Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Gareth Edwards Discusses How the Ending of 'Rogue One' Evolved

By: Dominic Jones

One story that followed any member of the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story cast and crew everywhere they went in the months leading up to, and following, the film's release was the infamous reshoots.  There were conflicting reports about the extent of the reshoots, though official channels maintain that they were the regularly scheduled reshoots.  While few would argue that Rogue One did not deliver, there are still questions about what was changed in the reshoots.  Those questions are backed up by several shots that were seen in the film's trailers.  These shots seemed to indicate a more intricate battle on the beach on the planet Scarif, with Jyn (Felicity Jones), Cassian (Diego Luna), and K-2SO (Alan Tudyk) carrying the Death Star as they evaded the Empire.

The original ending for Rogue One is something that members of the cast and crew have done their best to avoid talking about.  This week, following his key note address at South by Southwest, director Gareth Edwards has finally opened up about what was changed and why. 

"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."

Edwards' logic is definitely understandable.  The ending to the film as it is works quite well and there is great drama that comes from K-2SO's sacrifice (which, in the brief look at the alternate versions we got, doesn't seem like it would have been quite as dramatic) that strengthen the film's final moments.  That being said, it would be nice to see how the original ending would have played out--especially given the role it played in the film's marketing.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will be released as a digital download on March 24th, and on blu-ray and DVD on April 4th.

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