– by Joseph Jammer Medina

Something that’s gone a little unstated here, since we exclusively broke the story months ago that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story‘s reshoots were far more extensive than anyone was letting on, is that you don’t do this sort of thing unless you’re trying to make the best possible movie. At this point, Lucasfilm and Disney know that you can pretty much just slap the Star Wars name onto something and it’ll make a billion dollars, and yet that didn’t stop the studio from putting the production in a breathtaking scenario where they were reshooting nearly half of the film mere months before its release.

While reshoots are 100000% normal, natural, and expected when it comes to blockbuster films, they usually amount to 2-3 weeks of additional filming. They tend to work on refining a scene here and there, or adding some connective tissue for a plot point that didn’t land, and generally making little tweaks. With Rogue One, they weren’t content with tweaks. They went for a total overhaul- a task so enormous they even brought in another director (Tony Gilroy) to make sweeping changes.

That all sounds very scary, and we’ve been sounding that alarm for a while- including on the most recent episode of the LOS FANBOYS Podcast– but now we’d like to look at it from a different perspective. I’ll let Rogue One actor Riz Ahmed express it to you, since he does it so well:

“There were a ton of reshoots. But if people want to read anything into that, I’d encourage them to read into it the guts it takes to unpick stitching rather than just try to embroider over it, to make it right. I admire [Lucasfilm President] Kathleen [Kennedy] and Gareth [Edwards] and the whole team for having the guts to go, ‘Let’s reopen this. Let’s do some of this again.’ I think it’s because they really care – and hopefully that’s something that shows when people see the film.”

Who can really argue with that? 

At this point, no matter how the final product turns out you’ll never be able to argue that Lucasfilm didn’t do its best to make Rogue One everything it could be. They could’ve gone the lazy route because, let’s face it, a Star Wars movie that has Darth Vader in it was destined to do really well no matter what, but they instead chose to gamble on an extensive overhaul. You don’t often see guts like that.

A more typical example of modern day studio methodology when it comes to retooling films once they’ve entered post-production is Suicide Squad. When Warner Bros. decided that the film needed help, rather than going and ripping the whole thing open to turn it around, they settled for, as Ahmed put it, embroidering over the stitching. They added a couple of scenes, but mainly relied on tricky editing (which churned out seven dueling cuts of the film) to try and fix the film’s issues. 

We’ll see if Lucasfilm’s much more extensive overhaul of Rogue One results in a great movie when the film arrives in theaters on December 16.

SOURCE: L.A. Times

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.