ByKit Simpson Browne, writer at
Writer-at-large. Bad jokes aplenty. Can be gently prodded on Twitter at @kitsb1
Kit Simpson Browne

Now, reshoots are funny things. Where once they were a sure sign of a troubled production — typically of a studio taking control away from a director, and "fixing" a film — they've since become a core part of studio planning, with most major blockbusters scheduling in at least two weeks of reshoots as a matter of course. And yet, despite their increasing ubiquity, still loves to gossip about , and the supposedly troubled productions that simply must lie behind them. Take , for instance.

According to the rumor mill, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was heavily reshot early this year, as the result of the folks at (or, perhaps, ) proving unimpressed by director 's cut of the film. That, the story goes, prompted a full third of the movie to be completely reworked, and for much of the creative control to be handed over to a third party, Tony Gilroy. Those murmurings, though, have largely remained mere rumor up till now, which perhaps makes it fortunate that...

'Rogue One' Director Gareth Edwards Has Opened Up About Those Reshoots

'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' [Credit: Lucasfilm]
'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' [Credit: Lucasfilm]

And...he actually has a pretty fantastic explanation for both the confusion, and the need for the reshoots. As Edwards recently put it to the LA Times:

"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."

In other words? According to Edwards, the film's reshoots were so substantial — and pushed back so far — not because of studio interference, but because of studio support. Which, if true, is a hell of a lot more reassuring than the rumors that have been flying around.

'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' [Credit: Lucasfilm]
'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' [Credit: Lucasfilm]

What of Tony Gilroy, though? After all, the Michael Clayton and The Bourne Legacy writer/director now has a co-writing credit on the film, which suggests that the movie was indeed heavily rewritten. When asked about that, however, Edwards was a little more coy, but did have this to say:

"Things kept improving constantly and the film was getting better and better — and if you’re improving it, you don’t stop. I think any other movie you would say, “That’ll do. We’re going to get a hit.” But 'Star Wars' is going to live forever if you do it properly. We just can’t let it go. You’ve got to keep going until they prise it out of your hands.

Making 'Star Wars' is a team sport, really. You can’t make these massive movies completely on your own. Even from the costumes to the guns to the ships to the VFX, it’s a real team effort."

Which is...reassuring, I guess? After all, it seems to suggest that Edwards was indeed given the chance to rework the film, and — in the context of the additional effects shots mentioned earlier — to make it far more visually impressive. Indeed, while Edwards was also open about just how difficult the shoot was...

"All great films have stories attached to them of how horrific they were to get made... Knowing that going in, you’re kind of expecting a bit of a war. You end up feeling like the characters in the film, that we’re trying to do this impossible task. Their pretend one is to steal the Death Star plans but the actual one is to make a great ‘Star Wars’ film."

...he's also right to note that many of the greatest movies of all time (including more than one movie) had somewhat troubled productions. So, while it would of course have been ideal for Rogue One to have been perfectly formed in its conception, and to require virtually no reshoots, it's surely far better that it was reworked before release than, say, in a director's cut some time next year.

And thankfully, we'll get to find out for ourselves whether that's indeed the case when the film hits theaters next week. Keep everything crossed, gang...

What do you think, though? Do you think Rogue One's reshoots will have made it a better movie? Let us know below!

(Sources: LA Times)


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