Director Gareth Edwards’s standalone Star Wars movie has been a resounding success critically and financially, but because of the now legendary reshoots, it seemed like it must have been a tough road to deliver a lighter version of the gritty war movie vibes that Rogue One initially promised. But new information on just what was added during the reshoots hints that they apparently tried to make the movie darker in tone for good reason.
Rogue One editors John Gilroy and Colin Goudie gave an interview with Yahoo Movies and said the reshoots added early scenes that fleshed out the backstories of three characters in particular: Jyn, Cassian, and Bodhi.
When asked about specifics, Gilroy said:
The scene with Cassian’s introduction with the spy, Bodhi traipsing through Jedha on his way to see Saw, these are things that were added. Also Jyn [Jyn Erso, the reluctant leader of the film, played by Felicity Jones], how we set her up and her escape from the transporter, that was all done to set up the story better.
Apparently the stories of the two ostensible leads of the film would have begun with Cassian and the Rebel Alliance’s confrontation with Jyn on Yavin 4, which would have been a bit abrupt. Cassian’s brutal killing of a Rebel spy on the Ring of Kafrene and Jyn languishing in prison before being busted out by the Rebels both give inauspicious and morally ambiguous beginnings to the characters, which only makes their hopeful yet scrappy ultimate sacrifice resonate more.
As for Bodhi, who would have just started off being imprisoned in Saw Gerrera’s Jedha compound, he gets a more vivid start as a prisoner being transported by Edrio Two Tubes and his fellow henchman as a way to make Gerrera’s extremist freedom fighter seem as mysterious as he is dangerous.
On top of these being all great additions, they also prove that the widely accepted view of the reshoots completely retooling the movie at the final hour because Edwards delivered a subpar film was a bunch of nonsense. It’s an open and shut case: The reshoots didn’t happen to make Rogue One better, they happened to make the movie even better.