Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has had a lot of focus put on it being the first of the Star Wars standalone movies - and that includes a lot of rumors about the production, and what troubles it may or may not have had.
The main rumor following Rogue One around was that director Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) had somehow lost control of the creative process. Early Rogue One teasers and concept art seemed to hint at a dark and contemplative war time film, yet in recent months, the footage has all been more of the classic Star Wars inspirational themes of rebellion and heroism. That may make it seem there were two movies struggling for the same screen space, but as Edwards tells it, that's not the case.
Talking to the LA Times, Edwards, offered the following explanation:
"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... 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 it was all hands to the pump and we never came up for air really until about a week ago."
Edwards is echoing what a lot of directors do when trying to provide insights into the production process to the (increasingly fickle) fanbase. The truth is that virtually every blockbuster film project has to go through creative revisions and reshoots; and its rarely a case of the director and studio having to fight it out.
As Edwards later added, it's all about trying to get major franchise tentpoles "brand ready," and in the case of Star Wars, that's a virtual Blue ribbon standard: "I think any other movie you would say, “That’ll do. We’re going to get a hit.” But “Star Wars” is going to live forever if you do it properly. We just can’t let it go. You’ve got keep going until they prise it out of your hands."
"Directed by Gareth Edwards, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is 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."
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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits US theaters December 16, 2016.