Gareth Edwards Talks Rogue One Reshoots

With just one week until Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theaters, we’ll finally get to see if all the fuss about reshoots on the first Star Wars spin-off paid off. Rumors circulated that a bunch of reshoots needed to be done in order to fix the movie, though damage control indicated that it wasn’t as big of a deal as early reports suggested.

In the end, if the movie ends up working, the reshoots won’t really matter, but director Gareth Edwards was recently asked about the extra shooting that needed to be done, and he explained exactly why they had to do so much extra work.

Find out what Gareth Edwards had to say about the Rogue One reshoots after the jump.

First of all, if there’s any doubt as to how extensive the reshoots are, co-star Riz Ahmed had this to say to The Los Angeles Times about the process while also defending why it needed to be done:

“There were a ton of reshoots. But if people want to read anything into that, I’d encourage them to read into it the guts it takes to unpick stitching rather than just try to embroider over it, to make it right. I admire [Lucasfilm President] Kathleen [Kennedy] and Gareth and the whole team for having the guts to go, ‘Let’s reopen this. Let’s do some of this again.’ I think it’s because they really care — and hopefully that’s something that shows when people see the film.”

So it sounds like these reshoots really did need to fix parts of Rogue One, and seemingly some big pieces too. But the challenge of putting a movie like Rogue One together is something that Gareth Edwards was fully prepared for. He says:

“All great films have stories attached to them of how horrific they were to get made. Knowing that going in, you’re kind of expecting a bit of a war. You end up feeling like the characters in the film, that we’re trying to do this impossible task. Their pretend one is to steal the Death Star plans but the actual one is to make a great ‘Star Wars’ film.”

Then Edwards went on to more specifically explain why they needed to do so much work after the initial production run:

“What happened was that I’d say a third of the movie or more has this embedded documentary style to it, and as a result we shot hours and hours and days and days of material. Normally when you put a film together it goes together like A-B-C-D-E and you move on. Whereas we had so many permutations, so many different ways it could be constructed, it took longer in the edit to find the exact version.”

So it sounds like they figured out they needed even more footage than what was initially shot after they started assembling the movie in post-production. However, if they shot so much footage and still didn’t have what they need, that sounds like the movie may have changed from what they had planned in pre-production. Or maybe they realized what they shot wasn’t working as well as they hoped. Edwards explains more:

“We’d always planned to do a pickup shoot but we needed a lot of time to figure out all this material and get the best out of it. So that pushed the entire schedule in a big way. Then Disney saw the film and reacted really well and they said, “Whatever you need, we’re going to support you.” Our visual-effects shot count went from 600 to nearly 1,700, so suddenly we could do absolutely anything we wanted. To design 1,000 visual effects shots should take a year, so it was all hands to the pump and we never came up for air really until about a week ago.”

Taking Edwards’ statements into account, it sounds like this was just a production that needed some time to sort out what the movie needed to be, and the unique shooting style for this one meant spending a more extensive amount of time in post-production getting everything right. That’s probably why Tony Gilroy ended up sticking around much longer than initially planned, landing himself quite a paycheck.

In the end, Edwards was flexible in figuring out what the movie was supposed to be rather than stubbornly sticking to a vision that wasn’t working in the end. The director adds, “It would be beautiful if you write a story, you shoot exactly that, you edit it and it’s a hit. But art — or good art — doesn’t work like that. It’s a process, and you experiment and react and improve. And if I make more films, which I hope to, I want to make them like that as well, where it’s organic and it’s not predetermined.”

Here’s hoping all that work pays off when Rogue One: A Star Wars Story arrives next week.

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