Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Major Scenes Cut from 'Rogue One'

When you watch Rogue One, it doesn't really seem like a mess of a movie that underwent tons of behind-the-scenes changes fairly late in the game. It's only until you exit the theater and think back to the film's trailers that you realize how many scenes must have been cut.
Yes, every blockbuster has a few notable trailer scenes that are missing from the final cut, but Rogue One takes it to a new level. This wasn't just a few unnecessary seconds of action; they must have reworked and redone entire sections of the film, especially towards the end. Heck, most of the footage from April's first teaser trailer seems to have been completely scrapped.  

On one hand, this was kind of a nice thing. Many fans complained about the trailers and TV spots spoiling too much of the film's action sequences and plot, so it was refreshing to have so much previously-unseen footage. But it's also a huge indication of just how different the original cut of the film was, which isn't exactly a good thing. 
We're going to look through all the footage from the trailers, TV spots, and featurettes for Rogue One to see which scenes ended up on the cutting room floor, and what they can tell us about how the plot was changed.

Jyn rebels

"This is a rebellion, isn't it? I rebel." Jyn's line from the teaser trailer, as she met with Mon Mothma and other Rebels in the Yavin 4 base, instantly defined her character. Whether you loved it for its attitude or hated it for its cheesiness, you couldn't deny that this quote was iconic. 
In the final cut, Jyn's entire first scene in the Yavin 4 conference room is different. Most of the dialogue between her, Mon Mothma, and General Draven was changed at some point. 

They must have realized that Jyn came off as volatile and unlikeable in the original cut, so this was one of the key scenes that needed to be reworked. The Hollywood Reporter actually has a whole article about how Jyn ultimately falls flat as a lead character, quite possibly as a result of the reshoots. 

"What will you become?"

"What will you do if they catch you? What will you do when they break you? If you continue to fight, what will you become?" These thought-provoking words of caution were spoken by a bald Saw Gerrera in the teaser trailer. 
When we later saw images of the character with a full head of hair, we were assured that this wasn't a major discontinuity or a result of the infamous reshoots; it was simply his appearance at two different times in his life. 

Although we did indeed see a bald Saw at his introduction in the film's prologue, these words never came up. And in the below shot of him in the teaser trailer, he's bald and appears to be in his hideout on Jedha, while in the final cut, he has hair by the time we see his hideout. 
Furthermore, there's a shot from the Celebration Reel that shows an adult Jyn talking with a bald Saw outside his rocky base of operations – none of which makes any sense. Saw has hair by the time Jyn's an adult, and they never once speak outside. 
What we can deduce is that, for whatever reason, most of Saw's scenes were redone and his hair was one of the major changes. It's also worth noting that his voice in the teaser was a lot more natural than his accent in the later trailers, so maybe the filmmakers decided that he should be more of an eccentric character, with the voice and wild hair to match.

Jyn gets lit 

The shot of Jyn Erso in her Imperial disguise, gradually illuminated by a series of lights in a round corridor, was the final shot of the teaser trailer and the film's most iconic piece of imagery. News sites loved to use this as a header for their Rogue One articles. It was beautiful, visually impressive, and incredibly gif-able. 
So it came as a disappointment when this shot didn't end up in the film. The round corridor was seen in the background as the passage to the vault that contained the Death Star plans, but we never actually got to see it light up. Maybe this corridor was a more important location in the original cut. Or maybe this shot had no significance whatsoever. 

For a single shot like this, it's possible that they built this hallway as part of the set, realized how cool it looked with the lights slowly turning on, and just took some spontaneous footage of Felicity Jones. And then later, someone from the marketing team could have found it and decided that it would make the perfect final shot for the teaser trailer. 

More Vader

Part of what made Darth Vader's role in Rogue One so perfect was that his last scene wasn't teased whatsoever in the marketing. His massacre of the Rebel troops would have been great trailer material, but they successfully kept it under wraps. 
However, of the Vader shots that we did see in the marketing, about half of them were missing. There was the shot of his reflection spreading across a glass floor (which was the very first Vader tease from the Celebration-exclusive trailer), and a similar shot of his back turned as he looked at a diagram of the Death Star (which capped off the first official trailer). Clearly, one major Vader scene was cut.
His final, violent scene, for all of its glory, was probably part of the reshoots. If you think about it, it was kind of an awkward way to end the movie, since all of the main characters had already died and the action was quickly winding down. This is exactly the kind of scene that Disney executives would have requested, because they knew how much it would thrill audiences.
So maybe the less action-packed scene of Vader examining a Death Star diagram was originally intended to be his final scene. It could have ended with him declaring that he would follow the Tantive IV on a Star Destroyer, instead of boarding the Rebel command ship in order to seize the plans in person.

The Battle of Scarif

These are by far the most notable missing scenes from the film. The climactic shot of the teaser trailer was Jyn – carrying the Death Star plans – charging across the Scarif beach with the rest of the Rogue One crew as an AT-ACT opened fire on them. It was the focus of the teaser poster, and it was supposed to be one of the key action sequences in Rogue One.
In the final cut, Jyn, Cassian, and K-2SO never made it onto the battlefield. They went directly into the facility to steal the Death Star plans, where Kaytoo died, and then Jyn and Cassian transmitted them to the Rebel command ship from the top of the tower and descended onto the beach to prepare for the blast wave to obliterate them.

Even more curiously, the teaser trailer had a shot of Krennic striding onto the beach with stormtrooper bodies littering the ground. Behind-the-scenes footage from the Celebration Reel showed the same shot from a different angle. In the version of the film that we saw, he also never appeared on the battlefield, choosing instead to deal with the Rebel agents inside the facility.
This all points to an extremely different version of the film's climactic battle. Jyn and Cassian would have had to run somewhere else to transmit the plans. On the way, she might have gotten some satisfying revenge on Krennic. He and Kaytoo definitely would have had different death scenes. 

Jyn and Cassian's final beach scene may have actually been the same, but it would have made more sense since they would have already been on the beach and not at the top of a tower crawling with stormtroopers. 
This large section of the film was probably reworked because it was deemed "too dark." Something about the intense trench warfare with bodies constantly hitting the ground may have been a little too much for a Star Wars movie.

However, none of these scenes cut from Rogue One are necessarily lost forever. The DVD/Blu-ray release will definitely have at least a few deleted scenes. Disney may decide to include a whole alternate cut of the film due to the boost it would give to sales. It would be embarrassing for them to admit how much the reshoots altered, but there are many fans who would pay to watch an alternate version of the film.
Which of these scenes would you like to have seen in Rogue One? Tell me in the comments or tweet to @SithObserver, and may the Force be with you all.

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