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Rogue One: Interview with a Former Production Crew

Now that it’s July, we’re just two weeks away from Star Wars Celebration, and what will surely be a Rogue One extravaganza!

If you can’t wait that long, Stormtrooper Larry interviewed a former film crew member during Rogue One’s initial production last year.

Our low-level source, whom we’ll call “Monty” is low enough in the production hierarchy that he can’t offer any plot leaks or earth-shattering revelations. However, what Monty provides is a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at what filming the movie was like.

What exactly did you do in Rogue One?

I can’t be more specific, but let’s just say I worked under the Director of Photography.

When did you sign on?

I signed the contract first quarter last year. To get us hyped up for the shoot, they showed a short pre-production clip. It was a slow pan of a green planet, then a TIE fighter entered the frame. As the camera followed the fighter soaring over the planet, the view swiveled up to show the Death Star in the distance!

We understand you can’t tell us any leaks or spoilers about Rogue One.

Yes. When you sign on, there’s a thick Non-Disclosure binder. It basically says to keep mum about the whole project for four years, or else Lucasfilm and Lunak (Heavy Industries Ltd, the production name behind Rogue One) can take legal action against you. Even after filming has wrapped up.

Without spoiling anything, can you share a memorable scene from production?

You know how the prequels got a lot of flak for being full of green-screen? Well in Rogue One it’s really old school. We built a giant sandbox in the backlot (of Pinewood Studios in the UK, where Rogue One was filmed).

All I can say is it’s a beach scene. The actual “sea” part of the beach was shot elsewhere, but the rest of the footage, including a coastal battle, was shot in a heavily cordoned area in Buckinghamshire. We even had to wait for the perfect weather to film that scene. It’s going to be incredible on the big screen.

We also marry practical effects with CGI. For example, there’s a scene that takes place in a rundown urban setting. Think Baghdad or Syria. Instead of using a chroma key backdrop (green screen), we actually built physical store fronts and staged real explosions. The CGI part comes from the units taking part in the battle.

I believe combining old-school props with digital VFX is the best formula. Instead of staring at a green curtain, the cast interacts with physical props. It immerses them in this galaxy far, far away and enables them  to act more convincingly. When the good guys flinch from an explosion, they’re not acting. It’s a real reaction caught on camera. Contrast that with films like  The Jungle Book, which was all green screened inside a soundstage.

For you, what was the best part of production?

Besides being able to put Star Wars on my resume? (Laughs).

Well I wasn’t lucky enough to be part of the camera crew that filmed the beach scene on a tropical island abroad. But I did get to visit RAF Cardington (a historic air base in the UK). We turned this giant hangar into a set, and we did so with great care since it was an airship shed with a history dating back to World War I!

We even used active service members from the RAF and Army Air Corps as extras. I can’t reveal their roles, let’s just say it was a natural fit for them.

And what was the worst part of production, if any?

Well we used an IMAX camera, an Arri Alexa 65. It shot tremendously beautiful footage on ultra widescreen 65mm film in 6k resolution. The large format simply blows away 35mm film. However to do that it needed a LOT of light, and it was a massive pain to set up the gobos and stage lights to get the lighting just right.

It’s also a fairly new camera with a limited selection of lenses. So if we wanted to zoom in, for example, we had to physically move the unit instead of using a zoom lens. The grips (in charge of the dollies and rigging) and the gaffers (in charge of the lights) really earned their pay.

What can you tell us about the reshoots?

There’s nothing much to say that hasn’t been said already.

Most of the film crew is the same, but they had to look for new extras. That was assigned to Twickenham Film Studios, and they put out a casting call last month. We were able to poach the casting director who did Harry Potter, War Horse and Kingdom of Heaven. Since the reshoots will be in Pinewood, anyone interested to be a “moving prop” should have the legal right to work in the UK.

We did have a good laugh when the tabloids said Chris (McQuarrie) was “taking over” the reshoots. There’s such a thing as the Director’s Guild, and one of the basic rules is that there can only be one director per film. There are exceptions when the directors previously worked together like the Wachowski brothers. The Han Solo film belongs in that category since (directors) Phil Lord and Chris Miller co-directed the Lego movie.

Do you know anything about Star Wars Episode VIII?

Nope, totally different production company and film crew. About the only shared resource we have in common is the physical location, Pinewood Studios, and specialist production outfits like the prop makers.

