Over the past couple of months, fans made a great hubbub about the fact that Rogue One did some reshoots. This is standard procedure for Hollywood. Fun fact: Mark Hamill did some reshoots on the original movie to change Luke’s last name from Starkiller to Skywalker. But it seemed to fans the changes were going to be a bit bigger than normal. Tony Gilroy, writer of several of the Bourne Movies, was brought in to help with dialogue and plot beats concerning the ending. After Rogue One came out, it was clear when comparing the film to the footage seen in a trailer, that a lot had been changed. Most of the changes involve the film’s ending so there will be spoilers.
Young Saw Gerrera
We don’t get to see much of Saw Gerrera and Jyn Erso’s relationship in the final cut of the film. We see him finding her in her hideout at the beginning of the movie. Jyn says he raised her only to abandon her when she was sixteen. The trailer shows a younger Saw without his white hair. Maybe that was footage of him and child Jyn or teenage Jyn. This cut disappoints because showing younger Saw could have added character depth to him and Jyn that the final cut lacks. But on the other hand, more scenes in the past could have bogged down the movie and distracted from the action going on in the present. Rogue One is a movie with a lot going on. The directors in editors needed to prioritize the current action over flashbacks, even if those flashbacks would have added more character.Advertisement
Saw Gerrera's Speech
In addition to having flashbacks cut, Saw Gerrera’s big speech from the trailer was also left out of the final version of Rogue One. “What will you do when they catch you? What will you do if they break you? What will you become?” he asks. These words juxtaposed with shots of Jyn in her TIE fighter uniform seem to suggest that there would be a subplot about Jyn turning to the Imperial side, just like her father did. It creates chilling effect for the trailer. But it’s probably best that it was cut from the movie. Rogue One has many subplots going on from Cassian deciding to disobey orders to the politics of the Alliance to Chirrut’s faith in the Force. Another subplot about Saw warning Jyn that she’ll turn out like her father would have been distracting.
Jyn vs. TIE Fighter
One of the most disappointing cuts from Rogue One was the epic shot of Jyn Erso facing down a TIE-Fighter. The utilizes one of the Empire’s most iconic vehicles to show the Jyn’s helplessness in the face of the Empire’s machine. It’s doubtful that in the original cut, she made it out of that confrontation alive. What can a human (who is not a Jedi) do while a TIE-fighter guns them down. If that was the end of Jyn Erso, that would have been brutal and anti-climatic. The ending in the final cut, where Jyn and Cassian hold hands as the landscape blows up around them is much more poignant. Jyn is killed by the weapon her father created, but Cassian, unlike everyone else in her life, does not leave her side. Jyn was a lone ever since she was sixteen, but she is not alone in death. If she had been blown up by a TIE, she would have died alone and that story arc would not have been completed.
Director Krennic on the Beach
Another cool shot that was cut was Director Krennic walking on the beaches of Scarif, cape billowing in the wind. In the final cut of the movie, we never see him on the beach. He stays in the base and unsuccessfully tries to stop Jyn and Cassian from transmitting the plans to the Rebel Alliance. It’s hard to say where this original cut was placed. It could have been placed at the beginning of the battle and been a shot of Krennic walking towards the troops to take command. Maybe it was at the very end, and the Director was walking towards his demise. It’s likely that this shot was cut for pacing reasons. The film got the Director to the base and gave him a quick, yet satisfying end. It’s just a pity about the cool shot being cut. There’s a saying in writing, “kill your darlings” meaning cut the really good little bits of a piece of art if they distract from the larger whole. Gareth Edwards and the editing team willingness to follow this advice kept the film tightly paced.
More Vader Footage
Surely one of the most disappointing cuts of the movie was the footage of Darth Vader. Judging by the trailer footage, Star Wars’ most popular character had a bigger role to play than he did. We see him standing on the Death Star, reflected in the shiny floors and looking at the red computer displays. Maybe this was where his confrontation with Director Krennic took place. Maybe that was where he was during that battle on Scarif. Though it would be disappointing if the galaxy’s biggest baddass was just sitting around, looking at a computer screen instead of kicking rebel scum ass. So while the original cut may have had more Vader, it looks like the final cut of Rogue One used the Sith Lord to better effect. When it comes to Darth Vader, less screen time with more badassery seems to have a bigger impact. Whatever that extra scene was, fans will be eager to see it in the extra scenes feature of the Rogue One DVD.
