While we seem to be talking about them more often these days, big Hollywood blockbusters going through production hell isn’t something new. Sometimes, these massive reshoots, studio tamperings and behind the scenes disasters would result in products that are problematic (Justice League and Suicide Squad) or borderline unwatchable (Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four).
But there are also times where films survive production hell and come out bonafide classics. Jaws and Back to the Future come to mind. The first of the Star Wars anthology films, Rogue One, is one such example.
Rogue One is a work of art (it is probably my second favourite Star Wars picture of all time). But upon revisiting its trailer, you’ll notice a bunch of scenes missing from the version of the movie that actually hit theatres.
Rogue One is infamous for undergoing multiple rewrites, a director switch and major reshoots at the eleventh hour. In a sit down with The Playlist, screenwriter Chris Weitz discusses some of the changes he made to the script.
“The version prior [Gary Whitta’s draft] didn’t have everyone die. As a matter of fact, it ended with a wedding. I think it was on the presumption that Disney wouldn’t allow characters to die with such abandon.
I felt it was necessary because nobody ever mentions them or sees them again. But also because we’ve done this whole sort of theme about sacrifice that it was appropriate that all of our main characters die.”
But Chris Weitz’s screenplay didn’t make the final cut either, not in its entirety anyway. It’s widely publicised that after Gareth Edwards wrapped up principal photography, Kathleen Kennedy and Lucasfilm brought in writer/director Tony Gilroy (known for his Bourne scripts) to “fix” the film. As a result, large parts of Weitz’s screenplay was altered. Weitz said:
“If you imagine the beginning of the second act and the end of the second act kind of swapping places, that would not be an inaccurate way to portray how it structurally was changed.”
Weitz also goes on to mention that he cannot take credit for the iconic Vader scene either. Despite all the alterations, Chris Weitz says that he has zero hard feelings and “feels great about the final cut.”
(Source: The Playlist)