Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Creators offer Insight into the Reshoot Concerns

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Over the past few weeks, numerous stories have emerged about reshoots on the first of the Star Wars stand-alone films, and fans became nervous and jittery about the new film. What is the real story behind these reshoots? Entertainment Weekly has learned the answers about the state of the project — including hearing directly from the creators. Read on for more.

 

 

Reports from late May claimed that Disney wasn’t happy with the Rogue One rough cut they saw and demanded that the film undergo several weeks worth of additional shooting. Other rumors pointed towards major changes in the films tone that would require over 40-50 percent of the movie being reshot or altered. This by itself worried many Star Wars fans around the world, and most took it as an alarming sign of trouble for the first stand-alone film.

 

What is the nature of these new reshoots? Is it the major tonal overhaul reports have talked about, or was the additional footage always pre-planned like the studio suggests? Recently, Lucasfilm has attempted to put all the rumors and alarms to rest by publicly explaining that the reshoots are meant only to enhance character development and a few other little tidbits.

 

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Entertainment Weekly caught up with the creators of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and asked them if they could explain the additional reshoots and help shed some light on all these ugly rumors floating around cyberspace.

 

But first, the background:

What is true and false?

Rumors about the reshoots are so varied, it’s had 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 and Michael 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.)

 

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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.”

 

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What is the tone?

By all accounts, it’s still a war film. Always has been, from the first pitch by ILM visual effects supervisor John Knoll, and will be when it hits theaters in December.

“One of the things we’re doing with these Star Wars stories is embracing the uniqueness of the different genres, and we’re very deliberately leaning into the various styles of directors that we’re approaching so that each of these movies will very intentionally have a very different tone and style from the saga films,” Kennedy says, referring to the trilogy movies. “Gareth has shown a stylistic preference that’s much more handheld, visceral, inside-the-action kind of feel.”

She said that remains the look and the feel of Rogue One. “He does a lot of handheld, intimate, close-up work. That’s not something you’ve necessarily seen in a Star Wars movie before,” Kennedy says. “And we brought in [cinematographer] Greig Fraser, to shoot it, who had done Zero Dark Thirty. So a combination of Greig and Gareth has been, I think, fantastic, and it just gives it a really unique style.”

Edwards reiterated that the hardscrabble vibe of the movie has not been undermined.

“I’d definitely describe it as: It’s got dark tone,” he said. “The studio has been very supportive of that. I mean, the sort of tone we were going for when we started was the tone you have in films like The Empire Strikes Back. And that’s not in any way been compromised.”

 

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What happens now?

Another thing they’re grappling with, Kennedy says, (and it has nothing to do with the reshoots) is whether Rogue One should incorporate some of the standard tropes of a Star Wars film, like an opening crawl, or whether it should distance itself stylistically from the “saga” trilogy films.

“We talk about that all the time. It’s something that we’re right in the midst of discussing even now, so I don’t want to say definitively what we’re doing,” she said. “The crawl and some of those elements live so specifically within the ‘saga’ films that we are having a lot of discussion about what will define the [stand-alone] Star Wars Stories separate and apart from the saga films. So we’re right in the middle of talking about that.”

As for the reshoots on Rogue One, it’s as natural for the people involved in a film to want to protect it as it is for fans of a franchise to feel anxious or uncertain about it. Edwards said he understood the concern. “We have a lot of attention on this. I’d be [worried] the same if I wasn’t involved in it,” he said. “So it’s just part of the privilege of making Star Wars. But hopefully, people will get to see it when it comes out, and everyone will feel the same way we do.”

He also said fans should try to understand that retooling is an important part of telling a story. “A film is a very creative, organic process, and it evolves over time,” he says. “There’s no right or wrong. There’s just ‘better’ and ‘best,’ and with Star Wars, nothing but the best is going to do. So we’re just putting a lot of pressure on ourselves until the very end, making this the greatest film it can be.”

 

So what do you our readers think about all this news? Is this the standard big-budget additional photography, or is it simply damage control? Talk about it below.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theatres this December.

 

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48 thoughts on “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Creators offer Insight into the Reshoot Concerns

  • June 24, 2016 at 2:30 am
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    Test screenings as in friends and family of ILM/Disney employees or public? I’d love to be part of one of those, I don’t think I’ve known anyone who’s ever been part of a SW related one.

  • June 24, 2016 at 2:33 am
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    I heard they brought some SNL guys to write jokes about the Death sat and Darth Vader

    • June 24, 2016 at 4:24 pm
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      Nice try.

    • June 25, 2016 at 3:17 am
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      Why so serious?

  • June 24, 2016 at 2:50 am
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    Even though it’s an anthology film they should keep the crawl , it’s still Star Wars.

    • June 24, 2016 at 5:11 am
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      Crawls can be the exclusive of the episodic saga. It’s time for a different approach with these spinoffs.

