ByElise Jost, writer at Creators.co
"It's a UNIX system! I know this!"
Elise Jost

Nothing makes fans tremble like rumors of reshoots. Most of the time the mere idea that a movie would have to go back to shooting suggests that it wasn't good enough, or that the director's initial vision isn't working, or that people aren't liking it. After the production mess of Suicide Squad, we started assuming that reshoots amounted to a fragile movie, its puzzle pieces forced together even where they don't fit.

So when Rogue One: A Star Wars Story had to go for some extra scenes, the fandom were quick to wonder if was having trouble with its formula. There were fears that was going to be hit-and-miss, that the tone would be too dark or too light. Thankfully, the prequel has successfully denied these rumors by winning both the box office and the hearts of critics — if anything, the reshoots were simply fine-tuning.

In an interview with Yahoo Movies, two of the film's editors, John Gilroy and Colin Goudie, explain how they put together such a beast of a movie and reveal which scenes exactly were altered in the end.

'We Always Knew We Were Going To Go Back And Do Pickups'

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

If there's one thing that has to be made clear from the start, it's that reshoots on Rogue One weren't a case of anxious last-minute changes, they were part of the process. According to Goudie, they knew they'd have to go back and change things before they even saw their first draft:

"I think everyone knew, from the offset, everything was always scheduled from day one for there to be pickups like on every film. [...] We always knew we were going to go back and do pickups, [...] it was just something that was on the schedule. We were always going to be there and it was a case of working out, as the story went on, which pieces need a bit more clarification, which places needed a bit more character."

In fact, we should be grateful that so much effort and attention were put into making the movie. But as Gilroy puts it, "things like that have a ripple effect." The more you change one scene, the more you have to adapt the rest — hence the necessity for reshoots.

Which Scenes Were Changed, Exactly?

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

In particular, Gilroy explains, the scenes that were fine-tuned until the last minute were mainly the character introductions, in order to make sure they were properly fleshed out.

"We wanted to make more of the other characters, like Cassian's character and Bodhi's character. The scene with Cassian's introduction with the spy, Bodhi traipsing through Jedha on his way to see Saw, these are things that were added. Also Jyn, how we set her up and her escape from the transporter, that was all done to set up the story better."

Goudie adds:

"The introductions in the opening scene, in the prologue, were always the same. Jyn's just a little girl, so when you see her as an adult what you saw initially was her in a meeting. That's not a nice introduction. So having her in prison and then a prison break out, with Cassian on a mission… everybody was a bit more ballsy, or a bit more exciting, and a bit more interesting. They got there eventually in the film, but this way we came in on the ground running, which was better."

The other part that underwent major changes was obviously the third act, which is so packed with both action and emotion that it must have been quite the challenge to put together. Gilroy admits that the third act "changed quite a bit."

"The third act has a lot going on. You have like seven different action venues, the mechanics of the act changed quite a bit in terms of the characters, and I don't want to go into too much detail about what had been there before, but it was different."

Making the end of the movie was like solving a Rubik's Cube, says Goudie.

"It's kind of like a Rubik's Cube. Whereby you have to mess it all up until you do that last piece of the puzzle. You get closer and closer and closer, then suddenly on that penultimate move you mix the entire Rubik's Cube up and then you slot it all back in and then that's it. And I think that was how I felt that last hour went."

See also:

All In All, The Reshoots Were 'Incredibly Helpful'

Take their word for it, the reshoots gave us a better Star Wars movie. As Gilroy sums it up:

"They gave you the film that you see today. I think they were incredibly helpful."

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

It's an even more incredible achievement when you consider that, unlike superhero movies, a film such as Rogue One doesn't get any previews. For the editors, that means there's no first impression of the public's reaction before it actually premieres. It's quite the pressure, says Goudie.

"Because of the secrecy on a Star Wars film, they don't preview. And so the first time we saw that was with 2,700 other people at the world premiere. And that means you just don't know until you see it like that."

In the end, not much was altered in terms of length or direction. There's no secret alternate version, or deleted scenes that would turn the whole story upside down, proving once again that when a studio is commissioning reshoots, it doesn't (necessarily) mean they're going to make a 180-turn away from what they initially sold. As Goudie admits, there's no endless cut hidden away in a box.

"I think the first assembly was not far off actual release length. Maybe 10 minutes longer? I genuinely can't remember because that was nearly a year ago now. There's no mythical four hour cut, it doesn't exist."

Who was your favorite character in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story?

(Source: Yahoo Movies)

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