Our modern digital Prometheus: when the technical wizards behind the CGI of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story learned that they could reanimate deceased actor Peter Cushing to reprise his role as gaunt-cheeked Empire command Grand Moff Tarkin, they never stopped stopped to think if they should. The resultant spelunking into the uncanny valley was as polarizing as it was unexpected. Some were wowed by the boundless possibilities of computer programming and the effective triumph over the permanence of death; others immediately flashed back to high school memories of reading Mary Shelley. The debate over the ethics of artificially contriving performances from dead actors continues to rage, and a figure close to the situation has now weighed in.
If you go back and watch the trailers and TV spots for Rogue One after you see the movie, a couple of things are glaringly obvious: First, you’ll notice a ton of scenes that don’t appear in the theatrical version, and second, it’s easy to sort of piece together the film’s original ending (recently confirmed by director Gareth Edwards) — all of which suggests that the reshoots were a bit more extensive than Lucasfilm wanted us to believe. According to the film’s editors, that’s certainly the case, and those reshoots changed a whole lot more than just the ending.
All is right with the galaxy far away: Rogue One has dominated at the box-office, as expected, and earned mixed-to-positive reviews from critics, also as expected. But watching the film, especially in light of the revelations that Lucasfilm ordered massive reshoots that stretched on for weeks, it’s clear that there’s a Rogue One that’s gone unseen. The unused footage from the trailers, Tony Gilroy stepping in with rewrites to the point where he earned a co-writer credit, friction between Lucasfilm and director Gareth Edwards — it all points to an alternate version of the film laying on some Los Angeles editing suite floor.
In this new age of ultra-hi-def-liquid-frame-3D-VR-cystal-lava-screen-immersion TVs that you and I can have in our own home theaters, the old classics just don’t look as good anymore. Movies that seemed like the height of technology back when televisions were still cube-shaped look jerky and unfocused now that we’re so used to seeing the highest-definition image possible, so 4K restorations are now on the rise. Gareth Edwards, director of Rogue One, says that Lucasfilm is in possession of a 4K version of the original Star Wars, but has no idea when the rest of us will get to see it.
Between the trailers, teasers and TV spots for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, we found more than enough scenes (18, to be exact) that didn’t appear in the film when it hit theaters last weekend — clearly due to all those highly-publicized reshoots in post-production. Weirdly enough, Lucasfilm has released a new Rogue One featurette that reveals even more scenes that didn’t make the final cut, including what appears to be an entire sequence filmed in Jordan.
If you’ve seen Rogue One by now, you’ve probably noticed a lot of the moments we all saw in the trailers didn’t actually make the final cut of the movie. We even published a whole run-down of all the lines and shots that are nowhere to be found in the finished product. Apparently the movie went through a lot more edits than just reshoots though, because according to director Gareth Edwards, the original script had a vastly different ending from what the movie ended up with. This article focuses on the end of the movie, so if you haven’t seen it yet, SPOILERS abound.)
Even if you’re not the biggest fan of CGI actors returned from the dead, you probably had to appreciate the ways that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story director Gareth Edwards tried to bring the events of Star Wars: A New Hope more directly into his film. In several key sequences, Edwards was even able to feature unseen footage from the original 1977 film, causing fans to wonder where that new footage came from (and why they hadn’t seen it before). Are there entire archives of unseen footage that Lucasfilm has been hiding from fans for all these decades?
When they said Rogue One was a war movie they weren’t kidding.
The following post contains SPOILERS — both real and fake ones that got shared online — for Rogue One.
You’ve seen Rogue One. You’ve read our spoiler-free review. Now you’re ready to go deeper. Like the Rebels in the film, you want to smuggle the deepest, darkest secrets out of enemy territory and pass them along to those who need them most. As luck would have it, we’ve got a Rogue One spoiler discussion ready to provide exactly that.