      • June 24, 2016 at 6:53 am
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        I agree, personally I can live with or without the crawl for the standalone’s. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if the crawl was still included. If you think of solo stories from the video games like force unleashed or old republic, they kept the crawl. I know those are video games, yet still.

        On the other hand, they didn’t use the crawl for the tv series like Clone Wars or Rebels, so it is quite possible to see this as the first film in the franchise that doesn’t have that traditional opening.

    • June 24, 2016 at 7:05 am
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      It’s not just the crawl. Should the movie use those funky Star Wars wipes? How different do they go wit the music? It must be a really hard set of decisions. Try to maintain the feel but risk coming off as pastiche or go different and risk losing the Star Wars feel? I can see valid arguments either way.

    • June 25, 2016 at 7:58 am
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      It’s also the first Star Wars movie without John Williams doing the music. The crawl and Star Wars theme would be thematically out of place.

  • June 24, 2016 at 3:42 am
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    My 2 cents for the opening. No crawl. Just flash the Lucasfilm or whatever at the start… black screen for a second. BOOM! We start. Just jump right in. Doesn’t have to be action or anything. Just a location shot… that eases into following whatever is about to happen.

    Maybe never even have the title on screen until the credits. I’m assuming Rogue One will be mentioned in the movie itself.

    Either way I like the idea of having it so clearly separate from the saga.

    • June 24, 2016 at 5:09 am
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      I agree. One of the very interesting things about these standalone films is the freedom they are giving the individual filmmakers to make films in their own, unique way, not adhering to the episodic formula in terms of presentation, cinematography, and other details.

  • June 24, 2016 at 6:20 am
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    Next thing you know these movies won’t even be a long time ago in a galaxy far far away and Mickey Mouse will narrate the opening.

    • June 24, 2016 at 3:18 pm
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      Say the magic words to make the clubhouse appear! Miska-Mooska-Mickey-Moise

    • June 24, 2016 at 4:26 pm
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      Best.Sarcasm.Ever

    • June 24, 2016 at 4:57 pm
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      Starring nothing but quadruple-amputee, lesbian muslims who self-identify their gender as “kelp”.

      • June 24, 2016 at 5:50 pm
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        Every time a movie or TV show features someone other than a white hetero man, white hetero men come out of he woodwork whining about ‘political correctness’ and ‘SJWs’. News flash: you’re the minority, and the world is done giving you affirmative action.

        • June 24, 2016 at 6:59 pm
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          Holy Christ, grow a sense of humor you halfwit.

  • June 24, 2016 at 6:27 am
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    I am so fracking excited for this film.

  • June 24, 2016 at 7:44 am
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    I hope they keep the opening crawl. I always loved seeing the crawl on pretty much every Star Wars game I ever played.

    • June 24, 2016 at 3:17 pm
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      Interesting point. The games all had opening crawls…

      • June 24, 2016 at 4:53 pm
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        But CW didn’t. Text formatted the same as ALTA, then cold open on the first shot of the movie, then smash to the title. Don’t see why not to do the same thing with the anthology films.

        • June 24, 2016 at 4:58 pm
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          True, and I do enjoy the way Rebels opens.

  • June 24, 2016 at 8:38 am
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    Nice explanations. Good news.

  • June 24, 2016 at 11:58 am
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    My only concern was its tone. Since they’re confirming that “Rogue One” is going to be a war film, I can remain calm.

  • June 24, 2016 at 12:43 pm
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    As stated in the article, you’ll have to have a rough first cut to see what works and what doesn’t.

    So it’s perfectly normal for a movie of this caliber to have time locked in advance for pick-ups/ reshoots. Only because it’s Star Wars, the moment there’s talk about those reshoots, the drama ensues. Couple this with some loose (made-up?) rumors and bang, all of a sudden Rogue One is in trouble. Thus, this perfectly normal stage in the making of a movie is blown out of proportion.

    Anyhoo, I for one am getting more hyped every day about this movie. Also, I can’t wait to run to the nearest store and pick me up that new Lego At-St !

    • June 24, 2016 at 3:17 pm
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      I agree and support everything you said. People LOVE drama even if it isn’t true. That’s part of the reality TV society we live in. Everything is drama. Who cares if this is completely normal and happens on EVERY movie?…I on the other hand LOVE LEGOs! Have they confirmed the new sets for this film?

      • June 26, 2016 at 2:30 pm
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        Not officially, but there was a leak of pictures some weeks ago. If you google Lego Rogue One leak, you still might find some of them.

        And thanks. Also for originally finding (part) of those DS plans.. 🙂

  • June 24, 2016 at 2:10 pm
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    Smells like bullshit to me.

    • June 24, 2016 at 4:22 pm
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      Are you absolutely sure?

  • June 24, 2016 at 2:19 pm
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    I find Kennedy’s comment: ‘I think that’s the most important thing, to reassure fans that it’s the movie we intended to make’, the most worrisome.

