Given that Rogue One tells the story of how the Rebels stole the plans to the original Death Star, the thought going in was that it would end somewhat close to the beginning of A New Hope. What fans may not have expected was that Rogue One concludes literally moments before that seminal opening sequence, serving as a direct lead-in to the first film. With the spinoff about to hit home media, many viewers have plans to watch the two movies back-to-back, seeing the Alliance’s first major victory against the Empire in full – from the sacrifices made on Scarif to the triumph at Yavin.
For those who do not want to wait for the digital release on March 24, Vimeo user Barre Fong has already spliced the finale of Rogue One with the star of A New Hope in a super cut video that’s available to watch online. You can check it out for yourself above to see just how seamless the transition really is.
Obviously, Barre Fong removed the opening crawl that set the stage for the original Star Wars, but everything from Vader’s walk of death to the discovery the plans were jettisoned on an escape pod is there. Perhaps the most interesting takeaway from this edit is that despite nearly 40 years separating Rogue One and A New Hope, the sequences are pretty close in terms of visual consistency. Though the spinoff was made with the wonders of modern technology, it isn’t completely jarring to go from 2016 effects to the ones used in 1977. When Screen Rant visited ILM, we asked John Knoll about this challenge:
“One thing that was a general theme on the show was match your memory of things, not necessarily the reality of them. What that means is that we were depicting a lot of things that you had seen in the other films like the Yavin base and Star Destroyers and X-wings, and stormtroopers, and a lot of things that are very familiar. But when you go back and actually look at what was in the original film – we went out to the archive building out on the Ranch and we very extensively photographed a lot of those original miniatures. And, I remember them being better than they actually were in reality. So, what we would do was try and match how you remember them, not necessarily how they actually were.”
Based on what’s on the screen, it’s safe to say the ILM crew has excellent memory, as they were able to masterfully recreate the old designs of classic Star Wars ships and costumes for today’s moviegoers. When the first teaser trailer came out about a year ago, some fans had difficulty telling if the Star Destroyers were digital or models reminiscent of the ones used in the original trilogy. Knoll and his team seemed to be aware of the fact that people would be paying close attention to this and worked very hard to maintain a similar look. Obviously, the extensive space battle at Scarif relies heavily on technological advancements, but between the set construction and vehicles, everything felt like it could have been part of the first films. That attention to detail was very much appreciated and a big reason why Rogue One resonated with fans.
It’s good that ILM has figured out a strong approach to the visual effects in the new Star Wars films, especially since the next standalone is a young Han Solo prequel. For the sequel trilogy, it’s understandable if things look more evolved since those movies are set 30 years following Return of the Jedi. But for the pre-A New Hope era, the wizards at ILM have to find the tricky balance between working with the new tools available and making sure things stay constant. If Rogue One is any indication, they definitely have a firm grasp on their technique and it should be fun to see what else they come up with.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits Blu-ray April 4, 2017.