Rogue One: A Deeper Look at the Reshoots

Yesterday, The NY Post broke the news that Rogue One is reportedly in trouble and headed for reshoots. While the piece was full of clickbait and overblown speculation, it did get one fact right: there will be reshoots.

We’ve already determined that cast member Donnie Yen will be flying back to London for what he called “additional photography.” Instead of being merely for promotional material, that turned out to be the reshoot. Today, the Hollywood Reporter confirmed the NY Post story.

In a nutshell:

  • The reshoots are happening in mid-June
  • They were ordered after Disney execs screened the initial cut
  • The execs claim the current cut is “tonally deaf” from what a Star Wars movie is
  • The preview was only screened internally at Disney, and there were no test audiences as reported by NY Post
  • The December 16 release date will push though as planned

rogue one reshoot

Let’s analyze:

The reshoots are happening in mid-June

Rogue One started production in August last year, with principal photography going until February. A June reshoot means they are working hard to fix the movie before Star Wars Celebration Europe, which happens in London on July 15, and Comic Con, which starts on the last week of July.

Historically, these two massive events are marketing goldmines for Disney. And with Rogue One being this year’s offering, the pressure is on to provide a more substantial teaser to one-up the trailer released in April.

If the mid-June shoot stretches several weeks, the cast might even be in London to attend Celebration Europe. Last year’s Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim was attended by nearly the whole TFA cast, lacking only Harrison Ford and Adam Driver. It was also the first appearance of the First Order stormtroopers and BB-8. Presumably, we should see a similar star-studded appearance by the Rogue One cast to drum up anticipation, and the reshoots could coincide with that.

Disney execs feel the tone is off

From the get-go, Rogue One was being marketed as part gritty war film, part heist movie. Did Disney have a change of heart after viewing the initial cut?

The Hollywood Reporter’s source stated “This is the closest thing to a prequel ever. This takes place just before A New Hope and leads up to the 10 minutes before that classic film begins. You have to match the tone!”

This is the first solid confirmation we have that the last moments of Rogue One will lead right into A New Hope. In the supposed panic over the reshoot, it seems that most people missed this relevant intel. So whatever changes that need to be done might have to do with the ending, rather than the story as a whole, to match the style and tone of A New Hope for continuity.

Historically, most of Disney’s live-action movies are four-quadrant attractions. This means they appeal to both sexes, as well as the under-25 and over-25 age demographic. In contrast, a war film generally appeals to a male audience. The source further claims the reshoot seek to add “lightness and brevity” to the finished film. Maybe the current cut is too testosterone-driven, and Disney thinks it lacks the grand epic feel of Star Wars.

But more importantly, the ending itself could be too gritty or tragic, like Saving Private Ryan. What if the whole Rogue One team gave up their lives to transmit the battlestation plans to Princess Leia? Even in their darkest moments, the Star Wars films sought to add hope to the end scene, and the additional shots seek to rectify that. Instead of Jyn and crew gazing into the sunset while dying from their battle wounds, Disney might have ordered a happier ending to hit that four-quadrant sweet spot.

The release date will push through

While the initial NY Post report made it sound all doom and gloom, follow-on reporting by other outlets confirmed that the movie launch is unaffected. Rogue One’s December 16 release stays on target. Even The Force Awakens needed three weeks of extensive reshoots during post-production, and it still launched as planned.

Since Rogue One is the first standalone film, it’s also the first that doesn’t have to follow the Star Wars formula. Fans are already speculating whether there will be an opening crawl, an end-wipe, or the familiar musical score.

forest whitaker rogue one.jpg“If you keep reshooting, what will it become?”

What if Rogue One goes further than that? When it was originally shot, the lead star for the Han Solo film hasn’t been cast. Now that Alden Ehrenreich landed the role, the reshoots could potentially add him as a cameo, or even in a post-credits preview for the next anthology film. The Marvel franchise is famous for its cameos and post-credits surprises. And it also happens to be owned by Disney.

Regardless, we know that director Gareth Edwards and crew will be quite busy in the next few weeks. Whether their hard work pays off will be determined in December. And we can expect to know the full story behind today’s drama by next year.


While the Rogue One squad scrambles, check out the latest update on the Han Solo spinoff!

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