Posted on Friday, September 16th, 2016 by Peter Sciretta
Last night it was revealed that Academy Award-winning composer Michael Giacchino would be replacing Alexandre Desplat to score Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. When I heard the news after arriving at a press screening of The Magnificent Seven, I was met with two conflicting emotions: excitement and dread. Here’s why.
What If Disney Made A Bad Star Wars Movie?
Over the Summer, word started to spread that Disney was unhappy with the first cut of their first Star Wars anthology film. The first rumors to be reported by New York Post’s Page Six claimed that Disney execs were not happy with the movie that Gareth Edwards had made and had ordered “four weeks of expensive reshoots” over the month of July.
The Hollywood trades followed up this report claiming that Disney executives thought the film was “tonally off with what a ‘classic’ Star Wars movie should feel like.” Reportedly the tone of the movie felt more like a traditional war drama than it did a Star Wars movie and the reshoots were an attempt to “lighten the mood, bring some levity into the story and restore a sense of fun to the adventure.”
The rumor mill went into full effect, claiming that up to 40% of the film was being reshot (a number apparently based on unconfirmed reports that the reshoots would last 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, for 6 weeks ) and that Christopher McQuarrie, who had done some script work on the film, would be directing the reshoots as a replacement for director Gareth Edwards (McQuarrie told us this rumor was not true).
We later learned that Tony Gilroy was brought in to “write some additional material to enhance the story” as well as work as second unit director of the film. Stunt coordinator and second unit director Simon Crane would also be brought on, apparently for stunt work, which seemed to suggest a little more than some in cockpit talking scenes.
The Other Side of the Story
Then came Entertainment Weekly, who some seem to believe are acting as the unofficial mouthpiece for Lucasfilm. The magazine claimed that the reshoots were being conducted to make changes that “have everything to do with clarity and character development and all take place [as inserts] within scenes we’ve already shot” and not entirely new scenes. Their sources seemed to laugh at the rumors that upwards of 40% of the movie was being reshot. The reason given for the reshoots being scheduled for such an extended amount of time was that they had to bring back the entire cast and scheduling was difficult.
Edwards later told EW that reshoots were always part of the plan, “I mean it was always part of the plan to do reshoots. We always knew we were coming back somewhere to do stuff. We just didn’t know what it would be until we started sculpting the film in the edit.”
“Reshoots” is a dirty word in entertainment journalism, often used as an indicator of a disastrous film production. But the truth of the matter is, reshoots can be a good thing. I wrote a piece in June explaining that the purpose of reshoots is to make a movie better, not worse. It’s not that I wasn’t worried about what I was hearing about Rogue One, it’s that I tend to believe that Disney is spending all of that money for a reason: they want to release a good movie that will meet and exceed fan expectations.
And when Disney finally released the Rogue One trailer, it seemed almost like a response to some of these reports in a way: saying, look – this IS a war movie, and it will have a different tone than the Star Wars movies you know and love. The trailer was generally liked online, but most Star Wars fans I’ve talked to were not too excited by the trailer. They, like me, found themselves not as emotionally invested as they were with any of The Force Awakens trailers. But is that just because this is a whole different story in this world? Or is it because the trailers lacked some kind of Star Wars magic?
One the next page find out if Michael Giacchino could be a bad sign for Rogue One and why I’m still excited despite the nervousness.