Yesterday news broke that Disney was calling the Star Wars troops back for a month of reshoots on their upcoming standalone movie, Rogue One. It seems director Gareth Edwards’s heist movie about a band of Rebel Alliance misfits, led by Felicity Jones’s character Jyn Erso, was a bit too serious a film for the Disney brass. This caused the normally touchy internet to run wild with speculation that the movie was in deep trouble and what it all meant after The Force Awakens brought the galaxy far, far away back into our good graces. A report by The Hollywood Reporter dug through the noise and actually found some new information about Rogue One in the process.
While there’s definitely validity to the reshoot reports, the extent of the panic over them seems to have been greatly exaggerated. Per THR, “The goal of the reshoots will be to lighten the mood, bring some levity into the story and restore a sense of fun to the adventure.” Their unnamed sources say that Edwards’s first cut of the film, which despite the initial reports hasn’t been screened for the public, resembled a war movie. Disney’s mannered trepidation makes sense, because you don’t exactly want a Saving Private Ryan style commentary about war being hell when you go to watch a rousing space adventure like Star Wars — even if Rogue One is a standalone movie.
The reshoots make even more sense when you think about the context of Rogue One in the whole Star Wars saga. Per the report:
“This is the closest thing to a prequel ever,” a source tells THR. “This takes place just before A New Hope and leads up to the 10 minutes before that classic film begins. You have to match the tone!”
First off, this source is either willfully throwing some devastating shade at George Lucas’s infamously unloved prequel trilogy, or merely using the little prequel mention to highlight how Rogue One will literally start moments before A New Hope.
Since is the first non-episodic Star Wars movie that’s still within the same universe, and will lead almost directly into the original that started it all, Disney’s strategy on making the moods match is actually beneficial. You don’t exactly want some bloody and dying Rebel soldier handing off the Death Star plans to someone, then you suddenly turn on A New Hope and have C-3PO cracking jokes and complaining about the ruckus.
This also makes those rumors about a Darth Vader cameo possible. If you remember correctly, the dark lord of the Sith busts into Leia’s Rebel ship looking for the Death Star plans at the beginning of A New Hope. Will we see the beginning of Vader’s pursuit of the plans at the end of Rogue One? Maybe.
Star Wars is an ultimately lighthearted and fun franchise, and though it’d be awesome to see how Lucasfilm dives into darker genre territory in other standalone movies, it probably wouldn’t be wise to get too crazy the first time around. What this new bit of information seems to suggest is that Disney doesn’t seem to think the movie is straight up bad, but rather just in need of some fine-tuning to deliver the best possible Star Wars movie they can. And that’s good to hear. Save the downbeat stories for the sequels — after all, it worked for The Empire Strikes Back.