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Rogue One’s New Footage Doubles Down on the “War” Part of “Star Wars”

At the Star Wars Celebration Europe convention which just kicked off today, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story director Gareth Edwards appeared on stage together to premiere new, behind the scenes footage from Rogue One. It’s similar to the Force Awakens behind the scenes reel which debuted at San Diego Comic-Con last year. It gives you precious little on plot, although there appears to be a glimpse of Alan Tudyk’s CGI character. Instead, it’s mostly slow motion shots of the movie actually being filmed interspersed with talking head segments from the director, actors and others which essentially amount to: “Man, I hope we don’t screw this up, but I think we’re doing a pretty good job so far.”

Of course, whether or not they truly did a good job has been a matter of debate. The New York Post sent everyone to the Dark Side earlier this summer when it reported Disney was unhappy with an early cut of the film and ordered reshoots to bring the finished product closer in tone to the original trilogy and Force Awakens.

As I tried to point out at the time, so what? Reshoots are simply a part of life with Hollywood blockbusters. Sometimes it’s Fantastic Four, and the film was already so broken it couldn’t be fixed by reshoots. Other times it’s pretty much every other blockbuster which has added jokes and smoothed out plot inconsistencies with a couple extra weeks of filming. If a movie has been tinkered with and noted to death by clueless, nervous studio execs, we’ll notice. If the extra time allowed the filmmaker to better achieve his artistic vision we’ll probably be too wrapped up in the story to care about the film’s production history.

What’s interesting to me, then, about this new footage is how it recalls the Rogue One teaser trailer in tone. It’s not quite as 100% doom and gloom. They really, really want us to know just how much fun everyone had making this movie. But it’s still telling us, “Hey, if you didn’t pick up on this the first time, we are making a war movie! This is going to be the Star Wars movie where we actually honor the “Wars” part of that title. Oh, also, we did most of this on practical sets with practical effects. Suck it, every other crappy CGI-obsessed blockbuster of the past year!”

Oh, sure, it ends on Felicity Jones saying, “May the force be with us” while flashing a crooked smile, in direct contrast to the teaser’s closing moment of Jones draped in black and her allegiance suddenly in question. Still, look at all the action and explosions and loud things going boom, bad guys walking in slow motion, heroes running away in slow motion, looking dejected but not defeated.

Gareth Edwards says in the video, “We’re making a film which touches right up on my favorite movie of all time, but then if you’re too respectful of it, that you dare not do anything new or different, take a risk, then what are you bringing to the table?” Preach it, British man. This doesn’t have to be Star Wars: Saving Private Ryan, but it can take some risks.

That being said, this whole thing is a bit weird. Unless Rogue One‘s plot gives us crucial backstory which directly informs Force Awakens or next year’s Episode 8 I don’t know why we absolutely need a movie about how the Rebels got the first Death Star plans. However, I am glad Edwards appears to have taken some creative chances, and I know I’ll be seeing this at the IMAX with friends and family over Christmas. What about you?

Here’s the new footage:

They also debuted the new poster:

CnawL8dWcAAe-ShHere’s the part where I cut & paste Rogue One‘s brief plot summary from The Hollywood Reporter:

The movie centers on Jyn Erso (Jones), a fighter brought into the Rebellion to assist on a mission to steal the plans for the Death Star ahead of the events of George Lucas’ 1977 sci-fi classic. Events are complicated by the fact that one of the scientists working on the project is her father, played by Mads Mikkelsen.

Here’s the part where I wrap things up by reminding you of the film’s release date (December 16) and inviting you to leave a comment below.

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