gareth edwards SXSW keynote

While the bulk of the Gareth Edwards-related headlines to come out of SXSW have to do with the upcoming Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Blu-ray and DVD release, the filmmaker was actually in Austin, Texas for a reason beyond talking about Star Wars with journalists and bloggers. He was actually there to talk about Star Wars in front of an enormous crowd as one of the fest’s keynote speakers.

Now, his entire keynote has been put online by SXSW, so non-attendees can watch the whole thing.

While Edwards has gone on to become an in-demand director making giant movies for major movie studios, he’s one of the great SXSW Film Festival success stories. His first movie, the low-budget creature feature Monsters, premiered there years ago (and programmers for the fest still recall taking a chance on the film after watching a rough cut without any finished visual effects). It was that film that got him the job of directing Godzilla and he premiered the first footage from that project at SXSW months before it hit theaters. So this keynote can’t help but feel like something of a homecoming for Edwards.

The most popular news to come out of this keynote was the origin of the Star Wars planet name “Scarif,” which came about after a Starbucks barista misunderstand Edwards’ name while he was taking an order. However, the rest of the keynote is a lot of fun. Edwards is funny and self-deprecating and a total dork (which is a compliment coming from me, of course). If you’re an aspiring filmmaker, he’s an especially valuable resource. After all, here’s a guy who went from doing his own visual effects on his home computer to making the first Star Wars spin-off in about eight years. He has a great deal to say.

If you’re after more specific Star Wars business, I did sit down with Edwards shortly after his keynote to talk Rogue One spoilers, first about the film’s original ending (you know, with all of those shots we saw in the trailer) and then about some of the choices made during that big final battle (and how he got away with, well, spoilers).

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits home video on April 4, 2017.

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