    Does she mean the film Disney intended to make or the film Edwards intended to make? I hope it’s the latter.

    • June 24, 2016 at 7:52 pm
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      You’re assuming those are two different things. Lucasfilm hired Edwards & supervised the development of the movie. They’re not going to suddenly go “oh shit, is this what you thought we wanted you to make?” upon seeing an initial cut.

      I’m sure the truth is somewhere in the middle but I’m inclined to think it skews a lot further toward the “official” story than a bunch of unsourced internet rumors.

    • June 24, 2016 at 11:49 pm
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      She keeps saying “we” or “I” make movies. Seriously, I’d like to know what’s her input in the movies.

  • June 24, 2016 at 3:03 pm
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    I think the movie should open with “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” and then cut straight to the opening shot of the film. No Star Wars, no crawl and no John Williams music. Just have the title appear after a short prologue, with “a Star Wars story” underneath it (Star Wars Anthology would be even better, but whatever…). No one will then have any doubts that this is separate from the new trilogy.

    • June 24, 2016 at 4:22 pm
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      That sounds interesting actually.

      • June 24, 2016 at 4:52 pm
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        Worked just fine basically the same way for CW.

        • June 24, 2016 at 4:54 pm
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          Exactly!

        • June 24, 2016 at 5:07 pm
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          CW also had a voiceover intro though.

          • June 24, 2016 at 6:59 pm
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            The movie didn’t – just radio chatter.

    • June 24, 2016 at 6:57 pm
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      Oh man. Oh man. Picture this.

      The lights in the theater dim. The screen is black. [LUCASFILM] shimmers across and fades.

      Someone’s voice, grizzled by experience, utters “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…”

      The blackness cuts away completely to a loud, heavy battle, complete with blasters and screaming.

  • June 24, 2016 at 4:48 pm
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    How about opening credits zooming through a still of Vader amongst the decimation of a group of rebels….ala Dead Pool.

    Just joking. But could be awesome….

    • June 24, 2016 at 6:52 pm
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      With the same snarky credits as in Deadpool.

      “Directed By: The Fuckwit Behind Godzilla”
      “Starring: Some Nobody Whose Name Is Now Burned Into Your Skull”

  • June 24, 2016 at 5:16 pm
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    Ok, we have a new Composer on this. We don’t know whether he’s obligated to use Williams’ themes. So, it’s likely we’ll have a new theme entirely.
    That would point to a chance to create a new opening for the standalones.
    I liked what they did with the Clone wars Series, it jarred against what I knew as Star wars to start with, but I love it now.

    Point is, I think they already have a house style for this franchise.
    There’s the initial Blue type, whether that be ‘A long time ago….’ Or in the Clone wars case another ‘haiku’ style phrase in Blue, that leads into the LOGO, then the blast of Music.
    In the Saga movies, we have the crawl, in Clone wars a voice over, giving the context of the action.
    The voice over works well for TV, it allows a montage of clips & the exposition for that episode.

    And inherently, all Star wars is ‘episodic’, so I think we need that exposition.

    So, In my mind it goes, Disney logo, Lucasfilm logo, Blue type…….., Opening Orchestral blast (new theme), accompanied by ‘Rogue One a Star Wars Story LOGO. Then expositive opening Crawl, Pan to opening shot.

    There you go Kathleen. No need to thank me 😉

  • June 24, 2016 at 10:45 pm
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    A ‘war film’ big deal. There’s always been war in a Star Wars movie. What they really mean is don’t count on a compelling story or memorable characters, its all about blowing things up. So: what we get is a Battlefront movie.

    • June 24, 2016 at 11:09 pm
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      “(…) billed as a Band of Brothers-style combat tale (…)”
      It seems to me that what they mean is we SHOULD count on a compelling story with memorable characters

  • June 25, 2016 at 7:30 pm
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    Ya know, I wouldn’t care one way or another if there’s an opening crawl or not. It’s not like we don’t know what’s going on.
    Even more, I’m now interested of how a Star Wars movie would feel without it as well as what creative ideas they want to bring instead?

    • June 28, 2016 at 6:22 am
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      That would work for existing Star Wars fans who are keeping up, but they are looking to lure in the more casual fans or new fans. This will require some background information in a graphic, whether some type of crawl or a couple of small paragraphs, coming out to explain the situation and timeline. They can change how they do it to differentiate.

      I personally would prefer it coming out in a futuristic type of teletype like the real military uses to get messages out in the field where it is typing across the screen as you read. I’m thinking like it appears in some coded form for a few words (alien looking text), then transforms into Galactic basic (English) as it goes across the screen with a militaristic style of Star Wars type music in the background or even sounds of a SW-like tactical room in the background as it is being spelled out and read by the audience, giving the feel that they are in a command center of a futuristic battle..

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