Rogue One was a monster success at the box office, but it originally had a much different, and longer ending that simply didn’t work according to director Gareth Edwards.
Rogue One director Gareth Edwards has been dropping all sorts of behind the scenes info on the film as of late. Now Edwards has gone even further, revealing his thoughts on the film’s original ending, and why it simply did not work. Speaking to Slashfilm, Edwards revealed the major difference in the film’s original ending,
"I think the main thing that changed at the end…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."
An interesting change, and it certainly explains why we never saw that shot of Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor being chased on the beach by those AT-AT’s like we did in some of the trailers. In the minds of many, Edwards did an excellent job of establishing the geography of the battle on Scarif as well, and changing the location of the transmission tower was clever way of cutting some time out of the film.
Image Credit Lucasfilm
"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. That became a decision that eliminated the shots you see in the trailer of the back of Cassian and Jyn and the AT-ATs. That was some of the reinvention that happened. It was all to do with compression."
When Edwards refers to “reinvention,” he is seemingly referring to the Rogue One reshoots we were all fearing before the film’s release. As it turns out though, it wasn’t about reshooting terrible scenes, but rather “compression” as Edwards called it. Edwards and Disney appeared to be highly cognizant of the film’s running time.
Image Credit: Lucasfilm
"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. If you feel that when you watch something back, you need to find a way to tighten it somewhere. That was a big win for a compression."
And looking back on the film with that in mind, Rogue One does appear to be a fairly tight film, with very little fat on the bone. Of course, hardcore Star Wars fans don’t care about any of that, we want to see every second of the film that we can. Edwards could not confirm or deny whether that footage will ever see the light of day though.
Image Credit: Lucasfilm
"That’s a decision way above me! I don’t think there’s any plans to do it."
Well that’s no fun. Get me Walt Disney on the phone.