The Star Wars franchise returned to its former glory last winter following the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a global behemoth that rebooted the venerable space opera and delighted both moviegoers and critics. The film has since become the third highest grossing title of all-time and a testament to the initiative set forth following Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm. Disney’s ambitious vision of continuing the brand continues with this year’s eagerly anticipated Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, yet recent reports have indicated some behind-the-scenes trouble.
Rogue One is surely a pivotal movie not just for Disney but also for helping to cement their deeper expansion of the universe, of which is coming with it an ambition plan for upcoming Star Wars movies and spin-offs. The film – which stars Felicity Jones, Mads Mikkelsen, Ben Mendelsohn, Forest Whitaker and Diego Luna – is the first such set outside the central narrative and marks a chapter that may be a slightly harder sell. Reports have come in left and right regarding plans for re-shoots scheduled for sometime later this month. First, an article popped up on Page Six indicating near panic coming from the Disney powers that be that Rogue One may be in crises. According to that article, Disney execs were unhappy with director Gareth Edwards‘ cut of the film and it was testing badly, thus requiring the need for extensive re-shoots.
The Hollywood Reporter clarified some of the assertions in the Page Six article, verifying that re-shoots (possibly set to take about a month) have been called but suggest it may be a matter of adjusting the tone of the film rather than fixing a problematic product. THR also states that the film has not yet been tested for audiences. “The goal of the reshoots will be to lighten the mood, bring some levity into the story and restore a sense of fun to the adventure.” The sense may be that Rogue One was significantly darker than The Force Awakens and described more as a war film, suggesting a tonal disconnect from “classic” Star Wars entries. Birth.Movies.Death. also claims that Oscar winning scribe Christopher McQuarrie was brought in for re-writes.
Rogue One takes place just before the events of A New Hope, centering around a group of rebels who steal plans from the Death Star. Alluded to in George Lucas’ immortal 1977 game changer, those procured plans later come into Princess Leia’s hands and are thus transferred to R2-D2. While certainly marking a different spin in the Star Wars canon, it’s worth mentioning that re-shoots (even lengthy ones) aren’t at all uncommon with big-budget tentpole films. Furthermore, they may help accommodate a rumored appearance from newly cast Alden Ehrenreich – who was confirmed to play a young Han Solo in another standalone title (that announcement came in after Rogue One completed it’s original shooting schedule).
All of which may be a sigh of relief or maybe not. We can find out when Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theaters on December 16th.