However, the photography crew all winced when we heard their IMAX was damaged during filming in Ireland. If it’s anything like our Alexa unit, it’s going to be rare, expensive and hard to replace, since the cameras are in extremely short supply.

What was it like to work with Gareth Edwards?

I’m low enough on the menu that I didn’t get to work with him personally. My crew reported to Doug Fraser, the director of photography who also did Zero Dark Thirty.

That said, the crews have tremendous respect for Gareth. This is the guy who did Monsters on a tight wallet, with an off-the-shelf Sony EX-3 and a regular Nikon lens. Hell, the rental, transportation and insurance charges of our IMAX camera alone cost more than that movie’s entire budget!

Do you have a message for Star Wars fans?

Star Wars has the magical ability to transport you to a different galaxy.

When you watch Rogue One for the second or third time, look beyond the planets and try to peer behind the scenes. You’ll find that the production process can be even more amazing than the finished film.

The good guys are actually operating out of a historic airship hangar used by the RAF, and that tropical planet is actually the concrete backlot of a studio in Iver Heath!

Monty” would like to greet his wife Mrs. M a happy anniversary. “either in the last month or the next two months.” Not because he forgot the exact date, but because he can’t be more specific.

 

Rogue One Photoshop Bonanza!

This week, Entertainment Weekly released a bunch of exclusive photos on Rogue One, as a reward for kowtowing to Disney.

While we loved the new images, they lacked a certain sophistication. Which is why we at Stormtrooper Larry took it upon ourselves to improve the Rogue One spread.

You’re welcome, EW!

Death troopers

rockstar

Did you know that the dreaded Death Troopers are NOT what they are? They’re actually the galaxy’s most famous heavy metal band! Don’t believe the Rebel propaganda, Death Troopers rock!

In fact here they are doing a shoot for Star Wars Super Soakers:

rogue one death troopers beach leak funny

And a holozine spread for Good Housekeeping’s Summer Catalog 2016:

rogue one deathtrooper stormtrooper doll leak funny

Support the Death Troopers, buy their album today!

Stormtroopers

This is the real reason for the Rogue One reshoot: it ain’t a Disney film without a song and dance number.

rogue one stormtroopers funny leak

Baze and Chirrut

 Allegedly, Baze is a heavy weapons specialist, while Chirrut is a blind warrior who follows the path of the Jedi. But there’s more to these two than meets the eye.

Baze is actually an enterprising businessman who diverts the Rebellion’s meager supplies for sale on the black market:

rogue one baze leak funny

What Baze doesn’t know is that his “blind” buddy Chirrut has a secret of his own:

chirrut baze rogue one leak funny

What a bunch of lowlifes. Truly despicable Rebel scum.

The Tech Guy

Every crew has a techie guy. For the Rogue crew, they have Weed Ahmed:

rogue one riz ahmed leak funny

“Going against a laser moon and a space wizard? That be crazy man! I’ll have what you’re smoking.”

The Death Star raid

According to Disney, this is one of the scenes that had to be reshot for Rogue One to get a PG rating. In this scene, Jyn Erso and an unidentified male lead celebrate in a trash compactor after successfully stealing the Death Star plans:

rogue one jyn erso leak sexy funny

“Dammit Larry, hurry up will you? We’re gonna get caught!”

“Im… almost… done… Jyn.”

Detective Krennic

Following the theft of the Death Star blueprints, the Empire sends its most capable inspector to track the suspects… Detective Orson Krennic.

rogue one director krenic leak funny

“A discarded disguise, counterfeit access cards, and a used condom… This was obviously the work of Stormtrooper Larry. All elementary, my dear Tarkin.”

 

Rogue One: Analyzing the New Characters from the EW Reveal

A few hours ago there was a disturbance in the Force, as if millions of fans cried out in surprise. That’s because Entertainment Weekly has just released the shizz about Rogue One!

Since everybody’s already posting about the new characters, we’ll avoid rehashing the same content. Instead, let’s analyze the new characters and what they mean for the movie.

Jyn Erso

rogue one jyn erso window

According to Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, “she has been detained [by the Rebellion] and is being given an opportunity to be useful. And by being useful, it may commute her sentence…

Remember the KeepR1Dark leakKeepR1Dark leak? That mysterious poster, though debunked, claimed that Jyn was caught shipjacking by the Rebellion:

Our hero Jyn Erso is caught trying to steal a rebel fighter and is taken into custody. When her background is revealed she’s given the choice of going on a mission to the planet to see what kind of weapons are being tested or being turned over to bounty hunters to be turned into the Empire for the substantial price on her head.

