‘Rogue One’ Used Unseen ‘Star Wars: A New Hope’ Footage For Key Climactic Scene

Warning: There are some mild SPOILERS ahead for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. So if you’ve not yet seen the blockbuster, you probably shouldn’t read ahead until you have. Head straight back here once you’ve devoured Rogue One, though.

Rogue One is widely being hailed as yet another triumphant installment to the Star Wars cannon following on from J.J. Abrams’ relaunch of the franchise last year with The Force Awakens.

Rogue One is on track for a behemoth box office gross having already hauled in $71.1 million in just two days, while it has also been met with sterling reviews and currently has a score of 84 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Since Rogue One is basically Star Wars 3.5, as it unfolds in between Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge Of The Sith and Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, it was always going to have to pay respects to the 1977 film.

Felicity Jones in Rogue One
[Image by Lucasfilm]

It turns out that director Gareth Edwards got a helping hand in making sure that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is connected to A New Hope, though. Gareth Edwards explained to the Radio Times that during a trip to Skywalker Ranch, which is where George Lucas works from, he spotted several cans of films that he was informed was footage from A New Hope that had never been looked through. Gareth Edwards recalled,

“We went to Skywalker ranch, and there’s the archives there. And as we’re walking around, and doing all the cool things and looking at the Millennium Falcon and trying on Han Solo’s jacket and things like that, in the back at the bottom was all these cans of film. And we said ‘what are they?’ and they said ‘Oh, it’s Star Wars.‘ And you go… ‘has someone gone through all this? And it’s like ‘not really, they’re not fully like digitised at all.'”

Gareth Edwards and his Rogue One team then began to look through the extensive footage from A New Hope, which included unseen lines and footage from the film. It was at this point that Gareth Edwards was struck by the ingenious idea to include them in Rogue One, which, because of the great work done over at Industrial Light & Magic, was actually feasible. Gareth Edwards explained,

“We got the neg documents and found the clips from A New Hope that hadn’t been used. And there’s pilot photography and lines that were never featured in A New Hope. Through the magic of ILM [special effect studio Industrial Light and Magic] they cut round them and manipulated them and stuck them into our cockpits. It’s the sort of thing you think, ‘How many people will notice?’ Do you know what I mean? It’s like, is this a lot of effort for very little reward?”

Gareth Edwards admitted that he wasn’t sure if the long lost A New Hope footage would actually add anything to Rogue One, but was instead added for more gratuitous, personal reasons. But the director revealed that it was all worth it when at the world premiere for Rogue One the crowd actually reacted uproariously to one scene taken from its predecessor.

Stormtroopers in Rogue One
[Image by Lucasfilm]

Gareth Edwards continued,

At the world premiere in LA, there was this massive cheer at a particular point in the film [there was at the screening I went to also]. It was the only time during the premiere where I actually punched the air.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story revolves around Felicity Jones’ Jyn Erso, who joins a gang of Rebel soldiers that are intent on finding the plans for the Death Star, which was designed by Jyn’s father Galen (Mads Mikkelsen) and possesses one specific flaw that will lead to its destruction.

[Featured Image by Lucasfilm]