One of the most talked about yet awkward issues with the upcoming Gareth Edwards-directed “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is that of reshoots. It’s no secret that the first of the “Star Wars” spin-off films underwent extensive reworking with the help of Tony Gilroy who re-wrote and reportedly directed some redone portions of the film.
When the initial reports came out, the rumor was that Disney wasn’t pleased with Edwards’ early dark and gritty cut and wanted something a bit more in line with regular “Star Wars”. Talking with the press recently, Edwards addressed the reports telling The L.A. Times that Disney wanted to make the best movie possible – resulting in the scale of the movie increasing dramatically:
“I’d say a third of the movie or more has this embedded documentary style to it, and as a result, we shot hours and hours and days and days of material. Normally, when you put a film together it goes together like A-B-C-D-E and you move on. Whereas we had so many permutations, so many different ways it could be constructed, it took longer in the edit to find the exact version.
We’d always planned to do a pickup shoot, but we needed a lot of time to figure out all this material and get the best out of it. So that pushed the entire schedule in a big way. Then Disney saw the film and reacted really well and they said, ‘Whatever you need, we’re going to support you.’ Our visual-effects shot count went from 600 to nearly 1,700, so suddenly we could do absolutely anything we wanted. To design 1,000 visual effects shots should take a year, so it was all hands to the pump and we never came up for air really until about a week ago.
Things kept improving constantly and the film was getting better and better – and if you’re improving it, you don’t stop. I think any other movie you would say, ‘That’ll do. We’re going to get a hit.’ But ‘Star Wars’ is going to live forever if you do it properly. We just can’t let it go. You’ve got keep going until they [snatch] it out of your hands.”
Edwards didn’t really discuss Gilroy’s involvement. Actor Riz Ahmed, who stars as one of the key characters in the film, backs up Edwards’ claims:
“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.”
We’ll see the result when “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” opens on December 16th and that same week around much of the rest of the world, aside from China which gets it January 6th.