Saw Gerrera

saw gerrera rogue one.jpg

Along with his sister, Steela, he fought alongside Darth Vader — back when the Sith lord was just an impetuous young Jedi named Anakin Skywalker. In the episode A War on Two Fronts, which aired in October 2012, Saw and Steela were part of an insurgent group being unofficially trained by Anakin, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and the padawan Ahsoka Tano. 

  • As always, the excellent folks at MakingStarWars got good set intel… the production crew nicknamed him “Castro” probably in reference to Che Gueverra, from where “Saw Gerrera” may have come from
  • Why is his appearance different? Our guess is the trailer was a flashback, when a young rebellious Jyn may have bumped into him (If you keep fighting, what will you become?) Later on we see the older, slightly unhinged Gerrera… who’s fighting his own war independent of the Rebellion.

Director Orson Krennic

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Ben Mendelsohn) Ph: Film Frame ©Lucasfilm LFLOn the opposing side, this villain is an ambitious Imperial apparatchik who intends to use his squad of Deathtroopers to pulverize the Rebel uprising and ascend into the Emperor’s graces – while hopefully avoiding the wrath of his enforcer, Darth Vader.

The Rogue One Visual Story guide leak was right… the only thing it lacked was Krennic’s first name. At this point however, it’s still not clear exactly what he is Director of. The title is commonly used for government institutions (like the FBI and CIA), and not the military.

It also quashes any EU wishes of him being an analogue of Grand Admiral Thrawn, though he may have the same tactical brilliance.

Galen Erso

Jyn’s estranged father is like the galactic version of nuclear pioneer J. Robert Oppenheimer, with doomsday knowledge that is sought by both the Empire and the Rebellion. “He’s one of those people that has insight into you know specific aspects of just how the universe works,” says Hart. Where has Galen been, if Jyn has been on her own for years? “The circumstances of how the family got to the state that it’s in is something that we probably don’t want to share right now,”

  • Doomsday knowledge is clearly a reference to the Death Star. This reinforces the rumors that Mad Mikkelsen is a weapons designer who refined the original Geonosian blueprint and made the Death Star possible.
  • It’s also funny how Mikkelsen outed his character when he signed that “Galen” autograph way back in September 2015.
  • Out of all the major characters revealed in EW, only Galen didn’t have a photo. It’s possible his appearance may be disheveled and deranged after many years in Imperial custody. He could also be the hooded figure in the trailer.

 

Chirrut and Baze

Not to be cynical assholes, but our two Asian characters don’t just represent galactic diversity —  they’re a shrewd move on Disney’s part to make the Star Wars brand a cultural phenomenon in China, where it’s much less known compared to the rest of the world.

K-2SO

rogue one k2so

Told ya :p

 

Entertainment Weekly

Finally, why was EW the exclusive publication to reveal the characters? It’s because the magazine carried Disney’s propaganda regarding the Rogue One reshoots last June 3.

Remember how EW released Disney’s spin that:

  • The new scenes were for character development, “mostly talking in cockpits”
  • There is no “toning down”of action scenes, contrary to fan fears

The funny thing is, Lucasfilm hired a noted James Bond stunt coordinator right after that. You don’t hire guys like those for quiet “character building” scenes in cockpits.

So it seems Entertainment Weekly finally got their reward after helping Disney with damage control.

EXCLUSIVE: The Latest on Rogue One Actor Donnie Yen

Last month, we reported that actor Donnie Yen ((甄子丹) will go back to London for Rogue One, even before news of the reshoots broke.

Yesterday, we learned that Chirrut is back in the UK to shoot additional scenes.

Bothan spy “Peter Chang” says Donnie left during the past week, and is now be inside the guarded walls of Pinewood Studios in London.

“The guy is very low-key. Despite being one of Asia’s highest earning celebrities, he doesn’t travel with PAs. He and Cissy (Donnie’s wife Cecilia Wang 汪詩詩) often travel by themselves and carry their own luggage. So his departure from HK wasn’t picked up by the media.”

Taking on the role of Chirrut

In the official cast photo and trailer, Disney took great pains to emphasize Chirrut as a staff-wielding warrior. That’s because the role was specifically tailored for him.

“Not many people know that Donnie is a wushu world champion. Before he branched out into the MMA, wushu was his life. His mother founded a wushu school in Boston and he was sent off to Beijing Sports University for further training. So handling a wushu long stick is second-nature to Donnie,” says Chang. “In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if he choreographed the fight with the stormtroopers himself.”

