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Rogue One director on why the ending completely changed during reshoots

The director has spilled on what exactly happened during the film's dramatic reshoots, including the addition of a last-minute Darth Vader scene

Clarisse Loughrey
Wednesday 15 March 2017 11:06

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."

"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.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Featurette - Living In Star Wars

"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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