We recently learned that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is apparently undergoing reshoots after an early test screening of the film didn't fare too well with the Disney execs.
Before you freak out, it's important to remember that lots of big-budget studio movies undergo reshoots like these. In fact, The Force Awakens had some and turned out just fine. Reshoots happen when a movie is a tentpole event with hundreds of millions of dollars invested in it. So the news in itself isn't that big of a deal, but some Star Wars fans are a little panicky.
It's understandable, since Rogue One is perhaps one of the most critical junction points in Star Wars lore; one that needs to be told on screen and told well.
It's a story that is anticipated beyond belief due to the compounded elements of the success of The Force Awakens, the general disappointment in the prequel films, and a flat-out desire to see the most important Star Wars story that's never been told.
This is the era we've wanted to see in action since we fell in love with the Original Trilogy; Pre-Luke, post-Republic, just before the Rebellion launched its first serious offensive against the Empire.
Living Up To The Hype Of The Force Awakens
Despite the enormous fan expectations, Rogue One does have one thing going for it: At least it's not the first Star Wars movie to come out in a decade. The Force Awakens already broke that ice, so there's less pressure on Rogue One to capitalize on nostalgia for fans and more ability to focus on the newer elements.
That's possibly why Disney went with a risk-taker like Gareth Edwards to direct instead of a more obvious choice. However, Rogue One will be confronted with a different problem upon its release: Being compared to the success of The Force Awakens.
If Rogue One underperforms, either with critics or at the box office, then we'll be subjected to endless "What does this mean for the future of Star Wars?" think pieces, theorizing that the franchise could be killed by the modern misfire (except it won't be).
Disney proved that it could deliver a Star Wars movie that the fans wanted, so Rogue One has to continue that trend — which Disney is preparing for, presumably, by doing these reported reshoots.
Rogue One In The Era Of Fan Service
I'm a staunch defender of the Star Wars prequels. There are certainly flaws, but they are also daring in a lot of ways and most definitely a singular vision.
It's not the story that fans expected — or wanted — after nearly 20 years of hype, and I love them for that reason alone. George Lucas always put his vision for Star Wars before anyone else's, and that should be commended.
The Disney era, however, is about giving the fans what they want. Even those of us that enjoy the prequels wish we would have gotten more of Darth Vader and the Empire in their prime.
And how did the Rebellion manage to steal the plans for the most destructive weapon in history? Rogue One is aiming to address these wants in spades.
Disney is delving back into what is technically the prequel era, though only weeks before A New Hope, and it knows that fans are expecting Force Awakens-level thrills and fan service. Whereas Lucas took an approach that was artist centric — as he should have and was entitled to do — Disney is taking what can only be considered a corporate mindset: How do we please everyone and maximize our return on investment?
After spending $4 billion to acquire Star Wars, that's not exactly unreasonable.
Stealing The Death Star Plans Was More Important Than Blowing It Up
We can all agree that Luke Skywalker blowing up the Death Star in A New Hope was a critical turning point for not only Luke's journey to becoming a Jedi, but for the Rebellion in general. It showed that a ragtag group of pilots and soldiers could strike a massive blow with comparatively few resources.
But I would argue that the actual acquisition of those plans is even more impressive a feat — all written off in A New Hope with a line of dialogue. The Empire's hubris went a long way to help destroy the Death Star, after all (I guess Luke helped, too), but it can be assumed that the plans for a battle station that was in the works for over 20 years — we first saw them in Attack of the Clones — would be under insane security measures.
The infiltration of the Empire, the most powerful entity in the galaxy, would have to be like the Ocean's 11 heist times a million, with stakes that are off the charts and well into the Unknown Regions.
Even though we know that the mission for the Death Star plan succeeds, the fun is in seeing it happen and getting invested in the characters doing so. We know nothing of the events that actually took place or the characters involved; prior to Rogue One, most of the early Rebel action we've seen has come in Star Wars: Rebels. The missions by the Ghost crew are pretty small in stature when compared to trying to take down the Death Star, and the Rebels are still acting in cells rather than a complete cohesive unit.
Because these events are central to Star Wars as we know it — if there are no Death Star plans, there are no droids on Tatooine, which means no Luke Skywalker brought into the fray — it's important to get this piece of the puzzle just right. There won't be a chance to revisit this story, not to mention it's both the follow-up to the beloved Force Awakens and the first attempt at a Star Wars spinoff film.
There's a lot riding on this one, and not just for our characters.