'Rogue One' Director Gareth Edwards Used Real War Photography to Inspire His 'Star Wars' Movie

The wait is almost over: Rogue One the first stand-alone installment in Star Wars‘s history and a direct prequel to 1977’s original Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope — blasts its way into theaters this Friday. And in our exclusive new featurette, director Gareth Edwards discusses how he and Disney sought to differentiate their chapter in the franchise by customizing it for the absolute largest canvas possible – via IMAX.

Related: ‘Rogue One’ 101: Everything to Know Ahead of New ‘Star Wars’ Movie

In the above video, Edwards and his cast talk about the way that IMAX provides the scale and sound necessary for the epic intergalactic action of Rogue One. Edwards also talks about the film’s war-movie roots: In order to effectively cast his material in a war-movie mold, he prepared for the shoot by photoshopping rebel helmets on soldiers in war photography from Vietnam, the South Pacific and the Middle East — as well as replaced those images’ military vehicles with sci-fi crafts like X-Wings. The result, according to the filmmaker, is a “slightly more realistic” Star Wars film, albeit one that still adheres to the series’ core elements.

Watch Felicity Jones on the one prop she wants to keep from ‘Rogue One:’