Over the weekend Rogue One: A Star Wars Story dominated, breaking records the way Star Wars movies always do. It was no small feat considering the movie is a spinoff, which tend to under-perform and be met with lukewarm reviews. But not this time; the audience reaction has been incredible, even with arguably the most shocking final act in Star Wars lore.
You know what I'm talking about. Everybody bites it. Not just one or two peripheral characters, but the entire crew. Lucasfilm wasn't playing around when they said not to expect any sequels. Was that always Gareth Edwards' plan, to kill everyone off? In a recent conversation with Empire (via io9), Edwards revealed that it wasn't his plan to do that at first, but that the change came about during the extensive reshoots we heard so much about...
“The very first version, they didn’t [die]. In the screenplay. And it was just assumed by us that we couldn’t do that. ‘They’re not going to let us do that.’ So I was trying to figure out how this ends where that doesn’t happen. And then everyone read that and there was this feeling of like, ‘They’ve got to die, right?’ And everyone was like, ‘Yeah, can we?’ We thought we weren’t going to be allowed to but Kathy [Kennedy, President of Lucasfilm] and everyone at Disney were like ‘Yeah it makes sense/ I guess they have to because they’re not in A New Hope...I kept waiting for someone to go, ‘You know what? Could we just film an extra scene where we see Jyn and Cassian, they’re okay and they’re on another planet?’ And it never came. No one ever gave us that note, so we got to do it."
It just goes to show how much faith Disney had in Edwards to let him go all the way with it, especially when most movies are busy trying to establish a franchise without telling a proper story. Rogue One says what it needs to say and closes the door, which is pretty cool.
Something else that floored eagle-eyed fans was the return of some familiar faces from Star Wars: A New Hope. Look closely during the final X-Wing battle over Scarif and you'll notice the same Red and Gold team leaders in action. It's just another cool moment in a film full of them, and to think the whole thing came about accidentally, or so Edwards told RadioTimes...
“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.’”
“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.”
Awesome, and at both showings I attended the crowd definitely noticed. Any true fan would, just sayin'.