One of the first members of the crew for what would become Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has revealed how they landed the job of a lifetime. Gary Whitta, who was the first screenwriter hired to work on the first Star Wars stand alone film, spoke with io9 recently about how he got the job and what the early days of working on Rogue One were like.
Whitta explained that he first heard about the new Star Wars films the same way everyone else did, on October 30th, 2012 when it was announced that Disney was buying Lucasfilm. Whitta told io9,
“I literally went from reading the news story on my phone to calling my agent and saying ‘Oh my god you gotta throw my hat in the ring. Now, I’m sure every writer in town was doing the same thing. I never seriously thought I’d get in that room.”
He went on to explain that he didn't find out what the project was he would be working on until he was hired and given the outline that executive producer John Knoll had writter. Whitta explained,
“I thought that was a great idea. And John is brilliant, but he’s not a screenwriter, so they needed a writer to come in and take what he started and flesh it out into a full story. Why they hired me, I still couldn’t tell you.”
Despite writing the first draft of the film, Whitta only got a "Story By" credit, which he shared with Knoll, instead of a "Written By" credit which Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy got. But this does not bother him, as he liken the process to that of a relay race, saying,
“John ran the first leg. He handed the baton to me and I ran the second leg. Then as I started to get exhausted and run out of steam I handed the baton to Chris. Then Chris runs his leg and makes his contribution, which is a huge contribution as he created Chirrut, Baze, and Bodhi, and then he takes it to Tony who takes it over the finish line.”
Whitta continues to write Star Wars stories for Lucasfilm, having contributed several episodes to the third season of the animated series Star Wars Rebels.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is available on Blu-ray, DVD, and as a digital download now.
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