Gareth Edwards on How the Ending for ‘Rogue One’ Evolved



It’s evident from the images released and footage seen in the trailers for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story that the film originally had a different ending which featured the heroes of the film making a daring escape from Scarif as they charged towards AT-ACT’s on the beach and arrived safely back in the Imperial Cargo shuttle (you can tell from Cassian’s costume change). But it seems there was never any intention of the heroes surviving the third act of the film whether they made it off of Scarif or not. While speaking on the Empire Podcast for Empire Magazine, Gareth Edwards offered some insight on the decision to kill off all of the heroes by the end of the film:

“I mean, it’s a great Disney tradition isn’t it? For every single character to die in all their movies. I think there was an early version – the very first version they didn’t [die] in the screenplay. And it was just assumed by us that we couldn’t do that and they’re not gonna let us do that. So we’re trying to figure out how this ends where that doesn’t happen. And then everyone read that, and there was just this feeling of like, “They gotta die right?” And everyone was like, “Yeah, can we?” And we thought we weren’t gonna be allowed to, but Kathy [Kennedy] and everyone at Disney were like, “Yeah, makes sense.” I guess they have to because they’re not in A New Hope. And so from that point on, we had the license and I kept waiting for someone to go, “You know what, can you just film an extra scene where we see Jyn and Cassian, they’re okay, and they’re on another planet and la la la…” And [that] never ever came, and no one gave us that note so we got to do it.”

The choice to kill the characters as we can now call the original members of Rogue Squadron was absolutely the right choice. Not only does the squad get to die as heroes in an act of self-sacrifice for the Rebellion, their sacrifice lends deeper meaning to the destruction of the Death Star in the original Star Wars. I’ve heard some people say they didn’t feel the characters were very memorable in Rogue One to which I completely disagree. They may not be as iconic as Luke, Han, and Leia or Rey, Finn, Poe, and BB-8 but you’ll never be able to watch A New Hope ever again without having the heroes of Rogue One and the Battle of Scarif running through your mind the entire time. It’s an even bigger sigh of relief when Luke blows up the Death Star knowing their sacrifice, as well as Galen’s, was worth it.


maxresdefault (6).jpg


Gareth Edwards Talks the ‘Rogue One’ Reshoot Controversy

Screen Shot 2016-12-09 at 12.22.50 PM.png

Star Wars is no doubt the biggest franchise of all time. The Skywalker saga has managed to revolutionize the film industry three times, most recently with The Force Awakens after the film cracked the formula for the requel (a sequel that manages to revive a franchise). With the reach Star Wars has comes a higher level of scrutiny compared to other franchises such as Marvel and DC. Last year The Force Awakens received flack from a small, but very vocal amount of Star Wars fans for it’s superficial similarities to the original Star Wars.

This year, Lucasfilm was met with a high level of trepidation as the upcoming Rogue One: A Star Wars Story headed back into the studio in June for reshoots with rumored reports of Lucasfilm being dissatisfied with the overall tone of the film. Reports claimed executives felt the war film was too dark and lacked the levity the franchise is known for. Reshoots themselves are not a big deal, in fact, all blockbusters have them built into their schedule and budget in an effort to fine tune the film once it has begun to come together in the editing room. But one made Rogue One stand out more than others is that it was rumored to be reshooting up to 40% of the film, with another director Tony Gilroy helming the reshoots rather than Gareth Edwards.

With the film in its final marketing push, making the press rounds, the controversial reshoots were bound to come up. While speaking with the Los Angeles Times, Edwards offered his perspective on the hot topic:

“What happened was that 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.”

Rogue One and The Force Awakens have had a tremendous amount of pressure put on them. Not only did The Force Awakens need to reintroduce the franchise to the world, generating value for the franchise for generations to come, but Rogue One is the first standalone feature spun off from the Skywalker saga. The film itself is the first ever experimental Star Wars film. Not only that but the reaction to Rogue One will determine the future of the franchise when the brain trust at Lucasfilm meets in January to outline the future of Star Wars beyond Episode IX.

We shouldn’t be criticizing Lucasfilm for the rumored amounts of reshoots for Rogue One. Instead, we should be praising them for just how much they care to deliver a quality product that Star Wars fans deserve while simultaneously satisfying general audiences. Rather than focus on the negatives, we should be commending Lucasfilm, the biggest brand in Hollywood there is, for taking a major chance to do something different in this risk averse landscape of Hollywood we have today.