However, even the 52-year old needs a breather every now and then. “From what I heard, Donnie had to take a break after one particular fight scene for Rogue One last October. The cause wasn’t specified, but it’s likely because of his recurring spinal injury.” Yen suffered serious neck and spine injuries while filming a local action movie three years ago, a mishap that’s plagued him since.

May madness

According to this Far East Bothan, Chirrut was really busy over the past month. “Donnie had a full schedule in May. Most of it was booked for XXX: The Return of Xander Cage, where he plays the main villain after Jet Li backed out.”

“The XXX shoot wrapped up in the third week of May, and Donnie flew home to Hong Kong. The Rogue One reshoots weren’t public knowledge yet, but he was the first to clue in fans when he was interviewed by Oriental Daily News (an HK publication) during a local event. He said he was due back in London for additional Rogue One photography.”

“He then flew to Japan for a quick shoot for a German brand. That was when news about the Rogue One reshoot went public.”

Pre-Rogue One R&R

In preparation for his Rogue One duties, Donnie took some time off to unwind. This suggests he may be in the UK for a while. “From Japan it was back to HK for three days. Then it was off to Singapore for a much deserved vacation with his staff.” Donnie has his own production company, Bullet Films.

donnie yen rogue one newsDonnie Yen (in blue shirt) with the Bullet Films crew in Universal Studios Singapore

“He and his wife treated over three dozen staff members to a holiday. They stayed at Resorts World Sentosa where the couple are brand ambassadors, and visited Universal Studios. Donnie doesn’t normally splurge, so this could mean he’ll be gone for a while and made the most of his break in Asia.”

Star Wars Celebration Europe,  happening on July 15-17, coincides with the reshoots. So it’s possible Donnie and the Rogue One crew will attend the event and have their stay extended.

“For Donnie, it was a well-deserved break before a jampacked June and July for Rogue One. But he made sure his employees got to have enjoy the same break he did, and that’s the wonderful thing about him.”

The Star Wars secrecy

Chang says that out of Donnie’s films, Rogue One has got to be the most secretive. “From Ip-Man to Monkey King, Donnie loved to post teasers about his projects. In fact, for XXX he posted updates almost daily. But there was almost none of that for Rogue One.”

Actually, Donnie did post an update: he was the first to leak the Death Trooper and Shore Trooper helmets on his Instagram account last August:

donnie yen death trooper rogue one leak

The image was quickly taken down, but not before the entire Internet saved it. Within hours, everyone from Entertainment Weekly to The UK Mirror was talking about the new helmets. And Chang says that might be the reason for Donnie’s subsequent silence.

“From what I heard, the PR agency behind Lunak Heavy (the production name for Rogue One) hands out penalty cards to members who violate the non-disclosure policy. And yes, not even cast members are exempt. So that’s probably why he’s been mum on all things Rogue One ever since.”

However, even Chirrut has a weakness. “The Yen kids love Star Wars. But it’s the middle one, James, who’s an absolute fan. The little guy has everything from costumes to lightsabers, and he celebrated his birthday with a Star Wars-themed party. I don’t see how Donnie could NOT tell him about Rogue One and expect some peace and quiet at home. So if you want the real scoop, ask James!”

Rogue One and the Chinese market

Despite Donnie’s (as well as his wife’s Cissy’s) spoiler gaffes, Chang believes his role Chirrut is critical to the film’s success — perhaps even more so than the other characters.

“China is the world’s 2nd biggest box office market, second only to the US. What better way to penetrate that market than through the star of Ip Man?”

The Ip Man film franchise is one of the highest-grossing films in Asia. In fact, for regions like Hong Kong and mainland China, the name has more recall than Star Wars. “Remember that PRC (China) was a closed society during the ’70s and ’80s when Star Wars became a global phenomenon. That’s why Hollywood is trying its best to penetrate the market, by roping in recognizable names like Donnie.”

In fact, China is so important to Disney that Rogue One features not just one, but two Asian celebrities. Chinese actor and director Jiang Wen plays Baze, a freelance assassin. While Donnie captures the pan-Asian market like Hong Kong and Malaysia where Ip Man set new records, Wen’s inclusion is directly aimed at the mainland and its 1.3 billion audience.

The Chinese market is still a mystery to the West. While the recently released Warcraft movie bombed in the US, it became a box office hit in China, outgrossing even The Force Awakens within five days.

