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How different a film was Rogue One: A Star Wars Story before the re-shoots? We look at the clues.

Leading up to the opening weekend for “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” there was a lot of worry among Star Wars fans. Rumors of major re-shoots made it sound like the film really just wasn’t working. Executives at Disney and Lucasfilm assured fans that re-shoots like these were common in big blockbusters and that they were just making sure the final project was as good as it could be.

While that may be true, going back and looking at the earliest trailers released for “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” it’s clear a lot of things were changed in those re-shoots making the movie that opened this weekend much different from the one that was originally screened for executives.

The mission in that early cut was much more focused on Jyn Erso as a central heroine. In the first teaser trailer, Jyn is brought to the rebel base on Yavin in shackles while her crimes are listed. Jyn says “This is a rebellion isn’t it, I rebel.” Sadly, that’s not in the movie.

First official Teaser Trailer:

Interesting to note how young Saw Gerrera looks in the teaser trailer. By the time the first official trailer is released, we only see that final older look we see. In the cut scenes, he’s clearly more of a mentor role to Jyn making sure she’s got the proper mental state to go after the empire. Instead he’s made too look more un-hinged and not a driving force in Jyn’s life.

The re-shoot also had to be pretty extensive for the Scarif beach attack scenes. A lot of footage that was highlighted in early clips, like at Star Wars Celebration never made it into the final film. Stormtroopers marching through water, Jyn and Cassian running across the beach with the data tape in their hand, K-2SO dodging explosions on the beach, Director Krennic marching through water, plus that big scene of a Jyn facing off with a tie-fighter on top the Scarif communication tower… those just aren’t in the final cut.

Star Wars Celebration Trailer:

Instead, what we see in the final cut is one small group going for the data tape while the other larger group creates a diversion. I think this gives us more opportunities for intimate moments, making the inevitable sacrifices that much more powerful.

By the time we get to the 2nd official trailer the movie we see in theaters now is much closer to what we see in the trailer:

The movie that was being made before re-shoots were ordered would have been significantly different. Much more focused on Jyn Erso as the driving force to find her father and steal the tapes. Jyn’s relationship with Saw Gerrera would have been more extensively explored as well as her background as a trouble maker. Cassian’s role as a spy and assassin would not have been central to the story. It also looks like the Rebel attack on Scarif was more coordinated with support from the Rebel Alliance right from the beginning.

On Scarif, Jyn, Cassian, and K-2SO succeed in stealing the data-tape then have to make their way back through the station (there’s a scene of them running through the Scarif station with the data tape in the teaser trailer) and out onto the beach where the battle rages. How they get the data tapes off the beach and uploaded to the rebel command ship is not revealed, but it looks like the data storage tower was not in the same building as the communication dish in that version.

Finaly, I have to say, I really like the title treatment in the Teaser Trailer over the one that was in the final film. The final film doesn’t say ‘Star Wars’ anywhere until you get to the end credits. Sure, its not part of the story of the Skywalkers that dominates the trilogies, but it is definitely of the Star Wars universe. That should not be diminished.

Would you have liked to seen a film that focused more on Jyn Erso’s role or are you happy with the more ensemble feel of the final cut?

1 thought on “How different a film was Rogue One: A Star Wars Story before the re-shoots? We look at the clues.”

  1. I was a bit disappointed with Rogue One, and certainly missed those things that were cut from the trailers.
    I’ll never know if I would have liked the original version more.
    But if I had to guess, I’d say probably so.

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