Over the summer, there was speculation that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was going to undergo huge reshoots.
While every modern blockbuster usually has a few weeks of reshoots to iron out some problems, rumors suggested that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was in much more trouble. Whatever the problem was, it’s safe to say that Lucasfilm and director Gareth Edwards were able to save it, because Rogue One was released to positive reviews and a strong box office return last Christmas.
Of course, there have been many different guises to Rogue One over the years, especially since the film built from a single line in the opening crawl for Star Wars: A New Hope. Gareth Edwards has now revealed that one of the plot points that nearly made it to the final screenplay for Rogue One would have introduced us to a brand new Jedi.
In fact, this Jedi would have been none other than Lyra Elso, the mother to Felicity Jones’ Jyn Elso, who in Rogue One was portrayed by Valene Kane. According to the Daily Express, Gareth Edwards made this admission at a recent BAFTA Cymru event, revealing that Rogue One almost had a completely different opening.
“There was a point in the prologue, there was a version once – as in we talked about it, we didn’t go and do it – where the mother was a Jedi. They were killing all the Jedi, and it was the arrival of the bad guys coming to kill all the Jedi. It was written really well, where they turn up and you assume they’re there for the dad, and they go ‘where is she’ and it evolves from there.”
Rather than keeping us on tenterhooks, Gareth Edwards explained exactly why this opening of the film was dropped, noting that if Lyra Erso had indeed been a Jedi, you’d have spent the rest of Rogue One wondering if Jyn was one, too.
“But the problem was, it would mean the entire movie people would be thinking ‘well, is Jyn a Jedi?’ and you couldn’t really escape that.”
At this point in the very early stages of the film’s development, those involved in Rogue One also didn’t know about Rey’s Jedi-esque powers in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. After much discussion, they decided to explore the character of Galen Erso in more detail, and fell more in love with the idea that he was the one that helped to design the Death Star.
“That felt right. It all started making sense. Then [we realised] you can’t have the mother be a Jedi as well, so the mother took a backseat. So it was something that, more than most films, it was being written and rewritten and developed and approved until the last couple of months before the release. It was constantly reworked.”
Gareth Edwards also addressed the rumors regarding Rogue One: A Star Wars Story‘s reshoots while out promoting the blockbuster, declaring to the Los Angeles Times that he was more than happy for the film to be adjusted with extra days and weeks of filming, just so long as it was all the better for it. Edwards also made sure to point out that filmmaking can be such a messy process that being given the freedom and opportunity to do just that is truly a blessing.
“It would be beautiful if you write a story, you shoot exactly that, you edit it and it’s a hit. But art — or good art — doesn’t work like that. It’s a process, and you experiment and react and improve. And if I make more films, which I hope to, I want to make them like that as well, where it’s organic and it’s not predetermined.”
[Featured Image by Lucasfilm]