Earning over $1 billion worldwide, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is an unqualified hit for Disney and Lucasfilm, demonstrating that their focus on standalone Star Wars movies is a good decision. By blending Easter eggs and nostalgia with an action-packed and heart-wrenching story of a disparate group of Rebels, the film showed that Star Wars can exist outside of the Skywalker Saga and still earn big at the box office. As the franchise looks towards a Han Solo spinoff film and beyond, Rogue One will offer the template for how to make an anthology movie work.
Thanks to the success of the film though, it’s easy to forget how many people were saying it was dead on arrival when the movie went into reshoots early last year. While the process is standard procedure nowadays for most any blockbuster film, critics and naysayers used it as an opportunity to spread stories of Disney being unhappy with director Gareth Edwards’ vision. We know now, however, that those reshoots were simply to make a more cohesive finale. And now that we’ve seen it, we know it worked. Still, piecing all of that together was no easy task. But where once we only had a few behind-the-scenes images teasing the alternate ending, now we have word about what changed and why it need to be altered.
/Film spoke with Edwards about the changes made to Rogue One‘s ending, and the director explained the fairly straightforward reason why things had to be scrapped and redone:
“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.”
Those photos from a few months back showed part of the scene Edwards refers too. In them, you can see Jyn, Cassian, and K-2SO on the beach after having clearly retrieved the data they needed. While the scene was likely thrilling, it makes sense that Edwards would simply condense things and avoid all that extra runtime by just making the tower and base one and the same. As for whether we’ll get to see that Rogue One sequence, Edwards isn’t too sure:
“That’s a decision way above me! I don’t think there’s any plans to do it”
While unfortunate, the upcoming Blu-ray release will still allow fans to see plenty of Rogue One bonus features. The press for the home video release has also seen a lot more tidbits come out regarding the movie. Yesterday, we learned the humorous origin of the planet Scarif’s name. And today, we found out that the actor who played young Leia is keen to reprise the role, should she be asked. Expect more news and information in the coming weeks, before things shift towards this year’s The Last Jedi.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will be available on Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere on March 24th, and on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD, and On-Demand on April 4th.