This is the reason why Donnie Yen (and his compatriot Jiang Wen) are the Mouse’s only hope for galactic success in China.


Special thanks to “Peter Chang” for the exhaustive intel, as well as Bullet Films Productions member “Agent Wai” for confirming some of the details for this story!

The Rogue One Leak as Written by a Spambot

While slacking off at work today, Stormtrooper Larry came across this gem; the Rogue One leak poorly rewritten by a copy bot. Either that, or a really lazy asshole replaced every word with synonyms and tried to pass it off as his own.

Look at the opening paragraph. This is probably what the original text looked like:

“Things have been mostly quiet on the Rogue One front recently for Lucasfilm. Since the first trailer was released in early April, we’ve heard scant info on new characters, the plot, or almost anything.”

And here’s how the bot rewrote it:

Issues were strangely quiet on the Rogue One entrance in recent years for Lucasfilm. For the reason that the first trailer debuted in early April, we’ve heard little on the method of reliable phrase on the new characters, what’s to return in the tale, or nearly anything.”

From there, everything goes hilariously downhill. Here are the character descriptions:

Jyn Erso

A tender lady recruited through the Insurrection to lend a hand scouse borrow the plans to the first Dying Famous person.

Jyn may be reckless, aggressive and undisciplined … but she’s a tender lady, Mon Mothma, don’t forget that. And Dying Famous must be the Rebel codeword for the Death Star, whose plans she will steal borrow!

Cassian Andor (Diego Luna)

A Insurrection Alliance Captain

Where do we sign up for the Insurrection Alliance to Reinstate the Republic?

rebel-alliance-790x494.jpg

Baze (Jiang Wen)

A contract murderer

Hey now, Stormtrooper Larry’s uncle Barry was a Mandalorian assassin and part-time ethics teacher. But we never called him a “contract murderer”!

Okay-250 (Alan Tudyk)

An Imperial-elegance enforcer droid programmed to lend a hand the Rebels

So it’s not K-250 or K-2SO, it’s Okay-250. And apparently, he’s an Imperial-elegance droid… elegant like C-3PO! So that “Enforcer-class droid” was a smokescreen by Disney all along!

Bodhi (Riz Ahmed)

A Revolt soldier

Does this mean he’s with the Revolt Alliance then? A splinter group of the Insurrection?

Pao and Bistan (no showed actor information on both)

Diminutive extraterrestrial beings defined as “fierce warriors”

Wow, tiny extraterrestrials that are fierce warriors! Are they like thumb-sized ETs, but with guns?

And finally,

Chirrut (Donnie Yen)

A non secular warrior

Like this?

shaolin-monks-1.jpg

Tender ladies, Insurrectionists, shaolin monks and Okay-250 the elegance droid. A diverse group with one mission: to scouse (?) borrow the plans to the Dying Famous Person battlestation.

We don’t know about you, but we’d buy a dozen tickets to this movie!

rogue one parody.jpg

Don’t forget to check out the real reason behind the Rogue One reshoot!

Rogue One: Mads Mikkelsen Claims Reshoots Seek to “Add and Polish”

In the latest on the Rogue One reshoot drama, cast member Mads Mikkelsen claims the reshoots seek to add more to the film, rather than tone it down as fans fear.

Speaking to the UK daily The Independent, Mikkelsen talked about the Rogue One reshoots, as well his other appearances on a new dark comedy called Men and Chicken, Doctor Strange and Hannibal.

But Stormtrooper Larry doesn’t care about those, so here’s the juicy Rogue One parts from the interview:

There is a lot of talk about the ongoing reshoots, are you involved with them?

I have one day. I can’t remember when, in two weeks I think.

It’s been very mixed in the press, with two sides; some sources are claiming the film will undergo big changes while others are saying it will be very minimal. What’s the feeling you have from being involved with the film?

Basically, all the big films I have done always have reshoots, it is part of their budget. They’re either not super happy with a scene bit, the way we were acting, or maybe there’s something they want to add. It’s not a new thing, it happens with every film. Whether it’s bigger or less, I have no idea, I have nothing to compare with. It’s the same film, it’s just adding little bits here and there to do the final polishing. That’s my feeling.

It’s interesting because, obviously, films get reshot all the time but, for this one, it has been talked about everywhere. 

That’s also interesting, to make the right goal and all the rumours happening. [Disney] love that, it’s free publicity.

