Slashfilm recently sat down with Gareth Edwards, who was at SXSW to give a keynote speech, and spoke with him about the reshoots that occurred during the filming of the first Star Wars spin off movie, Star Wars: Rogue One. During the filming of that movie, there were rumors as to the reason why the reshoots happened which caused folks to speculate as to how the movie originally ended. (As the title to the article implies, there will be talk of spoilers to the movie. If you haven't seen the film at this point and you've gotten this far, the rest is on you.) According to Gareth Edwards...
"I think the main thing that changed at the end…what used to happen, and you can get a sense of this in the early trailers, the transmission tower for the plans was separate from the main base on Scarif. To transmit the plans, they had to escape and run along the beach and go up the tower. In cutting the film, it just felt too long. We had to find ways to compress the third act, which was quite long as it was. And one real, fast, brutal solution was to put the tower in the base, so they don’t have to run across the beach and do all of that stuff to get there. That became a decision that eliminated the shots you see in the trailer of the back of Cassian and Jyn and the AT-ATs. That was some of the reinvention that happened. It was all to do with compression.
"As cool as many things are, and they really are, you can’t outstay your welcome. We’ve all done it. We’ve all sat in a movie and even if you love a film, there’s that moment where you want to look at your watch, or you feel like “Okay, I hope it ends soon.” You don’t want the audience thinking that. You don’t want them to lag. If you feel that when you watch something back, you need to find a way to tighten it somewhere. That was a big win for a compression."
Star Wars: Rogue One left me with mixed feelings. The main story involving the characters we were introduced to in the trailers was lacking in a number of ways, mainly the fact that the characters we were supposed to care about were given no character development. Some would argue that since the main characters were put on a suicide mission, we didn't really get a chance to know them too well since they were all destined to die at the end of the film. I would argue that other films, such as Saving Private Ryan, showed that you can still have proper character development while dealing with a story about a suicide mission.
Instead of focusing on changing the ending of the film, they should have made more effort to beef up the beginning of the movie. While I certainly enjoyed Star Wars: Rogue One, especially the ending scenes with Darth Vader and Princess Leia, this film could have been a lot better if more effort were made to give us reason to care about characters like Jyn or Cassian instead of focusing on everything but. The film is a great companion piece of Star Wars Episode 4 yet could have been a much better stand alone movie than it is currently.
Star Wars: Rogue One will be available on Digital HD on March 28th. It will be available on DVD and Blu-Ray on April 4th.