[UPDATE: Christopher McQuarrie has denied his involvement with the Rogue One reshoots.]
The Star Wars fan community was recently thrown for a loop when it was revealed that this December's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story would be undergoing reshoots over the summer. Initial rumors claimed that Disney executives were in a state of panic following a poor test screening, but later reports stated that no audiences had seen the film. It's said that the reshoots are being done to lighten Rogue One's tone (making it more in line with A New Hope), as well as to add in a cameo for the newly minted young Han Solo, Alden Ehrenreich.
Reshoots are commonplace in Hollywood and a part of just about every tentpole production, but many viewers were concerned that this indicated Rogue One was in a bit of trouble. After the first wave of headlines, the current mood seems to have calmed down, with some saying that the reshoots are to elevate a good movie to a great one - ushering in the Star Wars Story line of films with a bang. As viewers speculate about what all this might mean, it's now been revealed just how extensive the Rogue One reshoots will be.
According to Making Star Wars (a definitive source for updates concerning the modern films), the Rogue One crew estimates that they are reshooting roughly 40 percent of the movie. They will be working six days a week for a period of eight weeks, and 32 sets have been built for this phase of the production. It was always expected there would be reshoots, it's just that they now might be more substantial than originally thought.
The primary reasoning for this boils down to the most recent draft of the Rogue One screenplay, which came from Oscar winning scribe Christopher McQuarrie. Apparently, McQuarrie's take on the script wasn't finished during principal photography. Director Gareth Edwards had already filmed most of the movie, and whatever revisions came through led to the final product feeling uneven. Making Star Wars says that McQuarrie's work is considered a marked improvement from what Edwards was working with originally. McQuarrie will be with Edwards during the reshoots to ensure that the two remain "on the same page" regarding this latest version of Rogue One.
In all honesty, this sounds like a positive development that illustrates how committed Lucasfilm is to the first spinoff. Instead of coasting by on the Star Wars name and releasing something allegedly inferior, they're putting the extra work in to make Rogue One the best film possible. The involvement of McQuarrie is certainly welcomed news, as he's had a hand in some acclaimed genre projects in the past (last year's Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, for instance). It's better Edwards and company iron out any problems with the film now while there's still plenty of time prior to the premiere. Even if the reshoots run from July to September, that still gives the team three months in post. J.J. Abrams didn't lock final picture on The Force Awakens until November 2015 - a month before release. These things are rarely rushed.
The sky may not be falling, but the hullabaloo around the Rogue One reshoots has cast a cloud over one of the year's most anticipated films. Thankfully, Star Wars Celebration 2016 is in about a month (as of this writing), and will feature a panel headlined by Edwards and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. It's thought that the two will bring the second Rogue One trailer with them, and all it takes is one great preview to make everyone excited again. Especially if any footage showcases a certain Dark Lord of the Sith, the hype train will have successfully been restarted.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in U.S. theaters on December 16, 2016, followed by Star 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.
Source: Making Star Wars