You’re in Rogue One, apparently playing a semi-villain who is ‘not a bad guy,’ is there anything you can tell me about the character?

I’m not sure how much I’m allowed to say without killing you. I play someone in the film, yes. So far, so good.

So to summarize,

  • Mads will be back in Pinewood for a one-day shoot two weeks from now
  • The reshoots seek to add more to the story, instead of watering down scenes
  • He claims it’s “still the same film”
  • He can’t tell us about his role, after inadvertently revealing that he’s Jyn Erso’s father a while ago.

The rumor is, Mads is not just central character Jyn Erso’s dad in a series of flashbacks, he’s also an Imperial weapons engineer/scientist who refined the original Geonosian design and made the Death Star possible. That explains why Jyn grew up without a father, as well as her rebellious streak. Is it just us, or does Star Wars have a thing for orphaned heroes?

Anyway, the interview is just a teaser excerpt from a longer segment. Expect The Independent to release the full transcript soon, but for die-hard Bothans, these are the parts that matter.

And that’s the latest on the Rogue One reshoot mama-jama.

rogue one death star leak

Who would you rather believe, Mads Mikkelsen and his Disney handlers? Or Stormtrooper Larry who was the actual cause of the Rogue One reshoots?

EXCLUSIVE: Leaked Cuts of Rogue One Before the Reshoot!

Last week, the entire holonet was panicking over rumors that Rogue One was headed for reshoot. Today, we can share the real reason for the controversy: a key cast member is leaving the film.

According to production insiders, a mysterious cast member known only as “Larry” had a pay dispute with studio execs. Disney supposedly cut the celebrity A-lister’s salary and chose to spend it on VFX for “an orange alien with a Jamaican accent”.

Now that Larry has left Rogue One, we can finally share the original cut before Disney’s meddling.

rogue one crew posterThe Rogue crew actually get their name from a mysterious stormtrooper who goes rogue to help the fledgling Rebellion: Stormtrooper FU-1287, aka “Larry”.

rogue one tank trooper“A universe with repulsor technology and they insist on foot patrols. Can’t FUCKING wait for my turn on the tank.”

rogue one bacta tank“Dammit your highness, not again! If you keep peeping with your creepy thugs, I’m switching over to the rebels!”

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Ben Mendelsohn) Ph: Film Frame ©Lucasfilm LFL“Our holonet transmissions were hacked by a defecting trooper. Find this rogue soldier… and kill him.”

 

rogue one death star leak“A major weapons test is imminent, but Disney ordered a retest of the weapons test. This gives us time to infiltrate it.”

“I just escaped from that fucking death ball Mon Mothma. You seriously expect me to go back?”

rogue one mon mothma“Forgery of imperial documents, possession of stolen property, aggravated assault, resisting arrest.”

“Don’t forget the prostitution and public obscenity in Nar Shadaa.”

running“Why are we (pant) running… K2?”

“Jyn skimped on the tip again.”

rogue one chirrut“Here’s the deal. First one to walk away doesn’t get a katana in the ass. Offer expires in 10 seconds.”

 jyn erso rogue one leak“Shit, it’s a dead end! I got a bad feeling about this.”

“Um… how about we surrender?”

rogue one at-act“I thought you said they were cargo trucks!”

rogue one jyn erso window“Jyn. Promise me you’ll come back.”

“I will. It’s not like Vader will show up or anything.”


Did you know:

  • Tom Hardy, Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise all auditioned for Rogue One? In the end, it was Stormtrooper Larry’s convincing performance and rugged good looks that landed the role.
  • Larry’s defection to the Alliance was caused not by his moral conscience, but by the Emperor’s habit of peeping in the Death Star’s shower room every Tuesday.
  • The original ending pitted Darth Vader against Larry, who was armed only with a nightstick, two packs of gum and a used receipt from Watto’s Emporium. Larry bought valuable time for Jyn to transmit the plans, sacrificing his life in the process.
  • Stormtrooper Larry’s identity remains a secret — he never removed his helmet on set, despite co-star Felicity Jones’ repeated attempts to get in his pants.
  • Most of these facts were written while I was stuck in a boring meeting.

We’ll release more original footage from our Rogue One insider, so stay tuned! In the meantime, check out the REAL Episode 8 photo posted by director Rian Johnson before Disney whitewashed it.

