The reshoots for "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" stirred up plenty of controversy earlier this year, when fans panicked the film may be of less-than-stellar quality when it was rumored that 80% of the film would be reshot. Of course, that's impossible -- but the film did indeed go through extensive reshoots as to tighten the story. Lucasfilm's Kathleen Kennedy is among many of the filmmakers behind "Rogue One" that defended the revisions, noting that it's very common for a blockbuster of this scope to undergo such a meticulous process. Now, director Gareth Edwards has provided his side of the controversy, explaining why it was necessary to spend so much time perfecting "Rogue One's" final edit.
Edwards recently spoke with The Los Angeles Times about his "Rogue One" reshoots, indicating that a third of the film -- which he describes as having an "embedded documentary style to it" -- required heavy consideration over its sequencing because so much material was shot. Edwards said:
What happened was that I’d say a third of the movie or more has this embedded documentary style to it, and as a result we shot hours and hours and days and days of material. Normally when you put a film together it goes together like A-B-C-D-E and you move on. Whereas we had so many permutations, so many different ways it could be constructed, it took longer in the edit to find the exact version.
We’d always planned to do a pickup shoot but we needed a lot of time to figure out all this material and get the best out of it. So that pushed the entire schedule in a big way. Then Disney saw the film and reacted really well and they said, “Whatever you need, we’re going to support you.” Our visual-effects shot count went from 600 to nearly 1,700, so suddenly we could do absolutely anything we wanted. To design 1,000 visual effects shots should take a year, so it was all hands to the pump and we never came up for air really until about a week ago.
Addressing his collaboration with filmmaker Tony Gilroy, who was reportedly brought in to tighten the dialogue and advise a few scenes, Edwards had this to say:
Things kept improving constantly and the film was getting better and better — and if you’re improving it, you don’t stop. I think any other movie you would say, “That’ll do. We’re going to get a hit.” But “Star Wars” is going to live forever if you do it properly. We just can’t let it go. You’ve got keep going until they praise it out of your hands.
Making “Star Wars” is a team sport, really. You can’t make these massive movies completely on your own. Even from the costumes to the guns to the ships to the VFX, it’s a real team effort.
Actor Riz Ahmed also commented on the reshoots, saying they were extensive, but extremely important in order to make the perfect film:
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 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.
Directed by Edwards, written by Chris Weitz, Tony Gilroy, John Knoll and Gary Whitta, and starring Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso, Diego Luna as Cassian Andor, Alan Tudyk as K-2SO, Donnie Yen as Chirrut Îmwe, Wen Jiang as Baze Malbus, Ben Mendelsohn as Orson Krennic, Forest Whitaker as Saw Gerrera, Riz Ahmed as Bodhi Rook and Mads Mikkelsen as Galen Erso, "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" opens stateside on December 16.