During the press junket for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story last week, Lucasfilm screened 28 minutes of footage for attendees, and the reaction was very positive. As people raved about what they saw, director Gareth Edwards was able to breathe a much-needed sigh of relief, and fans already excited to return to the galaxy far, far away had another reason to look forward to the spinoff. After a marketing campaign that delivered one well-received trailer and TV spot after another, it sounds like Rogue One does indeed live up to the hype - though the first wave of full reviews will be the greater indicator.
The film may be riding a wave of positive buzz now, but over the summer the conversation surrounding Rogue One was more doom and gloom. It's well-known now that the project underwent extensive reshoots, perhaps pickups that went beyond what is typical on a major studio tentpole. As the studio worked on fixing the alleged issues of Rogue One, many became concerned about the movie's potential quality. However, those involved with the film believe that the reshoots are an illustration more of Lucasfilm's supreme dedication than anything else.
In an interview with the L.A. Times, Rogue One star Riz Ahmed (who plays Bodhi Rook), discussed the second wave of photography and what moviegoers should take away from the whole endeavor:
“There were a ton of reshoots. But if people want to read anything into that, I’d encourage them to read into it the guts it takes to unpick stitching rather than just try to embroider over it, to make it right. I admire [Lucasfilm President] Kathleen [Kennedy] and Gareth and the whole team for having the guts to go, ‘Let’s reopen this. Let’s do some of this again.’ I think it’s because they really care — and hopefully that’s something that shows when people see the film.”
Ahmed makes a good point. The easy way out would be to gloss over any problems the initial cut had, but the team instead decided to take advantage of their endless resources and put in the hard work to make Rogue One right. There's a lot riding on the film, since it is the first installment in the series to take place outside of the main Skywalker family saga. Disney's plan is to release a new Star Wars entry each year for the foreseeable future, and Kennedy has talked about the core saga coming to a close eventually. It's important that these anthology projects are hits from both a critical and commercial perspective; all it takes is one misstep for everything to go awry. If "a ton of reshoots" were required to improve Rogue One, then that's the way to go.
Fortunately, it seems like the tumultuous process was worth it and Rogue One will ultimately go down as another worthwhile trip to the beloved universe. As Edwards told the L.A. Times, some of the best films have infamous stories about how difficult they were to make (with the original Star Wars being no exception). He likened his experience of directing Rogue One to the mission Jyn Erso and company embark on, saying, "You end up feeling like the characters in the film, that we’re trying to do this impossible task. Their pretend one is to steal the Death Star plans but the actual one is to make a great Star Wars film.” Given that Rogue One has the stamp of approval of George Lucas himself, Edwards was successful.
Source: LA Times
- Star Wars: Rogue One / Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) release date: Dec 16, 2016
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018