comes after a good deal of doubt surrounding the lead-up, especially after a series of reshoots had us all scratching our heads. Given the unmitigated disaster of Suicide Squad‘s reshoot process, it was hard not to feel similarly anxious in the case of Rogue One. Thankfully, all the last minute tweaks made by the studio ended up working out beautifully, delivering a worthy addition to the Star Wars saga. But what exactly changed from pre-production to the final cut?
1. Cassian’s introduction
As part of Disney’s reshoots for Rogue One, a few key scenes were added to flesh out our main crew. That gave Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) a whole new introductory sequence, where we see just how far he’ll go for the Rebel cause. In it, Cassian gains intel on the Death Star from an informant, who he later shoots and kills to aid in his own escape from Imperial Stormtroopers. In retrospect, it’s an important scene that firmly establishes his motivations, while providing a clear starting point for his eventual evolution as a character.
2. Jyn’s rescue on Wobani
We’re not sure how Jyn Erso fell into Rebel hands in the first draft of Rogue One, but her rescue from an Imperial transport on Wobani wasn’t anywhere in the plans originally. It was later added as part of the reshoot process, including the moment K-2SO clotheslines Jyn as she flees her Rebel saviors, informing her, “Congratulations. You are being rescued.”
3. More scenes defining Bodhi Rook’s character
Riz Ahmed’s wonderfully frenetic and fast-talking performance as Bodhi Rook was one of the many highlights of Rogue One. He didn’t always have as much to do in the role though, with the reshoot process adding more scenes to flesh out his character. All this was part of a larger effort from editor Tony Gilroy to “reconceptualize” the original cut of the film, and from the look of it, that’s exactly what he accomplished.
4. Darth Vader’s scenes aboard the Death Star
If you kept a close eye on the trailers leading up to Rogue One‘s release, you may have noticed a series of scenes left out of the final version of the film. More specifically, a series of scenes showing us Darth Vader aboard the bridge of the Death Star were cut, replaced by the sequence where Director Krennic visits the Sith Lord at his castle on Mustafar.
5. Cassian, Jyn, and K-2SO’s last stand on the beaches of Scarif
The Star Wars Celebration sizzle reel that debuted last year featured tons of behind-the-scenes footage, including a slow-motion capture of Jyn and Cassian running across the beaches of Scarif with the Death Star plans in-hand. As we now know, Jyn and Cassian transmitted the Death Star plans at the top of the Citadel, with K-2SO perishing in the process. The original plan for all three seemed to include a last stand on the beaches of Scarif, hinted at by a recent “making of” video that shows Alan Tudyk as K-2SO getting shot outside a bunker and collapsing aside Cassian’s body.
6. The original ending was far less grim
Rogue One set itself apart from its Star Wars predecessors in a big way when it ruthlessly killed off every single one of its main characters in the climactic final battle. It wasn’t always that way though, with Gareth Edward’s original draft of the screenplay keeping a handful of our primary players alive. But after getting permission from Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, Edwards had the green-light to kill any and everyone off.
In fact, the scenes where the main crew survives were never even shot. “I kept waiting for someone to go, ‘You know what? Could we just film an extra scene where we see Jyn and Cassian, they’re okay and they’re on another planet?’” Edwards told the Empire Magazine podcast. “And it never came. No one ever gave us that note, so we got to do it.”
7. Darth Vader’s hallway murder spree was only added after reshoots
There were plenty of nods to fans throughout Rogue One, but nothing delighted audiences more than Darth Vader’s final scene, where he viciously cut through a score of Rebels. That being so, it’s strange to think that there was a version of Rogue One that didn’t include that sequence. “That was something conceptualized a little later,” editor John Gilroy told Yahoo Movies. In the end, it was without question, the best, most effective change of all the various tweaks made by the studio.
8. The scene of Jyn in the lit-up hallway was never going to make it into the actual film
Perhaps the most recognizable shot from the trailers involved Jyn in disguise, turning around to face the camera in a narrow, circular hallway. Unfortunately, Director Gareth Edwards never had any intention of actually including it in the finished product. Edwards said as much in an interview with the Director’s Guild Podcast, telling them how shooting the sequence “was just a way for the crew of understanding, for now, we’re just going to do loads of random shit.” We only ended up seeing it ourselves after the marketing team picked it from a collection of dailies given to them to cut the trailers.
9. Saw Gerrera’s scenes were heavily altered in the reshoot process
The Saw Gerrera we see in Rogue One was a broken, paranoid militant, entering into the latter days of his life as a guerilla fighter. The trailers though seemed to indicate that we’d also see a much younger version of the character, evidenced by his shaved head and the lack of grey in his beard. That sequence also included a monologue seemingly addressed to Jyn, cautioning her on the risks of joining the fight against the Empire. In the end, Saw’s role was retooled in reshoots to inject him into the story as an older, more jaded combatant.
10. An iconic quote from Krennic got left on the cutting room floor
Leading up to Rogue One‘s eventual theatrical release, one of the most-quoted lines from the trailers came from Director Krennic. In the scene, Krennic is addressing Darth Vader aboard the Death Star, informing him that “the power we are dealing with here is immeasurable.” With Vader’s scenes consolidated and moved to his castle on Mustafar, that left the quotable delivery from Krennic on the cutting room floor.
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