Based on the recent success of Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens, it is safe to say that interest in the franchise is at an all-time high. While fans are eager to find out the future for the new cast of characters in that movie, they will have to wait until next year to learn those answers. Right now, Disney and Lucasfilm are nearing the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which will be the first non-episodic/saga film set within the galaxy far, far away.
There has still been plenty of interest in the film, but not all of the buzz has been positive. There has been a big deal made over multiple conflicting reports regarding the length and nature of Rogue One's reshoots, with the more extreme reports claiming that as much as 50% of the movie had been reshot due to concerns over its tone. This is not likely to affect the opening weekend box office numbers, but audience members in the know could be a bit more skeptical heading in. However, Felicity Jones says these reshoots were always in the plan, and were used to make the film better.
Jones recently did a profile piece with THR and the story eventually shifted towards her upcoming role as Jyn Erso in Rogue One. All of the reshoot talk has only added to the weight on Jones' shoulders as she leads the Star Wars franchise into unfamiliar territory. She explained the reshoots as a means to deliver fans the best film possible, because there is always room for improvement.
"Obviously when you come to the edit, you see the film come together and you think, 'Actually, we could do this better, and this would make more sense if we did this.' I've done it so many times. I mean, you wouldn't just give your first draft on this story, would you?"
Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy also spoke to THR about the reshoot stories that have been popular online, stating that this has only become a big deal because of the Star Wars brand the film is attached to.
"I'm sure if you picked up the phone and called every single large, technical movie and said, 'You ever gone in and done reshoots?' they'd all say, 'Oh God, yes.' So why has it turned into a big story? Because it's Star Wars, and they put a spotlight and scrutinize every single thing that gets done. But it was always planned and nothing unusual."
Outside of the reshoots, Jones has a big task on her hands to lead this film and bring audiences back to a time before Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. How she is able to portray Jyn and make her a believable, likable, and relatable lead will be a big part in getting audiences to follow her story. Jones seems to have even had a lot of fun crafting the way in which Jyn walks and fights.
"So much of Jyn is movement. It became a very important part of finding her. She walks almost a bit like a caged animal. Her fight sequences become like dances."
Ever since the first reports of reshoots came out, people have been either quick to worry or quick to defend the Star Wars franchise. This is a story that will undoubtedly continue to pop up right until the day Rogue One premieres, and potentially afterwards as well. If Rogue One is a success like so many people are hoping for, then the conversation surrounding the reshoots will be positive or non-existent. However, if Rogue One disappoints, then conversations could quickly turn to studio interference, questioning Gareth Edwards, and could ultimately affect whether the future of these anthology films in the Star Wars universe. It is way to early to tell right now which way events will unfold, but everyone should see the film with an open mind regardless of how they feel about the reshoots, and let the final product be the deciding factor.
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.