With “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” leading directly into the original 1977 “Star Wars,” the spin-off tried hard to ensure continuity between the two films. That included the appearance of several key characters from the original with the same appearance they had in 1977.
SPOILERS AHEAD FOR “ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY”.
Much has already been written about the computer-generated resurrection of Grand Moff Tarkin (Peter Cushing) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) as they looked in ‘A New Hope’, a visual effects challenge that was very good but sadly not fully convincing.
More effective were the resurrections of Garven Dreis and Jon Vander as Red Leader and Gold Leader respectively in the X-wing battle over Scarif. The characters, who appeared in the original “Star Wars” Death Star trench sequence, had brief appearances here which director Gareth Edwards constructed with the help of never-before-used footage from the original film. He tells Radio Times:
“As we’re walking around, and doing all the cool things and looking at the Millennium Falcon and trying on Han Solo’s jacket and things like that, in the back at the bottom was all these cans of film and we said, ‘What are they?’ and they said, ‘Oh, it’s Star Wars.'”
Edwards found original negatives from A New Hope that included deleted scenes of the pilots, mainly from the Death Star attack at the end of the film including an X-Wing call sign exchange that didn’t make the final film.
He then figured out how to add the pilots’ scenes into the script during the Scarif battle. ILM then digitally cut around the footage of the pilots and inserted the characters into the cockpits used in Rogue One.
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is now in cinemas.