The Final Beach Scenes in 'Rogue One' Were Originally Much Longer

Tuesday, 14 March 2017 - 9:14PM
Star Wars
Star Wars: Rogue One
Tuesday, 14 March 2017 - 9:14PM
The Final Beach Scenes in 'Rogue One' Were Originally Much Longer
Lucasfilm/Disney
Clocking in at over two hours, the Star Wars spin-off film Rogue One followed the common pattern of making a blockbuster franchise film a long affair. Still, according to director Gareth Edwards, the original plan was to make it even longer, with an extended sequence on the beaches of Scarif during the movie's final act. Obviously, spoilers ahead.

Speaking to /Film, Edwards explained how he'd shot several more Scarif scenes that never made it into the final cut, even if some found their way into trailers. What we saw was Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and her Rogue One squadron fighting through a beachside Imperial base to transmit the Death Star plans through a radio tower, and that felt complete enough, so what changed? Originally, the transmission tower wasn't anywhere near the main base, and the heroes would then have another sequence as they first passed through the base and then to the tower. 

So to compress things, Edwards just picked up the transmission tower and stuck it in the main Imperial outpost, cutting out anything from the run toward the tower. Here's his full quote:
Opening quote
"What used to happen, and you can get a sense of this in the early trailers, 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. In cutting the film, it just felt too long. We had to find ways to compress the third act, which was quite long as it was. 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."
Closing quote


This makes sense, considering Edwards said in the past that the final scenes were originally set up like a jigsaw puzzle of everyone running around while the audience had to track where everybody was. Since "jigsaw puzzle" was also how some critics described the messy plot of Attack of the Clones, that would mean Rogue One only benefitted from a streamlining of the third act's giant war scene.

via GIPHY



Perhaps to replace some of the Scarif moments, that memorable scene of Darth Vader whipping out his lightsaber and taking down a group of rebels was only added at the last moment. In a separate interview with Fandango, Edwards said that Vader's final scene was only added in three or four months before the movie came out: while editing, someone said "I think we need to get Darth on that ship" and Edwards and company were all onboard. If you want to work in a major scene long after reshoots are finished, just make it about Darth Vader. 

So was there anything else from Scarif that survived the editing process? Well, turns out Scarif's name comes from a Starbucks barista misspelling Edwards' first name, "Gareth," so there's one placeholder from early in the film that stuck around. And it's handy to know that baristas are good sources for sci-fi names.
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Star Wars: Rogue One
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