Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is arguably the most successful, creatively, of the Disney Star Wars efforts. It was the first of the now aborted Anthology series that were supposed to tell stories from across the Star Wars galaxy that weren’t necessarily related to the Skywalker family.

The Last Jedi basically shit the Star Wars bed. Plans changed, “creative differences” were had as directors quit, Solo was a flop in the aftermath, and the entire Anthology plan was binned. Yet another Lucasfilm mess up.


Another common theme was the production itself. Inside a production house that has seen numerous directors quit, and numerous projects to be announced only to never see the light of day, it was no surprise to learn that the production had some issues. The original announcement, very early Con trailer from Star Wars Celebration, rumors, interviews, and even some footage in teasers and trailers seemed to point towards something a little different.

But just how different? We all remember the leaked teaser from the Con, including panicked radio messages of troops under fire. Then there were images and footage of a Rebel assault, landing from drop-ships under heavy fire, at night and in the rain. Follow-up interviews seemed to paint a picture of a down-and-dirty war movie in the Star Wars universe with elements of The Dirty Dozen around the heist angle.

There was even an unconfirmed rumor that Darth Vader’s involvement, and particularly his introduction, was very different. The rumored version involved a team of Rebel commandos swapping campfire stories in the jungle about the the whispers they were hearing about the Emperor’s new enforcer, when a red glow and familiar sound envelopes them, before they are slaughtered at lightning speed where they were laying and sitting, by that very enforcer.

The legend goes that Kathleen Kennedy, after greenlighting the Anthology series as a chance to do just these kinds of things, be more daring within Star Wars without impacting the core trilogies, suddenly got cold feet. She felt the tone was too adult. Too violent. Cassian Andor was too complex a character, potentially unlikable. We saw glimpses of this in his introduction where he killed a contact in cold blood to protect himself.


Tony Gilroy was brought in to support Gareth Edwards in reshooting, and his brother John Gilroy performed editing duties at pace, and under pressure, to craft a story different in tole and approach out of the constituent parts.

Now, editor John Gilroy has shed some new light on them. During an episode of The Playlist’s Andor podcast, Gilroy shared some details about the production and the work he did alongside his brother. He says they really changed things and came up with a different story:

“I don’t know how much I’m supposed to say about it about that, but… it was really changing things and using all the tricks in your bag as an editor to make things work however you need to make them work, you make them work.”

“It was actually, I mean… the basic plan was very simple. They had the movie that they had and they called Tony in. And Tony huddled for a while with another editor, who was on already, Colin Goudie… and used a lot of the things that he had discovered when we were working together… and just basically made a new story. It was quite a different story. And then convinced Disney to invest in that story, which was a sizeable investment in time and money. And then it was just realizing what that was. So, it’s a new plan. You’re not just going in and experimenting. No, we had a new blueprint.”

Tony Gilroy had previously let slip that Rogue One had become a “mess” and was in “terrible, terrible trouble” at one point. Now John Gilroy reveals that rewrites were underway in the editing room:

“And so we went in and just did what we did and I had a blueprint. I didn’t pay much attention to the other film except what we’re doing sometimes, is we’re taking a scene and we’re totally retasking things in that scene. I mean, I work with a microphone right next to my AVID. And if I get into a pickle with something, I’ll just mock a line in, an abridged line, or whatever I have to do. And then later on, it’s codified… and then we get the actor to do it. So, there’s a lot of rewriting that can go on in a cutting room if you need to. It’s not something you wanna do… for the first thing, if everybody wrote really great scripts and executed them perfectly, there’d be no need for that. But, things happen and that’s another elevated level to change the trajectory of a story or a film. And that’s something that people do.”

Tony Gilroy had previously mentioned that once they decided that the story is all about sacrifice, then it became easy to unlock a new direction.


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