The Rogue One trailers got fans excited, but a whole lot of scenes in them ended up being cut from the film. Beyond trying to swallow disappointment, people have been obsessively speculating about the reason for the missing shots and extensive reshoots. That shot of Jyn and Cassian clutching the Death Star plans while dodging explosions on the beach looked epic — what on earth could have justified its removal?
Director Gareth Edwards has finally opened up about the deleted scenes. After giving a rather coy Fandango interview on Tuesday, he turned around and actually gave Slashfilm a fairly detailed explanation the same day.
“The main thing that changed at the end,” Edwards said, was that “the transmission tower for the plans was separate from the main base on Scarif. To transmit the plans, they had to escape and run along the beach and go up the tower.” And now the memorable beach escape shot has context.
According to Edwards, this scene and others made the film too long. “We had to find ways to compress the third act,” he said. “And one real, fast, brutal solution was to put the tower in the base, so they don’t have to run across the beach and do all of that stuff to get there.”
If you loved every minute of Rogue One, it’s easy to think that you might’ve loved a few more. But Edwards insists that the film’s pacing needed revamping. “As cool as many things are, and they really are, you can’t outstay your welcome. We’ve all done it. We’ve all sat in a movie and even if you love a film, there’s that moment where you want to look at your watch, or you feel like ‘okay, I hope it ends soon.’ You don’t want the audience thinking that. You don’t want them to lag.”
Hey, as the second-highest grossing Star Wars film ever made, it’s difficult to say that the cuts were unsuccessful. Some things are better left to the imagination.