While filming his cameo as a Resistance solider for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Rogue One director Gareth Edwards expressed concern that the Battle of Crait sequence would play too similar to his film. Last year, Lucasfilm took their first steps beyond the confines of the numbered episodes with a standalone anthology that detailed the Rebel Alliance’s capturing of the original Death Star plans. Rogue One earned praise from critics and fans for its gritty, war-torn aesthetic, which was magnificently illustrated in the climactic Battle of Scarif. While Star Wars has always had great action, Rogue One was the first time the brutality of war was displayed onscreen.
With The Last Jedi continuing the mainline series this year, it was widely expected it would maintain the established tone from the other saga entries, and for the most part it did (with numerous twists thrown in for good measure). However, there was one sequence in particular that hit close to home for Edwards: Crait. While many had drawn comparisons to The Empire Strikes Back‘s Hoth battle, the filmmaker noticed similarities to Rogue One.
In the book The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, costume supervisor David Crossman recalled the day Edwards shot his brief role and commented on how it reminded him of making his own movie set in a galaxy far, far away.
“For the shots along the trench in Crait, you see a lot more of the rebel army look: the helmets, smocks, hoods – a sort of proto-commando look with ammunition pouches on their chests. We’re hoping it doesn’t look too Rogue One, because we actually had Gareth Edwards as a guest rebel. He looked and went, ‘Well this is Rogue One.’ We’re like, ‘No, it’s not.’ [Laughs] I think that sort of thing works, whichever period of rebel you’re doing.”
With Rogue One still fresh in everyone’s minds, it’s easy to draw this parallel (especially with Edwards himself in the trenches). What’s more, the desperation of the Resistance during the Crait set piece bears some semblance to the running theme of the spinoff, as the group has been on the run from the First Order for the entire film and is on the ropes with extremely limited resources. Obviously, Crait and Scarif serve very different functions in their respective narratives, but the superficial connections are there for viewers to make. Johnson even said his inspiration for Crait’s design (white salt over red soil) was to be able to show “the real violence of a battle” in a PG-13 tentpole. When the fighting starts, the planet surface is completely white, but by the end, there’s red all over to visually symbolize the bloodshed. That sounds like a concept that would have been right at home in Rogue One.
While the Star Wars filmmakers drew the comparison in good jest, it does represent a danger of Lucasfilm releasing annual installments. With films in-development simultaneously, there’s always a risk two could unintentionally copy off each other and repeat familiar elements in close succession. It will be interesting to see how future films differentiate themselves from the growing crowd of projects, but with Rian Johnson in the early stages of piecing together his all-new trilogy, Star Wars could continue to innovate in the near future.
Source – The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi
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