We’ve been covering the information from Entertainment Weekly’s Rogue One cover article all week. The final installment addresses two big concerns that have been running rampant over the Internet in the last few months: the film’s tone being altered and that up to 40% of the film was being re-shot after a negative viewing by Disney execs. Kathleen Kennedy and director Gareth Edwards addressed these concerns head-on, starting with the summer re-shoots.
“It was always part of the plan to do reshoots. We always knew we were coming back somewhere to do stuff, we just didn’t know what it would be until we started sculpting the film in the edit.”“There’s lots of little things that we have to get, but it’s all little things within the preexisting footage.”
Edwards goes on to address why these re-shoots are lengthy, complex, and expensive. It’s not that they’re scrapping huge amounts of the film; it’s that their cast (which contains some pretty high-profile actors) has moved on to other things.
“Obviously, you’ve got to work around everyone’s schedule, and everyone’s on different films all over the world, and so it’s a bit of a logistical nightmare. That’s why I think it’s been blown out of proportion a little bit. It’s funny, making a film stops you believing anything you’ve ever read on the Internet.”
Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy added on the re-shoots and on Gareth Edwards’ direction of the film:
“There’s nothing about the story that’s changing, with a few things that we’re picking up in additional photography. I think that’s the most important thing, to reassure fans that it’s the movie we intended to make.”“One of the things we’re doing with these Star Wars stories is embracing the uniqueness of the different genres, and we’re very deliberately leaning into the various styles of directors that we’re approaching so that each of these movies will very intentionally have a very different tone and style from the saga films. Gareth has shown a stylistic preference that’s much more handheld, visceral, inside-the-action kind of feel.
“He does a lot of handheld, intimate, close-up work. That’s not something you’ve necessarily seen in a Star Wars movie before. And we brought in [cinematographer] Greig Fraser, to shoot it, who had done Zero Dark Thirty. So a combination of Greig and Gareth has been, I think, fantastic, and it just gives it a really unique style.”
The second point the duo made was to address rumors that the film was considered too dark and the tone was being lightened. Edwards said:
“I’d definitely describe it as: It’s got dark tone. The studio has been very supportive of that. I mean, the sort of tone we were going for when we started was the tone you have in films like The Empire Strikes Back. And that’s not in any way been compromised.”“We have a lot of attention on this. I’d be [worried] the same if I wasn’t involved in it. So it’s just part of the privilege of making Star Wars. But hopefully, people will get to see it when it comes out, and everyone will feel the same way we do.
“A film is a very creative, organic process, and it evolves over time,” he says. “There’s no right or wrong. There’s just ‘better’ and ‘best,’ and with Star Wars, nothing but the best is going to do. So we’re just putting a lot of pressure on ourselves until the very end, making this the greatest film it can be.”
I was never panicked by the rumors floating around. Star Wars fans tend to freak out over the possibility of things going wrong. We’ve got some pretty good reasons for doing this given past mistakes, but you have to look at the franchise since Disney gained stewardship of it. Every decision they have made has not only been correct, but in the best interest of the fans and the Star Wars Saga. I think we can all safely relax and go back to how excited everyone was when we first saw the Rogue One teaser. The full trailer will probably follow suit with the schedule Episode VII set and drop in early fall. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will release December 16, 2016.