– by Joseph Jammer Medina

Disclaimer: This post contains spoilers for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Lucasfilm’s recently-released Rogue One: A Star Wars Story managed to be quite the surprise this past week. While many fans expected the movie to be an entertaining, solid entry in the franchise, not many expected it to be as great as it was. Even if you take away all the fan service, I’d argue the film still holds up as a more-than-serviceable entry in the long-running franchise.

At the same time, some of the nods to the original trilogy definitely managed to push the film into slightly more memorable territory — even if you disapprove of some of the characters they brought back for little more than for said fan service. Needless to say, this also applies to a certain set of pilots who managed to make it into the film in the closing act.

If you were like me in the theater, your head may have tilted your head in confusion when Red and Gold Leaders popped onto the big screen. My gut instinct in how they made this work was that they utilized unused takes from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, but some speculation I’ve since read seemed to imply that they were brought to life via CG a la Grand Moff Tarkin and Princess Leia.

A new interview with director Gareth Edwards with RadioTimes, however, validates the former method. Speaking with the outlet, Edwards discussed his original inspiration for bringing those pilots to the big screen once again.

“We went to Skywalker ranch, and there’s the archives there. And as we’re walking around, and doing all the cool things and looking at the Millennium Falcon and trying on Han Solo’s jacket and things like that, in the back at the bottom was all these cans of film. And we said ‘what are they?’ and they said ‘Oh, it’s Star Wars.‘ And you go… ‘has someone gone through all this? And it’s like ‘not really, they’re not fully like digitized at all.’”

“We got the neg documents and found the clips from A New Hope that hadn’t been used. And there’s pilot photography and lines that were never featured in A New Hope.”

Of course, the rest is history. Red and Gold Leader can now be seen in the climactic battle of Rogue One, trying their darndest to help disable the shield so that the plans can be transmitted.

Edwards then expressed his reaction during the world premiere when the audience first reacted to these unexpected cameos.

“At the world premiere in LA, there was this massive cheer at a particular point in the film. It was the only time during the premiere where I actually punched the air.”

How did you react to seeing Gold and Red Leader on the big screen once more? Let us know your thoughts below!

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SOURCE: Radio Times (via Star Wars News Net)

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.