With only two weeks of theatrical release under its belt, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has already rocked the box office, situating itself within the top ten highest grossing films of 2016. Though this success is hardly surprising given the astronomical power the franchise has in America, it certainly is pleasant news for Disney and Lucasfilm – which will likely use the film’s success to greenlight more spin-offs after 2018’s Han Solo-centered prequel.
Since the first Star Wars film premiered in 1977, creating prequels that honor the original films is an involved process, to say the least. Viewers are already buzzing about Rogue One‘s semi-controversial employment of CGI, and the prequel is loaded with a number of Easter eggs that make it quite the nostalgic watch for some fans. While the film definitely referenced its twentieth-century predecessors, though, its story and themes were uniquely Rogue One. From the film’s original characters to its dramatic ending, this blockbuster threw curveball after curveball at fans of a galaxy far, far away — and apparently, director Gareth Edwards had even more surprises up his sleeve.
In a recent interview with Collider, actor Ben Mendelsohn discussed what it was like to film the prequel with Edwards. In the film, Mendelsohn plays the ruthless Director Orson Krennic, a key player in the Death Star’s creation. Though the character in the final cut comes across as relatively desperate and driven by frustration, Mendelsohn reveals that there are a whole host of different cuts of the film that offer different interpretations. According to Mendelsohn:
“We did have multiple, multiple ways of going at any given scenario, we had multiple readings of it. So should they ever decided to, there would be a wealth of ways of approaching these different things. And I know from having seen sort of the crucial kind of scenes throughout it, I know there’s vastly different readings of at least four of those scenes.”
The actor even confirms that there essentially exists an alternate cut of the film, “with enormous differences within I would’ve said 20 or 30 of the scenes.” These various performances were integral to the development of original characters like Krennic as the shoot progressed.
It’s fascinating to learn just how involved Edwards’ shooting process was, given that the Rogue One director was still relatively new to the world of big-budget filmmaking. With just Godzilla and Monsters under his belt, many were unsure what to expect from the British director, It’s great to see, then, that Edwards took the enormous responsibility of a Star Wars prequel very seriously, and did his utmost to develop its new characters and produce an engaging story.
With the Rogue One DVD release rumored for April, it’s safe to say we all hope that some of those “alternate scenes” are released to the public. The film did have a lot to take on, between telling an action-packed story and developing nearly ten new characters, so it would be fascinating to see the different paths those characters might have taken in another cut. The implications for Krennic are especially interesting, given that the character offers a subtly complex interpretation of the franchise’s notorious Dark Side. In films that have been criticized for their black-and-white interpretations of good vs. evil, it would have been interesting to see Rogue One push Krennic’s frantic desperation even further.
Whether we get to see these alternate scenes or not, it’s definitely cool to know they’re out there, and maybe we’ll be able to piece together some specifics about them from future cast/crew interviews. Until then — or until April — we’ll just have to do what fans do best: speculate.