We've known for a while that there's a bunch of extra Rogue One footage sitting around somewhere - with plenty of glimpses of it cut into the film's various trailers.
Rumours of Disney undertaking massive re-shoots for the film actually turned out to be true; though that news is usually a sign that a production is in major trouble, Rogue One proved the rare beast that actually benefited deeply from its re-shot footage; specifically the film's ending, which has been lauded as a tightly-paced, action-packed finale.
Though the film's editors have already hinted at scenes added earlier in the film - including the first introduction of Diego Luna's Cassian Andor - the film's director, Gareth Edwards, has finally revealed what happened with the film's climactic battle scenes; with the trailers seemingly showing both Cassian and Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) running across Scarif's beaches with the Death Star plans, a major sequence that never made it to the final cut.
Speaking to SlashFilm at SXSW, Edwards confirmed what many believed had happened, and that the film originally saw the transmission tower located away from Scarif's main base and the data room containing the Death Star plans.
"To transmit the plans, they had to escape and run along the beach and go up the tower," he described of the original version. "In cutting the film, it just felt too long. We had to find ways to compress the third act, which was quite long as it was. And one real, fast, brutal solution was to put the tower in the base, so they don’t have to run across the beach and do all of that stuff to get there."
"That became a decision that eliminated the shots you see in the trailer of the back of Cassian and Jyn and the AT-ATs. That was some of the reinvention that happened. It was all to do with compression."
[SPOILERS] 13 scenes from Rogue One's trailers cut from the film
[SPOILERS] 13 scenes from Rogue One's trailers cut from the film
1/13 'I rebel'
Straight off the bat, that instantly infamous line from Felicity Jones' Jyn Erso - "This is a rebellion, isn't it? I rebel" - is missing from the final cut. Probably a good thing, considering nobody needs Jyn's entire character motivation spelled out in quite such obvious terms.
2/13 Moody Orson Krennic
This brilliantly moody shot from the film's teaser never makes it into the final cut, but there's a good chance it was never intended to, having all the hallmarks of footage deliberately shot for the trailer.
3/13 Moody Jyn Erso
The same goes for this look at Jyn Erso in her Imperial disguise, which definitely has the look of a promotional shot to it.
4/13 'What will you become?'
The look at Jyn's Imperial outfit coincides with the final line of a cut monologue from Saw Gerrera: "What will you become?" The confusing part here is that Saw is seen with the close-cropped hair he sports only in the prologue scenes, when Jyn is only a child. When she visits him in Jedha, his hair is much fuller and he's sporting a beard. So, was this speech somehow originally delivered to Galen Erso in a cut prologue segment? In the context of Galen's work with the Empire and his later attempts to evade them, Saw's words would make a lot more sense.
5/13 And Moody Darth Vader
Potentially another promo shot, considering this was used as the very first reveal of Darth Vader in the trailers.
6/13 Krennic and Vader
However, this shot also shows a cut scene between Krennic and Vader, in which the former talks about the "power we are dealing with here".
7/13 'The captain says you are a friend. I will not kill you'
K-2SO has many similar lines directed to Jyn throughout the film, but they're a lot less sinister than this one.
8/13 Captured rebel pilots
This shot from Jedha is missing. It doesn't exactly add anything to the story, but it's an added touch of grit which sets the tone nicely in the trailers.
9/13 'Good.' 'Good.'
A cut moment between Jyn and Cassian, though it's a little hard to tell where this comes from - there's no moment where Jyn sits as co-pilot on the U-wing, since it's usually K-2SO in the seat.
10/13 Jyn faces off against a TIE fighter
What's interesting is that this shot of Jyn limping across the Scarif communications tower is, of course, in the final film. It's just that the TIE fighter is entirely absent. Was this a cut moment? Was Krennic piloting that thing? Or was it even just cut into the trailer to keep audiences off the scent?
11/13 Krennic on the Scarif beaches
And what about this great shot of Krennic marching amongst the dead? The set-up and lighting seem to imply he survives the initial battle without getting shot by Cassian, and is on the ground when the Death Star destroys Scarif - if that's indeed the source of the glow in the background.
12/13 Jyn and Cassian in the Scarif battle
In fact, the trailer footage seems to hint at a drastically different ending, which may point to what exactly got changed during the re-shoots. We see multiple shots of Jyn and Cassian running along the Scarif beach with the Death Star plans. Considering the battle is still in full swing, it suggests the archives and the communications tower may have been separate locations in the original version.
13/13 Jyn, Cassian, and K-2SO running through Scarif base
And here, again, we see Cassian, Jyn, and K-2SO running with the data plans through the Scarif base. That means the droid wasn't originally meant to die (or whatever happens to droids) defending the archive room.
"As cool as many things are, and they really are, you can’t outstay your welcome," he added. "We’ve all done it. We’ve all sat in a movie and even if you love a film, there’s that moment where you want to look at your watch, or you feel like “Okay, I hope it ends soon.” You don’t want the audience thinking that. You don’t want them to lag. If you feel that when you watch something back, you need to find a way to tighten it somewhere. That was a big win for a compression."
Edwards also told Fandago that the film's brutal final scene with Darth Vader, which sees him cut through a horde of rebel fighters attempting to get the plans safely off Scarif, was also a last-minute addition.
"He arrives and obliterates the Calamari ship, and then the blockade runner gets out just in time and he pursues the blockade runner. And then Jabez was like, 'I think we need to get Darth on that ship,' and I thought, yeah, that's a brilliant idea and would love to do it, but there's no way they're going to let us do it. It's a big number and we had, what, like 3 or 4 months before release. Kathy [Kennedy] came in and Jabez thought, f*ck it, and pitched her this idea, and she loved it. Suddenly within a week or two we were at Pinewood shooting that scene."
Rogue One is out on DVD & Blu-ray 10 April.
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