With only a handful of months separating the world from the next new STAR WARS movie – the anthology spinoff ROGUE ONE – and one spectacular trailer already out in the world, you’d think the film would at least be close to being all wrapped up and in the can. But new reports suggest this isn’t true, and that could be troubling for the highly-anticipated project.
Page Six has a story from an unnamed source saying that Disney, the parent company of Lucasfilm, isn’t happy with Gareth Edwards’ finished product and so has ordered four weeks of expensive reshoots to try and fix the problems. What those problems are, they don’t elaborate, but four weeks is a long time and takes a lot of scheduling and financing, so if the report is true, it would seem to suggest there’s a significant amount of work to be done.
Disney, for their part, aren’t denying the report as much as they’re calling it business as usual: “The filmmaking team and the studio always anticipated additional shooting and second unit work to make the film the absolute best it can be, and the actors were aware there would be additional shooting. Coming off ‘The Force Awakens,’ there’s an incredibly high bar for this movie and we have a responsibility to the franchise and to the fans to deliver the best possible movie we can.”
Fair enough. It’s certainly true that motion pictures, especially super-budget, expected-blockbusters, go back for reshoots routinely. Whether the film was shown to a small test group that didn’t care for it, or if the changes are spurned by executive reactions is unknown, but neither would bode well. What does bode well is that if they’re ponying up for another month of shooting, Disney at least sees promise in the film, as well I think they should. Gareth Edwards has more than proven himself capable of helming a big-budget spectacle (see GODZILLA) and he’s worked his way up from the ranks of independent cinema (MONSTERS) which means he knows how to do a lot of work with a little time. I’d think there’s nothing so wrong with ROGUE ONE that a month’s worth of reshooting couldn’t fix it.
But it is interesting, that last line of the Disney response. Makes it sound like whatever Edwards delivered might not have fallen short of expectations as much as it failed to compare – perhaps tonally – with Abrams’ EPISODE VII. Personally, it seems to me like ROGUE ONE should be a little darker than THE FORCE AWAKENS, and if this is the real reason for the reshoots, to brighten up the tone of ROGUE ONE, than I think this is an indication of a bigger problem. We don’t want all STAR WARS films to feel the same, especially not the off-shoots. Those in particular are the best option for expanding the onscreen STAR WARS universe, and I don’t think they should be expected to appeal to the same universal audience as the main films. Surely in this galaxy, however far far away it is, there are some R-rated exploits going on.
Whatever the reasoning and whatever the results, ROGUE WAR: A STAR WARS STORY – starring Felicity Jones, Donnie Yen, Forrest Whitaker, Diego Luna, Mads Mikkelson, and Ben Mendelsohn – opens December 16th, 2016.