Vader and Krennic
We also see Vader talking to Director Krennic on either the Death Star or the Scarif base. This scene was replaced with one on the lava planet, Mustafar. The volcanic planet allowed for more interesting shots than the inside of the Death Star or Scarif base. We got the cool shot of lava flowing out of the tower and of Vader rising out of his bacta bath. Though changing the scene to take place on Mustafar raises the question, why would Vader return to the planet of his greatest failure, his defeat at the hands of Obi-Wan Kenobi? Here, Rogue One prioritized rule of cool over what makes sense for character. But it’s hard to be too angry. Star Wars has always been more about cool than it has about sense.
K-2SO's Dark Sense of Humor
K-2SO had some darker moments in the trailers that did not make it into the final cut of the film. In, one moment he promises Jyn Erso that he will not kill her. In another, he tells Cassian that there is a 96 percent chance of mission failure. These could have been cut to keep the tone of the movie lighter, since those are dark jokes from the comic-relief droid. Executives might have wanted to keep K-2 lighter, since he is one of the few sources of humor in the film. That argument falls apart because those dark jokes are in the trailer for everyone to see. K-2 had a reputation for dark jokes even before the movie came out. It’s more likely the “I won’t kill you” and “96 percent chance” jokes were cut to make room for better, but still grim moments from K-2SO such as asking “Did you know that wasn’t me?” when Jyn shoots another K-2 droid.
K2, Jyn and Cassian Fleeing the Imperial Base
The trailers show K2, Cassian and Jyn running around the Imperial Base on Scarif, the humans in their normal outfits. Jyn carries what we now know to be the Death Star files, implying that the three of them are trying to escape the base. But in the final cut of the movie, K2 does not get to try to escape the base. He’s shot down while holding off stormtroopers. It’s a good ending for the character, as he uses his hard earned blaster to give his friends a few more moments to accomplish their mission. If he had just been blown up by the Death Star like everyone else, it would have been a lot less satisfying.
Jyn and Cassian on the Beaches of Scarif
In the trailer, there is a lot of Jyn and Cassian running around the beaches of Scarif. But in the final cut of the film, they don’t really do that. Their mission primarily takes place inside of the Imperial base as they fake their way up to where the Death Star plans are kept. In the trailer we also see Jyn running on the beach, carrying the Death Star plans. These were probably cut for the same reason as most of the other scenes mentioned in this article. Pacing. Jyn and Cassian get in and out of the Imperial Station fairly quickly. This allows the film to focus on what the other characters were doing and give a satisfying end to their stories.
The I Rebel Line
One of the most memorable lines from the trailer was Jyn Erso’s “This is a rebellion isn’t it? I rebel.” But it never appears in the final cut of Rogue One. It’s a striking and defining line from our lead character. Maybe it was cut to keep the movie from getting too “talky” and having lots of scenes where people chatter. But these scenes often have essential character development that can’t be shown in an action sequence. This scene probably should have been kept. It foreshadows the fact that Jyn goes against the Rebellion’s orders to find the Death Star plans. She is the ultimate Rebel, a counter to the counter-imperial Rebel Alliance. The scene also gives Jyn a bit of character that is sorely needed, especially since she comes off as a little bland when compared to Star Wars’ other protagonists such as Rey and Luke.
The Death Star Hologram
A scene on Yavin IV shows that the Rebellion has access to a hologram of the Death Star. Pacing might have been a reason for cutting the hologram. In a movie like Rogue One, every second counts. Though this mirrors the scene in Force Awakens where the Resistance looks at a hologram of Starkiller Base, this was an easy cut to make. Every second counts, and we don’t really need to know what the Death Star looks like. The audience already knows that! Another reason the shot of the hologram was probably cut is it raises a question about the Rebellion. If the Rebel Alliance has a picture of the Death Star, how come they don’t know what it’s called or it’s nature? Doesn’t the file of the hologram have a label on it? Plot holes and bad pacing will kill a movie, so it was for the best that this shot of the hologram Death Star was cut.