The nuances of filmmaking allow for more to be said than just through dialogue, or even action. That was the case for director Gareth Edwards with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story when he was constructing the final battle of the film. Even the choice of planet location tells a story in the movie, something that may surprise the more casual moviegoer.
"Very early on, Gareth wanted to set the end battle in a very dramatic place, visually dramatic," art director Doug Chiang said of the paradise planet of Scarif in The Art of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the new official art book of the film that reveals many of its secrets. A paradise planet and a major battle with dramatic death and destruction definitely stands as a juxtaposition, but it went beyond that.
"He wanted to create a tropical paradise, because he wanted Jyn's story arc to land her in a bright and crystal clear location, to show that she's now completely clear about her mission," he said. "It's visual storytelling, imbued in the location."
Another concept artist on the film, Matt Allsopp, liked the juxtaposition.
"You see a lot of movies where the third act, the final battle, is gloomy, cloaked in shadow and darkness. I really liked the flip on that, that we were doing something that felt so different in this tropical location," Allsopp said.
Major SPOILERS Follow!
That sense of purpose for Jyn Erso is reflected in her final moments. Having gotten the plans out to the Rebel Fleet and effectively redeemed her father and family name, she faces her oncoming doom head-on, staring down the blast from the Death Star as the burst of energy makes its way toward her and Cassian on the beach of Scarif. Cassian, who seems to feel he has more to do, or is unsure he's been doing things correctly, looks away from the burst.
Rogue One is in theaters now, if you want to watch it again and look for more storytelling nuance.
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