Rogue One: The Mystery of the Orange Crates

Back in 2015, Hollywood gossip site TMZ got a juicy look behind the scenes of Rogue One. Specifically, they were able to get spy shots of the tropical planet set that Jyn and her crew will infiltrate:

rogue one spy photo

Apart from the First Order dropship-like ramp, one other thing stood out in this photo. Let’s take a closer look:

rogue one spy photo 2

Do you see it? There’s a bunch of orange capsules on set. They were also present in other set pieces for Rogue One:

rogue one spy photo 3

A closer look at the mysterious crates:

rogue one orange boxes.jpg

These spy shots were taken in September 2015 in a soundstage in North London.

Then in April, we got the first trailer for Rogue One. And once again, the mysterious crates were present. This time they were stowed in an armored vehicle convoy:

rogue one crate

The Rogue One Lego sets leak last week confirmed that the hovertank thingy is carrying orange boxes:

rogue one lego hovertank leak orange box.jpgUnfortunately we had to blur out the rest of the pic lest LEGO come after Stormtrooper Larry’s ass again

So what’s in them orange boxes? Making Star Wars thinks it has the answer: kyber crystals. MSW’s source says the orange boxes were called “kyber crystal crates” on set, and they were being mined from a mountain side.

According to Wookieepedia, kyber crystals are rare, naturally occurring crystals “resonating” with the Force. They were famously used as the lightsaber’s power source by both the Jedi and the Sith, and getting one was part of a youngling’s initiation in order to become a padawan.

kylo ren lightsaber crystal.pngA cross-section of Kylo Ren’s lightsaber. It had a cracked kyber crystal, resulting in an unstable beam and excess energy that was vented out in the crossguards.

More importantly, they were used as the basis for the old Sith Empire’s superweapons:

There were also larger, rarer crystals of great power and that, according to legend, were used at the heart of ancient superweapons by the Sith.

Interestingly, the Star Wars databank entry for the Death Star superlaser mentions kyber crystals as well:

Each of the Empire’s Death Stars were built around a terrifying weapon —  a superlaser array capable of destroying an entire planet. According to legend, the ancient Sith used massive kyber crystals to create superweapons; during the Clone Wars, the Geonosians revived the superlaser design.

Here we can infer two things:

1. The Death Star isn’t the first superlaser weapon, but the latest in a long tradition of superweapons by the Sith. They really love big lasers.

2. Like its predecessors, the Death Star’s superlaser is likely powered by kyber crystals.

This makes sense. Since kyber crystals were used to focus energy into a lightsaber’s blade, they’re also the perfect choice for focusing superlaser streams into a single, poweful beam that could obliterate an entire planet. In essence, the Death Star is one giant lightsaber, albeit one that unleashes its energy in one massive, instantaneous blast instead of a less powerful but steady stream.

So what does this mean for Rogue One? If the Death Star is indeed powered by kyber crystals, the Rogue crew would run into these orange crystal crates as they infiltrate the Imperial base and steal the plans.

If you notice, the leaked TMZ photos show what looks like an underground entrance. This fits in with MSW’s underground mine / mountainside theory of where the Empire gets the crystals:

spy photo rogue one set.jpg

The crates themselves might be the plot device that would clue the Alliance in on what the Empire is building. After all, you don’t harvest shuttle-fulls of rare, laser-focusing crystals just for a lightshow in Coruscant.

Our guess is, that hovertank convoy in the trailer will be ambushed by Jyn’s crew. Then when the Empire gets tired of its crystal convoys getting blown by IEDs, it resorts to a new type of cargo carrier: the AT-ACT.

at-act rogue one.jpgTry stealing the crystals now bitches!

Rogue One Reshoot: Famous Stunt Coordinator Brought Onboard

An exclusive report by The Hollywood Reporter claims that a veteran stunt coordinator is now part of the Rogue One reshoot.

Simon Crane was brought onboard to assist in the reputed 4-week reshoots. The THR report didn’t identify whether he’ll take on the role of stunt coordinator or second unit director.

As the name implies, a stunt coordinator is in charge of casting stuntmen and doubles, as well as choreographing the stunt portions of the film. On the other hand, a second unit director handles the second unit crew that takes supplementary footage, like establishing shots and scene inserts.

Crane got his start as a stuntman for the James Bond films A View to Kill and The Living Daylights, before moving on to become the stunt coordinator for Licence to Kill and Goldeneye. His impressive resume includes doing stuntwork in Aliens, Indiana Jones, Batman and the original Total Recall.

