Regardless of whether you considered it a storm in a teacup or a genuine cause for concern, the Rogue One reshoots were arguably one of the industry’s biggest stories all throughout the summer.
But fundamentally, and as director Gareth Edwards stressed at the time, ushering Disney’s anthology movie back in front of the cameras allowed those involved – Tony Gilroy included – to tweak and fine-tune Rogue One: A Star Wars Story as we know it, and reports have since claimed that both the finale and Darth Vader’s role were subject to the biggest changes. Fast forward to now and, in light of the film’s press showcase last weekend, a string of new Rogue One interviews have found their way online and yes, unsurprisingly, those reshoots were never too far away from conversation.
The LA Times caught up with Gareth Edwards (via The Playlist) recently and he revealed that the number of visual effects shots increased considerably – “600 to nearly 1,700” – during what he calls the pickup shoot.
“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.”
Carving out extra time to polish the final cut can only be a good thing, according to Edwards, who noted that during the prolonged post-production period – a period in which Tony Gilroy earned much of his alleged $5 million paycheck – Rogue One “was getting better and better.”
“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 [snatch] it out of your hands.”
Further in the piece, Riz Ahmed (Bodhi Rook) reaffirmed his director’s comments, before praising the level of faith and trust that Disney and Lucasfilm bestowed on Gareth Edwards and his team.
“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.”
We are, at the time of writing, exactly one week out from the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story here in the States. As Disney’s final tentpole of 2016, the Mouse House has massive international plans for the Gareth Edwards-directed pic, and just recently nailed down a launch date for those in China. Spoilers: it’s January 6, 2017.