Rogue One Director Addresses Reshoot Concerns
Not since Greedo vs. Han Solo have Star Wars fans been so obsessed over what was shot first.
Reports of additional filming this summer on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story have understandably alarmed the faithful, many of whom have interpreted that as a sign of trouble for the first stand-alone movie from Lucasfilm.
Others have found reassurance in the fact that reshoots are not only commonplace on large-scale films like this, they’re the norm for projects with deep pockets and the ability to regroup cast and crew for a few weeks of alteration late in the editing process.
Still, hand-wringing persists, partly because a Star Wars film is never just another movie. It’s one of the most powerful pop culture touchstones that exists, and now the pace of releasing films from this universe has increased to one a year, putting extra pressure on the studio and filmmakers to not mess up.
When Entertainment Weekly spoke with the makers of Rogue One for our new cover story, we asked them point-blank to discuss the reshoot situation and explain why it was necessary to change course.
But first, the background:
What is true and false?
Rumors about the reshoots are so varied, it’s hard to know what to believe. Some reports say nearly half the movie is being redone and that the tone is being shifted from heavy war film to a lighthearted caper.
EW’s sources have insisted that’s impossible — that an effects-heavy film like this couldn’t reshoot that much of its story in the summer and still be finished in time for the Dec. 16 debut. In our own deep-dive into the rumors, we found that about five weeks of reshoots were set, wrapping up just before Star Wars Celebration in mid-July.
Our confidential sources also revealed that Bourne screenwriter andMichael Clayton filmmaker Tony Gilroy was being brought in to write additional dialogue and direct some secondary units on the movie — alongside director Gareth Edwards, who collaborated with Gilroy in a similar capacity on 2014’s Godzilla.
But what fans want to know is: Why? What do they need that they didn’t capture the first time?
The movie has not been screened for test audiences, but EW’s sources on the film say that Lucasfilm’s in-house braintrust — which weighs in on films similarly to the way it’s done at Pixar — felt Rogue One needed to punch up its emotion and action beats. (They also confirm that although it went largely unreported last year, The Force Awakens also underwent weeks of reshoots in the summer of 2015.)
What do the filmmakers say?
Edwards was candid about the situation and even acknowledged in the interview that he was due back on set in the morning.
“I mean it was always part of the plan to do reshoots. We always knew we were coming back somewhere to do stuff. We just didn’t know what it would be until we started sculpting the film in the edit,” he says.
What’s the nature of the material being reshot? “There’s lots of little things that we have to get, but it’s all little things within the preexisting footage,” he said. One complication, he added, was that the cast is large, so individual shots with small groups of them add to the schedule.
“Obviously, you’ve got to work around everyone’s schedule, and everyone’s on different films all over the world, and so it’s a bit of a logistical nightmare,” he said. “That’s why I think it’s been blown out of proportion a little bit.”
He sounded exasperated by the wilder rumors. “It’s funny, making a film stops you believing anything you’ve ever read on the Internet,” he said.
Kathleen Kennedy, the president of Lucasfilm and producer of Rogue One, said the tone of the movie — which was billed as a Band of Brothers-style combat tale at last year’s Celebration event — isn’t being altered.
“There’s nothing about the story that’s changing, with a few things that we’re picking up in additional photography,” she said. “I think that’s the most important thing, to reassure fans that it’s the movie we intended to make.”
The entire article can be read on the official Entertainment Weekly website.