Last year saw a return to the quintessential sci-fi action adventure franchise with J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens - a new chapter of the Star Wars saga that was massively successful at the box office and won over long-time fans of the series. Additionally, with Lucasfilm - now under the Disney banner - returning to the Star Wars franchise, there are two more Episodes planned and three standalone anthology films set to be released in the coming years. The first of the anthology films, debuting this winter, is Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
This weekend in London is Star Wars Celebration Europe, celebrating all things Star Wars from the original trilogy and the prequels to the new movies and television series tied into the extended universe. During the panel for Rogue One, a making-of featurette was released, giving fans an inside look at the process, the people involved, and all the factors that came together to bring this particular Star Wars story into fruition.
Star Wars unveiled the featurette, which you can watch in its entirety above, that includes interviews with director Gareth Edwards, comments from the cast and fellow crew members about what it's like to work on a Star Wars film, and plenty of new footage from the upcoming film - including the final shot of Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) saying those all-too-familiar words: "May the force be with us."
Many of the cast and crew, particularly Jones, praise the practical effects of Rogue One, with glimpses of the costuming, practical explosions, and various sets of the upcoming Star Wars anthology film also visible throughout the featurette. Additionally, bits of green (or, in this case, blue) screen are visible, while Alan Tudyk is also shown in his motion capture suit, so Rogue One will not be entirely produced with practical effects - as was the case with The Force Awakens as well.
The making-of video also features an interview with Edwards talking about the pressures of coming into the Star Wars franchise, especially as a mega-fan of the original trilogy and finding that balance between honoring George Lucas' work while also adding something new to the series:
“The pressure’s so high... We’re making a film that’s right touching my favorite movie of all time, but then if you’re too respectful of it that you daren't do anything new or different or take a risk, then what are you bringing to the table?”
Of course, Edwards has a point in that the pressure on any of the new Star Wars films is incredibly high, though especially for Abrams' The Force Awakens as the first new chapter in the episode story and Rogue One as the first live-action Star Wars movie not set within the standard episodic trilogies. As the first anthology film, Rogue One will need to establish that Star Wars can be a profitable live-action sci-fi adventure franchise outside of the make series.
However, if everything we've seen from Rogue One is any indication, including this newest making-of video, Edwards and all those involved are genuinely invested in creating a compelling standalone addition to the Star Wars universe. Additionally, along with the fact that Lucasfilm and Disney hit a homerun with The Force Awakens, it seems fans have every reason to rest assured that Rogue One will be another hit in the Star Wars Franchise as well as the successful first step for the Star Wars anthology movies - hopefully building excitement for the next standalone following Han Solo.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in U.S. theaters on December 16, 2016, followed byStar Wars: Episode VIII on December 15, 2017, the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25, 2018, Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019, and the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.