Tony Gilroy, a screenwriter who came in last-minute to work on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, has opened up for the first time about those highly publicized reshoots. According to him, the film was “just in so much terrible, terrible trouble that all you can do is improve their position.”
Production on Rogue One — the first of the Star Wars standalone “stories,” as they’re referred — was about to enter a few weeks of reshoots that sparked concern from the fans and various troubling rumors circling Hollywood. Sources within Lucasfilm told EW before 2016’s Star Wars Celebration in London that Gilroy was brought aboard the film to offer notes on the first director’s cut, write additional material to enhance the story, and assist director Gareth Edwards as a second unit director on the reshoots.
“I came in after the director’s cut,” Gilroy confirmed on The Moment with Brian Koppelman podcast. “I have a screenplay credit in the arbitration that was easily won.” He further described the situation as “a mess” and “such a swamp.”
Felicity Jones starred in Rogue One as Jyn Erso, who joins a rag-tag team from the Rebel Alliance to steal blueprints for the Death Star — all this before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope.
“If you look at Rogue, all the difficulty with Rogue and all the confusion of it and all the smart people and all the mess, and in the end when you get in there, it’s actually very, very simple to solve,” Gilroy remarked. “Because you sort of go, ‘This is a movie where, folks, just look. Everyone is gonna die.’ So it’s a movie about sacrifice.”
Reps for Disney did not immediately respond to EW’s request for comment.
Edwards had previously addressed the reshoots when EW spoke with him for a cover story on the film. “I mean it was always part of the plan to do reshoots,” he said. “We always knew we were coming back somewhere to do stuff. We just didn’t know what it would be until we started sculpting the film in the edit.”
Reshoots are common, especially on massive blockbusters, and he noted, “There’s lots of little things that we have to get, but it’s all little things within the preexisting footage.” Meanwhile, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy said, “There’s nothing about the story that’s changing.”
Ben Mendelsohn, who played villain Orson Krennic, teased a different story when speaking with Collider in December of 2016. “There would be enormously different renderings,” he said, recalling “enormous differences within I would’ve said 20 or 30 of the scenes.”
Gilroy reiterated the fix “was instantly clear to me,” referring to the development of Jones and Diego Luna’s characters. “I saw the purity that was missing and I saw that, at least, in terms of one or two of the characters because who knew how big the fix was gonna be? Who knew what people would do?”
Would Gilroy return for more Star Wars films? “I had no reverence for it whatsoever,” he said. “It doesn’t appeal to me, but I don’t think Rogue really is a Star Wars movie in many ways,” he added. “To me, it’s a Battle of Britain movie.”
Listen to his full interview on The Moment with Brian Koppelman. His comments on Rogue One begin around the 45:15 mark.