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Disney / Lucasfilm

Gareth Edwards reveals how he got the ‘Rogue One’ directing job

It's been five years since 'Rogue One' was released in theaters. Here's how Gareth Edwards landed in the director's chair.
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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story more than achieved its goal of giving us a new perspective on the Star Wars universe, taking us to cool new places, introducing us to a great cast of new (and doomed) characters, and letting audiences wallow in that timeless original trilogy aesthetic. Now that the dust has settled, it’s generally considered the best Disney-era Star Wars movie and will soon receive a spinoff prequel in upcoming Disney Plus show Andor.

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To mark the fifth anniversary of its release, director Gareth Edwards spoke to about how he ended up with a dream job in a galaxy far, far away. He was working on Godzilla when he first heard that Lucasfilm was interested in working with him, but was skeptical about the opportunity panning out.

“I was really torn. I wrote back to Kiri [Hart] saying, ‘I think this would be an amazing idea for a Star Wars film, but are you seriously going to do this? Or is it just like, spaghetti at the wall kind of stuff?’ And she was like, ‘No, no, no. This is what we want to do, potentially next.'”

“Then I figured, they’re talking to maybe 20 filmmakers and I’m one of them, so I probably won’t even make the cut. I went in for a few more meetings, met with Kathy [Kennedy], and it was all going very well. And then at one point I thought, I’m just going to ask the question just for my own peace of mind. I said, ‘How many other filmmakers and directors are you talking to about this?’ And they were like, ‘Oh, none.’ I was thinking, ‘Oh, God, are you crazy?’ [Laughs] And then for whatever reason, I got to do it.”

Rogue One was a monster hit, so much so that it’s almost easy to forget that throughout 2016, we heard reports that the production was in seriously bad shape. There were extensive re-writes and reshoots, complete with rumors that the film was taken away from Edwards and given to someone else to finish up.

That someone was director Tony Gilroy, who has since indicated that the constant notes and changes from Lucasfilm had resulted in the soul of the movie being lost. We know that the original script featured far murkier morality, especially in relation to its heroes. The final product presented them more ambiguously as heroes, resulting in plenty of reshoots.

Whatever went down behind the scenes, I loved the finished product, particularly the late rampage by Darth Vader. Here’s hoping Andor captures what we all enjoyed about Rogue One when it airs on Disney Plus in summer 2022.

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David James
I'm a writer/editor who's been at the site since 2015. Love writing about video games and will crawl over broken glass to write about anything related to Hideo Kojima. But am happy to write about anything and everything, so long as it's interesting!