Gareth Edwards Explains How Unused Star Wars Footage Went Into Rogue One


If you’re among the millions of people who saw Rogue One: A Star Wars Story this weekend, there’s a good chance that you caught something rather peculiar. In the final cinematic battle sequence, unused outtakes from George Lucas’ original Star Wars: A New Hope made their way onto the screen, resulting in a blend of footage both old and new. Now that the film has been released, director Gareth Edwards has opened up on how that came to be.

The sequence in question happens when the rebel backup arrives in the form of X-Wing pilots, as they exchange their callsigns. The inspiration for using this unearthed footage came about when Edwards explored the archives of Lucasfilm, finding the opportunity to use it irresistible.

Here’s what the director told Radio Times:

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 digitised at all.’

From there, Edwards handed the footage over to the talented technical wizards at Industrial Light and Magic (ILM), and the rest came from their unprecedented, state of the art craftsmanship.

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….Through the magic of ILM [special effect studio Industrial Light and Magic] they cut round them and manipulated them and stuck them into our cockpits.

Edwards admitted that he didn’t know if they could pull it off, nor if audiences would catch it. But if you noticed some cheering erupting from your theatre at that particular time in the film, then you now know why. The director revealed that there was cheering from the world premiere in LA, at least, and said that it was the “only time during the premiere where I actually punched the air.”

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is now playing in theatres everywhere. Tell us, did you catch this little nod? Let us know by commenting down below.