It has become a favorite parlor game among Star Wars fans: trying to figure out which scenes in Rogue One were added during the hit movie’s highly publicized reshoots last summer. There’s plenty of material to keep us guessing; fan-cut videos have collected as many as 46 shots seen in the trailers that didn’t make it into the final film.
But most focus on the frenetic final action sequence on the tropical planet of Scarif. What we didn’t know until now: the start of the movie changed significantly too.
That feeling you get of interstellar whiplash as we zip from planet to planet in the first 10 minutes? It all came along in the reshoots as an attempt to better introduce our heroes, according to Rogue One‘s editors.
“The story was reconceptualized,” editor John Gilroy told Yahoo Movies UK. “There were scenes that were added at the beginning and fleshed out.”
You may recall Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) in the marketplace on the Ring of Kafrene. He meets a fellow Rebel spy, shoots some troopers, and is forced to kill his contact before making his escape thus establishing him as a morally gray character. That was an entirely new scene, Gilroy says.
Same goes for the scene where we meet Bodhi Rook, an Imperial pilot being taken to see Rebel leader Saw Gererra on the planet Jedha. (Gilroy’s brother Tony, a veteran director, was brought in to oversee the reshoots.)
In director Gareth Edwards’ original cut, Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) was still introduced during her childhood when her father is taken away. But then the story went straight to her meeting with Mon Mothma and the Rebels on Yavin IV. The scenes where she’s liberated from a prison planet? Another Gilroy brothers invention.
Evidently this meant losing a lot of Jyn’s dialogue in that scene with Mon Mothma including a line from the trailers loved by many fans, “this is a rebellion, isn’t it? I rebel.”
But with Rogue One zooming past $800 million in global box office receipts as of Tuesday, and showing no sign of stopping its planetary conquest, it’s hard to argue that the new introductory scenes didn’t work.
“Everybody was a bit more ballsy, or a bit more exciting, and a bit more interesting,” editor Colin Goudie told Yahoo Movies UK.
Gilroy confirmed that the third act of the film also changed “quite a bit,” and was a difficult needle to thread. “I dont want to go into too much detail about what had been there before, but it was different,” he said. “We moved some of the things that our heroes did, they were different in the original then they were as it was conceived.”
Which leaves us all to ponder why Jyn was seen in the trailers facing off against a TIE Fighter on Scarif, or running towards the Imperial walkers while holding the tape with the Death Star plans. (In the movie as it was shown, that tape never leaves the communication tower.)
But Lucasfilm isn’t in the habit of telling. And in the absence of an entirely different release of Rogue One, something that would alter a fan favorite film far beyond the cosmetic changes in the Star Wars ‘Special Editions,’ released by George Lucas 20 years ago this year, we’ll never know for sure.