Gareth Edwards on the Star Wars Designs Used in Rogue One


SFX Magazine has its Rogue One issue out on stands now, and with it come some great new insights on the film and its production. One particular point of interest is an interview with Gareth Edwards discussing the design of in universe technology.



Because Rogue One slots right into the middle of the existing Star Wars timeline, getting the design of the universe just right is critical for fan acceptance. Gareth Edwards talked about the misconceptions about Star Wars tech and how just because this is a space movie in a galaxy far, far away doesn’t mean that this is all sci-fi.  Games Radar has a write up on the SFX piece.


“In your brain you think Star Wars is 50% sci-fi and 50% historical/real world, but it’s really like 90% historical/real world and 10% science fiction…To the point where when they were designing all the weapons and the guns, one of the first faux pas I committed is they would show me ideas for guns for Deathtroopers,” he continues. “They’d have all these different designs and you’d say, this one feels too antiquated, this one feels like something they’d have in World War 2. They’d say that’s exactly the Stormtrooper weapon from A New Hope. [Back then] they were just grabbing real world guns and costume, and just doing a little thing to it that made it feel like Star Wars – if you go too far it’s Flash Gordon, or it’s Star Trek.”


Death Trooper


Edwards also talked about the house style of Star Wars and the consistency of certain aesthetics across all of the films:


“If you look at the [original designers] Ralph McQuarrie and Joe Johnston and everyone else, they have a certain aesthetic that they can’t shake off, and it’s really great. You see a lot of repetitive shapes and ideas. An obvious one is that the Death Star looks very similar to the top of R2-D2’s head. It’s got all the same proportions, and you see these shapes recurring throughout, so the trick was to try and look at those shapes and subconsciously copy them and put them into designs.”




Finally, Edwards also discussed the process of coming up with the new hero ship, the U-wing.


“It’s like a dream situation to be trying to come up with the ship you didn’t see in the original trilogy that feels like it might exist.  That took ages, about six months. There were literally thousands of designs – we didn’t go, ‘Okay, let’s design a U-Wing’ It’s let’s do whatever looks good and then we’ll pick a letter of the alphabet that it most looks like!”



Source: SFX Magazine via Games Radar



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48 thoughts on “Gareth Edwards on the Star Wars Designs Used in Rogue One

  • November 13, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    Huh. He’s right. I never noticed the Death Star looked like R2-D2’s dome. Makes sense, it’s a sphere, and half of a sphere is a dome..Someone with some photo shop talent needs to make a meme.

    • November 13, 2016 at 8:24 pm

      The probe droid in Leia’s cell was two R2 domes.

      • November 13, 2016 at 8:44 pm

        Good call!

  • November 13, 2016 at 7:32 pm

    As much as I liked TFA, it seems they’ve put much more thought into this movie. At least on the design front.

    • November 13, 2016 at 7:39 pm

      They rushed TFA. They should have given themselves a lot more time.

      • November 13, 2016 at 8:26 pm

        There were a lot of designs in the art of book. They chose to keep it simple. I expect the next one will expand more. Damned if they do, damned if they don’t in some eyes.

        • November 13, 2016 at 8:44 pm

          Don’t get me wrong; I’m fine with the film. But truly, imagine if they had had another year to flesh things out.

          • November 13, 2016 at 8:47 pm

            Yeah and if they had added 5 new designs other people would say it was an excuse to sell toys. As I said, damned either way.

          • November 13, 2016 at 8:52 pm

            Agree, the problem with TFA is the People, TFA felt so “Star Wars” and people had a problem “It looks like a lot to Star Wars”, BUT if the movie had a lot of new elements the argument would be “It doesn’t look like star wars”, “Disney just want to sell us crap/toys/their ideas”

            TFA was doomed from the beginning for the same reason Prequels were… the Star Wars fandome is full of a…holes.

          • November 13, 2016 at 8:54 pm

            I’ve come to the conclusion now that there will be these upset sections of SW fans not matter what they do. How can anyone argue with this? Those people will always exist in differing forms

          • November 13, 2016 at 10:00 pm

            There’s still people that won’t accept anything Disney does because Lucas isn’t involved. Their loss IMO.

          • November 13, 2016 at 10:38 pm

            So far I’m pretty happy with Disney but I wasn’t against it in the first place. I rather like the MCU, Pixar and even their other CGI studio now. It’s all been rather solid from the house of mouse.

          • November 13, 2016 at 10:00 pm

            its almost like we all have opinions and like to express them…

          • November 13, 2016 at 10:35 pm

            Yes, but there are people who come here and complain just to complain.

            The anti-Disney people.

            The people who are mad George is no longer involved.

            The Prequel Posse who’s mad that people like the ST more than the PT.

