As its release grew near, more and more footage from Rogue One: A Star Wars story was released via trailers, television spots, and featurettes. Some people were able to resist temptation, choosing to ignore them in order to keep the film as fresh as possible for their own moviegoing experience. While many others (like myself) couldn't resist watching them, going through each one frame-by-frame.
Luckily for everyone, quite of bit of footage and dialogue from those didn't actually end up in the film itself, so nobody really got spoiled ahead of time. As a few small examples: the backview shot of Darth Vader's helmet and Jyn Erso's "I rebel" line were completely absent. For a bigger example: Our own Star Wars expert, Lucas Siegel, theorized how the pre-reshoot ending played out based on unused trailer footage.
Also, remember that cool shot (image above) of Jyn turning toward the camera as lights went on behind her? Yup, that didn't make in the film either. What gives?
Following a recent screening of Rogue One at the Director's Guild of America, director Gareth Edwards took part in the latest episode of "The Director's Cut" podcast (via io9) and explained that he would have his crew shoot load of "random sh-t" each day. “It would just be things I thought were a beautiful moment or ‘This is a great idea,’” he shared, "and a lot of the stuff in the trailer ended up through that process.”
He then explained how that epic shot of Jyn came to be. “We finished a shot and [Felicity Jones] was just walking to the next shot, which was at the end of the tunnel,” he said. “And as she walked, someone switched the lights on and the way they turned on they went *clickclickclick* like this. Someone called her, and she just turned around a little bit and I was like, ‘Oh my god that looked great.’ And I was like ‘Stop stop stop!’ and everyone stopped. ‘This will take 10 seconds, just roll camera’....Then obviously 10 seconds turned into a half hour, and we probably did 17 takes. So that ended and there’s that feeling of, ‘Well what was that for?’ And I was like, ‘I don’t know, that just felt good.’”
Like most of the "random sh-t" he shot, Edwards completely forgot about that footage. It only resurfaced when the marketing department went sifting through footage for a trailer and came across it. While he was happy to see that it was selected, he knew from the get-go it would never make the final cut.
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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is in theaters now. Directed by Gareth Edwards, it's the first of the new standalone features from Lucasfilm and Disney, which take place outside the core "Skywalker Saga" of films noted by an Episode number. Rogue One tells the story of the small band of rebels that were tasked with stealing the plans to the first Death Star. The story spins directly off the opening crawl from the original Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. In that crawl, it read: "Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire. During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet."