The first Star Wars anthology film, “Rogue One”, is due for release this coming December. It tells the story of how the rebels steal the death star plans that we see Princess Leia in possession of at the beginning of Episode IV: A New Hope.
Starring Felicity Jones, and Ben Mendelsohn, initial reports emerged earlier this week that Disney executives were unhappy with early cuts of the film, ordering significant re-shoots to take place over approximately 4 weeks. Given that principal photography of films is generally in the 6 – 8 week vicinity, that length of time gives an idea of how substantial the reshoots appeared to be.
However further details have emerged in the last 24 hours, indicating that the criticisms from Disney are largely around the tone of the film, given both the success of The Force Awakens, and Rogue One’s chronological proximity to the classic trilogy of films.
Comments made suggest that Gareth Edwards initial cut made for a sombre and gritty war film and that the reshoots will lighten the overall feel of the film, while returning it to more of an adventure tale. The tonal shift appears to be to align it more closely with those original Star Wars films.
Further to the above, it’s difficult not to connect the recent Han Solo casting news to these reshoots, at this point it’d almost be a plot twist to not have Solo make an appearance, to raise awareness of his own upcoming anthology film.
Reshoots and pickup shots are a fairly typical part of the filmmaking process so there should be no real surprise at this news, but the apparent extensiveness of these reshoots likely indicates some creative differences going on between director Gareth Edwards and the execs at Disney.
While it’d be interesting to know more about the different takes on the film, it’s not finished until it’s released and we’ll likely never know for sure exactly what changes are being made at this point. Bring on December!