            The OT people who scream at the PT people for being stupid for even liking the films.

            The Star Wars Purists who believe you must love EVERYTHING Star Wars or you’re not a fan.

            My favorite was a guy who used to come here and be the Great Prognosticator of Star Wars. He said that the film would be well received, but in six months we’d all be like “THAT MOVIE WAS BAD. SO BAD. IM ANGRY NOW.”

            Almost a year later, sure the love for VII has cooled, but most people still seem to agree that the film was solid, fun, and are looking forward to more.

            That guy has stopped coming here to post too. Crazy.

            It’s one thing to come here and say “Man, I just can’t get into VII. Here are the problems I have with it that keep me from liking it.”


            It’s also whole other thing to come here and critique any of the movies, then get butthurt when someone contradicts your opinion.

            Se la vie.

          • November 14, 2016 at 9:14 pm

            You missed out the most prevalent group… The prequel haters / bashers / George Lucas ate my puppy and called my mum ugly – group

          • November 14, 2016 at 9:29 pm

            No, I listed them.

          • November 13, 2016 at 10:34 pm

            The prequels were doomed because they were poorly executed in nearly every department barring FX and Sound 😛

            TFA is generally a good movie. If lacking some originality. Still designs like the new iTroopers were fantastic. That’s not an easy task given the iconic armor they were replacing. TFA also had nearly the same amount of pressure on it… if not more and it still managed to please most people.

            Only zealots who want something just exactly so… will be upset. Best to only pay attention to people willing to be objective.

          • November 13, 2016 at 10:47 pm

            Disagree with 100% of your view of prequels but everything else seems believable.

          • November 14, 2016 at 10:42 pm

            So why do you think the Prequels were Doomed then, Space Ghost?

          • November 14, 2016 at 2:59 am

            I actually thought the prequels were good except of the FX. The CGI was so poor I felt like I was watching a computer game cut-scene through most of episodes 2 & 3. On the other hand, I against the general public opinion I liked Jar Jar Binks, and I thought that Christian Haydensen did an ‘ok’ Anakin.

            That said, after leaving the theatre from watching the phantom menace, I felt confused as to why I didn’t enjoy the film as much as I thought I should have, but it’s grown on me since.

          • November 14, 2016 at 2:53 am

            I think you’re right to a point, but I’ve always felt it was that fans want to be able to recapture the magic of the original trilogy again which many would’ve seen as teens or pre-teens, but nothing ever well because we’re looking at the movies now through the eyes of adults rather than kids. I think people want Star Wars to make them feel 10 years old again, but that’s a near impossible task.

            Unfortunately, when it doesn’t completely succeed with that particular illusion some choose to behave as they might have aged ten and turn on George Lucas, or Disney or JJ Abrams or whatever and say ‘you’ve ruined star wars.’

          • November 13, 2016 at 9:20 pm

            I concur.

      • November 13, 2016 at 9:59 pm

        JJ didn’t want to stray too far off the OT reservation no matter how much time he had.

        • November 13, 2016 at 10:07 pm

          This is true. I’m not saying we’d have had something other than TIE Fighters and X-Wings, but I think we’d have had more polish on everything.

          I like the film. But I am in the camp of people who believe they had no idea what and who Rey was at the end of production. I think they would have laid out the rest of the story for the trilogy better had they more time.

      • November 13, 2016 at 10:42 pm

        They didn’t rush TFA. But they did fall back on traditional designs instead of using their most awesome original designs.

        • November 13, 2016 at 10:46 pm

          They rushed TFA. They had very little time to write a script for as important a film as it was. They were flying by the seat of their pants and almost all of it. It shows in the film.

          Why don’t you show me some of these “most awesome original designs” so we can discuss them properly. Instead of my just relying on your inference that something other than what was put into the film exists?

          • November 13, 2016 at 10:51 pm

            It was pretty rushed. That’s one thing Abrams can do though. Get a task… and finish it. He wont sit there and second guess everything a thousand times. He’s good at putting a movie out at decent standards.

            I know he’d probably slap me for saying he didn’t second guess everything 😛

            I’m just saying he knows when time is up and he must make a decision. That’s where I totally agree that you can tell the movie was a bit rushed a long. A little longer would have gone a long way towards fixing some of the issues TFA had.

            That said I bet he was pretty set on some ideas. Like a third death star… which I still adamantly think was a mistake.

        • November 13, 2016 at 10:52 pm

          Sadly they did. Michael Arndt needed 18 more months (after working for 8 months) to finish the script, because -not very suprisingly – a script for a Star Wars movie needs time. JJ and Kasdan finished the script in just 6 weeks.
          I like TFA, but I really wonder how Arndt’s version would’ve been…

          • November 13, 2016 at 11:01 pm

            Star Wars: Force Story.