As his Hollywood career grew, Crane was promoted to stunt coordinator for Titanic, Braveheart, Saving Private Ryan, World War Z and Edge of Tomorrow. He also has experience being the second unit director for The World is Not Enough and Men in Black 3.

simon crane stunt.jpgCrane (right) even appeared as one of the Eurocopter pilots in Goldeneye!

Interestingly, the appointment of Crane coincides with the rumors that Chris McQuarrie is involved in the scriptwriting. McQuarrie also did work on World War Z and Edge of Tomorrow. But since he flatly denied any role in the reshoots, Chris might have recommended Crane for the stunts after having worked with him.

What does this tell us?

  • A famous stunt coordinator with a solid resume was just hired for Rogue One
  • The reshoots could involve new stunt scenes, more than just the “character development” and “talking in cockpits” claim by Entertainment Weekly
  • Even if Crane was hired as second unit director instead of stunt coordinator, his work will likely involve action sequences, just as he did on Tomb Raider and World War Z

The bottom line is, you don’t enlist someone like Crane to shoot quiet character building scenes around the Rebel campfire. Something is definitely up in Pinewood.

Either way, this is exciting news when you hire a guy who can do skydiving, scuba diving, karate, fencing and even gymnastics. It also doesn’t hurt that Crane was 007’s stunt double in The Living Daylights.

Here’s hoping we really do get a gritty, action-packed war movie!

Rogue One: Fallout from the KeepR1Dark “Leak”

A couple of days ago, Star Wars fans on Reddit woke up to a massive “leak”, supposedly from a production member of Rogue One. Calling himself KeepR1Dark, he painted a picture of a gritty war film being sundered by Disney’s corporate meddling. And KRD was the Rogue One “film crew” gone rogue.

After KRD failed to produce the promised credentials, the Reddit mods locked the thread and labeled it “Fake – No verification”.

Today, the fallout from the most compelling “leak” yet continues. Bobby Roberts, an editor with the Portland, OR daily Portland Mercury posted these on Twitter:

So what does this have to do with the majority of Star Wars fans? Well, they were retweeted by none other than Lucasfilm lorekeeper Pablo Hidalgo.

While Hidalgo did not address the KRD plot directly, this appears to be his low-key commentary regarding the authenticity of the supposed “leak”.

In addition, multiple Redditors and our own readers have chimed in to poke holes in KRD’s tale. These include:

Reshoots

According to KeepR1Dark, the reason for going his rogue was Disney’s watering down of the film. He specifically cited changes to “Darth Vader’s nighttime massacre scene” and the ending where the entire Rogue crew, except for K-2SO, die.

In reality, Entertainment Weekly broke the news that rather than replace scenes, the reshoot will add new scenes for character development. Contrary to KRD’s allegations, the reshoots will actually involve more “talking in cockpits”:

“The changes have everything to do with clarity and character development and all take place [as inserts] within scenes we’ve already shot,” said one source on the project.

In other words, the changes involve more intimate moments – not redoing entire battle sequences or plot lines. “It’s a lot of talking in cockpits,” as one insider described the new footage.

Bacta tank scene

KRD claims the bacta tank scene is actually the Death Star’s power core, and the one kneeling is Mad Mikkelsen’s character, a key Death Star engineer, in a “What have I done” moment.

However:

  • The Death Star power core is too compact, compared to the size of the DS-II’s enormous power core
  • Why were the Royal Guards, Emperor Palpatine’s personal guard, in the room?

rogue one death star core comparisonMaybe they shouldn’t have killed Mad Mikkelsen. The Death Star 2’s replacement designer was inefficient as fuck.

The AT-ATs

According to KRD, the Rebellion’s concern with the “major weapons test” mentioned in the trailer turned out to be the AT-ACTs. The Death Star itself was only discovered by accident after Jyn escaped from the battle to find her father, who is supposed to be chief designer behind the battlestation.

However, based on the Star Wars: Rebels animated series, the fledgling Rebellion was already well-aware of the Imperial walkers, having encountered them in battle several years before the events of A New Hope.


So while KeepR1Dark painted a compelling war movie with a tragic bittersweet ending, it seems the story is about as truthful as Obi-wan Kenobi.

obiwan funny

So yes, from a certain point of view, KeepR1Dark did get one thing right.

And while Reddit-bashing seems to be fashionable lately, remember that historically, the site has been the source of several accurate leaks in the run-up to The Force Awakens.

And we’d still watch the shit out of KRD’s movie.