Star Wars: Rogue One is finally taking shape. After revealing a teaser video and official description detailing the first of the franchise's new non-episodic "Anthology Films," director Gareth Edwards spilled more information about the film, alongside Story Group head Kiri Hart, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, and Story Group member Pablo Hidalgo.
The group displayed an image of several Rebel soldiers de-boarding from transports onto a battlefield. Edwards confirmed that yes, Felicity Jones is a Rebel soldier. "When you meet real soldiers, they're real and normal people. We want to demonstrate fear and warmth and energy. And Felicity embodies all those things in her body of work."
Edwards then announced several key production members behind the film. First was Neil Scanlan, head of the creature team, followed by Neil Lamont and Doug Chang as production designers, then Greig Fraser (Zero Dark Thirty) as the Director of Photography. The Special Effects head from Saving Private Ryan and Blackhawk Down is doing the effects for the film. After all, "It is called Star WARS everyone," Edwards emphasized
John Knoll, who's receiving the film's story credit, took the stage next. The he explained that the story is "partially constrained" by events and dialogue of Star Wars, which he actually enjoys.
Kennedy said that getting Knoll, a special effects expert for the company, onto the other side of production, is "very rewarding."
Edwards elaborated, "John's really humble, he's a genius. When he was a young man, he felt something was missing from the world, so he and his brother wrote a piece of software called Photoshop. I curse him every day when I'm struggling to use it."
Hart focused on Edwards' "reverence" and care for the Star Wars franchise. She recalled a meeting she had with him, and said, "I'm going to send you something," and sent a piece of paper with her fingers crossed. Edwards joked about the paranoia at Lucasfilm over security.
"I got another email with a password for the document and I saved it for the weekend when I wasn't busy. I sat down on a Sunday and read it, and I was honestly hoping I would it," he said. "I was in the thick of filming and wanted a break! As I was going down the paragraphs, I got to the end, and I was like, 'Oh, f***.'"
"That was checkmate," he continued. "There was no other option. If you believe in the Force, this was - everything led to this destiny."
The director kept the film a secret for six months. Even through Christmas, he hadn't told family. He then got a call from his agent saying, "The Hollywood Reporter knows, and they're going to leak it in about ten minutes. Call your parents." So Edwards did, and told his mom that he was directing a Star Wars movie. He showed a snapshot of his mum's excited smile at that moment, as they were talking via FaceTime.
Showing his Star Wars cred, Edwards explained that, on his 30th birthday, he went to Tunisia, rather than having a party. He bought some blue dye on the way, and some milk, and drank blue milk on the set of Luke's home. "Anywhere else in life I'd delete this and never show this to anyone, but here I'm a hero!" he said with a laugh.
He then drove across the country to watch the sunset by the igloo. He showed a picture of that as well, to much applause.
The film is shooting this summer, in London and "locations around the world." After John Knoll's story treatment, Gary Whitta did the first pass, and Chris Weitz is working on the screenplay now.
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