            It is a time of peace. A young boy Andy rules over his room unopposed. The Denizens herald him their champion… only the boy doesn’t even know they come to life when ever he leaves!

            Smuggler Woody and Jedi Buzz must work together to keep the peace while Andy is away…

            Little did they know… next store the dark side of the force threatens all they hold dear.

          • November 13, 2016 at 11:57 pm

            No, because Arndt needs that long to write a movie. That’s his process.

            And the design stuff was happening LONG before Arndt even came on board, so that doesn’t even help your initial point.

          • November 14, 2016 at 1:35 am

            It couldnt’ve happened much longer, as Arndt started the writing process just 3 months after the Disney aquisiton…

          • November 14, 2016 at 3:02 pm

            I was under the impression that some work happened even before the Disney sale was announced, though I could be mistaken in that.

    • November 13, 2016 at 11:57 pm

      “it seems they’ve put much more thought into this movie.”

      This is baseless. “Much more thought” is such a weird, subjective thing and kind of insulting to the makers and designers of TFA.

      • November 14, 2016 at 1:37 am

        I wouldn’t say its baseless as Rogue One already has more new designs than TFA.

        • November 14, 2016 at 2:57 pm

          With reason: one is meant to be nostalgic and the other is trying to show off new designs. Each has a different purpose and each is succeeding.

        • November 14, 2016 at 10:48 pm

          Wait. It does?

          The T-70’s are still new designs. The TIE Fighters still have differences too.

          We had new walkers in VII, we had a new class of Star Destroyer, we had a new freighter, they briefly showed the two gangs starships, they showed us some different craft on the ground, Kylo’s command shuttle, the Rebel troop transport, and new Stormtrooper armor.

          We have a new TIE variant in Rogue One, two new kinds of Stormtroopers, a tank, the new AT-ACT, and the U-Wing so far. New Rebel trooper fatigues, too.

          I’d say you can argue they have the same level of innovation at this point.

          I’d also say that if VII had introduced wildly new star ship designs people would still be complaining the film didn’t feel like Star Wars. Since when Episode I came out, people did not like the look or feel of the N1 Naboo Fighter or the Vulture Droids.

      • November 14, 2016 at 9:33 am

        It is however reasonable to say they’ve put more thought into trying to make the design look like it belongs in the same universe as the OT. You can’t deny they’ve KILLED it from what we’ve seen on this film so far.

        • November 14, 2016 at 2:58 pm

          No one is denying that it looks good. But “It is however reasonable to say they’ve put more thought into trying to make the design look like it belongs in the same universe as the OT”

          We don’t know if they put more thought into it. We just know they had different objectives. It’s a silly statement.

  • November 13, 2016 at 10:43 pm

    I do like the U-Wing. Something about it just felt right. Kind of like K2SO/Death Troopers. They just seem to fit right in. I’m still not 100% sold on the AT-ACTs… but I’m glad they aren’t AT-ATs as I’d probably nitpick until the cows came home if they felt “off” to me. So I’m glad it’s a different model.

    I don’t know why it is but the AT-ACTs no matter the trailer have always felt… fake to me. Every other thing including the AT-ST/SDs have all felt real enough to me. See… nitpicking!

  • November 13, 2016 at 11:41 pm

    The Consistency is strong with this one.

    Had a great time watching The Force Awakens. I have a feeling I might enjoy Rogue One just a little more, simply because it’s a beginning, a middle and an end in one movie. And the war movie genre has always been engaging. Plus it’s another excuse to see Ben Mendelsohn work his magic.

    • November 14, 2016 at 8:04 pm

      Re: “another excuse to see Ben Mendelsohn work his magic”
      I hear you on that!
      He’s a brilliant actor & might be one of the more interesting “bad guys” in SW. Layered/conflicted/complex? He can do all of that & more. 😉

  • November 14, 2016 at 2:35 am

    SFX needs a better logo. heh

    • November 14, 2016 at 3:02 am

      Well, as they say, SFX sells.

      • November 14, 2016 at 6:58 am

        HA! I see what you did there.

    • November 14, 2016 at 6:51 pm

      It’s deliberate – it’s been a cover gimmick for them for about 20yrs

  • November 14, 2016 at 6:31 pm

    Translation: ugly designs, uninspired planets.

    • November 14, 2016 at 9:23 pm

      So, what kind of planets would you like to see? Swing some ideas pas us. Enlighten us.

  • November 14, 2016 at 10:35 pm

    Love his description of the SW vs. Flash Gordon/Trek vs. Real Historical look of the universe. Hope they keep that concept around.

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