Is Rogue One In Trouble?

rogue-oneBy Danny F. Santos (doddleNEWS)

One of the dreaded phrases in film reporting is “studio interference.” I’m pretty sure it’s even worse from the filmmakers side, but the point is no one wants to hear that it’s happening.

Seems that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is being reworked by the studio, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The outlet is reporting that several insiders have revealed that The Bourne Legacy’s Tony Gilroy, who is an uncredited writer on the upcoming spinoff, has been “empowered to take the lead on post-production.”

Despite this, those same sources are reporting that director Gareth Edwards remains involved in the project. In fact, the director just recently wrapped shooting extensive pick-ups for the film, and the partnership is being described as collaborative:

“There are not two separate editing rooms; they are all in there with their ideas. Tony’s a strong force, but they’re all working together.”

This comes on the heels of the rumor that Lucasfilm/Disney wasn’t happy with the tone of the first cut of the film, and requested reshoots to bring it more in line with A New Hope. With Suicide Squad out and tanking critically, with all signs pointed towards studio interference, again because of tone, there’s the question of whether we should be worried about Rogue One or not.

To be honest, I have no real answer, and I can see it go either way, but there are some positive details here… First, however, is the fundamental caveat that there is definitely an issue with the upcoming film — otherwise extensive reshoots would be needed. The film could be terrible as it is, or, as Lucasfilm keeps saying, the film could be good, but they want it to be phenomenal.

My guess is that the film isn’t a disaster, but Lucasfilm and Disney absolutely need Rogue One to be a commercial and critical hit. This film needs to prove that a standalone Star Wars film can work while also keeping up the goodwill The Force Awakens built up.

Everything I’ve read makes me think that the issue here isn’t necessarily a vision or trust issue, but rather a time issue. It’s already August and with Edwards just finishing reshoots, there just aren’t enough man hours in the day to oversee post-production, as well. The release date for Rogue One is probably set in stone due to merchandising deals, so there’s no recourse but to have someone else oversee post.

There’s one other issue that differentiates this film from Suicide SquadRogue One wasn’t as rushed into production before a screenplay was even complete, unlike Squad, which was reworked from the ground up once David Ayer was attached little more than seven months before production (and he had 6 weeks to write a first draft). At this point, there’s a lot more confidence in Lucasfilm then there is in Warner Bros.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will premiere in theaters on December 16, 2016.

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Doddlenews is the news division of the Digital Production Buzz, a leading online resource for filmmakers, covering news, reviews and tutorials for the video and film industry, along with movie and TV news, and podcasting.

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