When Rogue One: A Star Wars Story went into its planned pick-up period of photography - more commonly discussed simply as "reshoots" - the rumors started flying. While the pick-ups were part of the original schedule, they did seem to be working on a substantial amount of the film. Indeed, they affected both the first and third acts of the movie, providing new scenes for some of the characters' introductions, like Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) and Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed), while also reorganizing the final battle on Scarif, and just how the Rogue One crew would acquire and transmit the Death Star plans.
When editor John Gilroy was brought onto the project, the reshoots were finishing up, and he was tasked with making it all fit together, along with the middle act that remained largely unchanged.
"There was a really good plan," for how the movie would take shape, Gilroy told Comicbook.com in an interview. "The additional photography was very intelligent. It was a really good plan. It was centered around the characters, and their motivations, and their arcs. It was a good plan, and it was one that I followed."
The editor worked alongside his brother Tony Gilroy, who came in for help writing those new Act 1 scenes and revamped Act 3 scenes, and director Gareth Edwards, who remained a part of the process throughout. He said that the third act was definitely harder to contain than the earlier parts of the film.
"It got trickier in the back end of the movie. There was so many things going on. The last act of the movie was a much more fluid thing. I had to put my thinking cap on a little harder there than probably the front of the film," Gilroy said. "I just went to work!"
The shots that were in trailers and not in the final film, like Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), Cassian, and K-2SO (Alan Tudyk) running along the beach with the plans in-hand were "probably done before I got there," Gilroy said. "For me, I was working on building the movie that you saw. The film takes you where it wants you to go; that's where it led us," he said. He explained that in films he's edited, from small independent dramas to big-budget blockbusters like Star Wars, "sometimes things just fall away. You shoot things for a movie and they fall away."
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."
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