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Before Rogue One‘s blockbuster opening, uncertainty dogged the Star Wars installment. Weeks of reshoots — ostensibly to clarify the story and make the tone more consistent with the “Skywalker saga” — along with an increased role for writer-editor Tony Gilroy, and an 11th hour change in composers led to breathless reports that Lucasfilm‘s big gamble on extending the Star Wars universe was in jeopardy. Amazing how rave reviews (an 84 percent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes) and an estimated $155 million in ticket sales can paper over any such doubts.
But there is evidence of how the film transformed between director Gareth Edwards‘s original cut and the last-minute tweaks. Multiple scenes prominently teased in trailers and publicity material — and at least one character — wound up on the cutting-room floor. Here is a quick rundown of the MIA material.
“This is a rebellion; I rebel.”
Jyn’s (Felicity Jones) acerbic retort in the teaser trailer (watch above), released in April before any reshoots, became an instant catchphrase; it’s even featured on a limited-edition line of Target T-shirts. However, it’s obvious the filmmakers decided to soften her character’s attitude, replacing sarcasm (witness her “yes, sir” reply when asked if she understands the mission) with her mantra of hope.
“What will you become?”
The second half of that initial trailer featured Forest Whitaker‘s fanatical freedom fighter, Saw Gerrera, delivering a stark warning to Jyn Erso about the cost of war. Much of Saw’s storyline was truncated in the end, and there’s no sign of that speech in the theatrical cut.
Krennic’s cape walk
The visual of the becaped Imperial director (Ben Mendelsohn) marching through water in the midst of battle was one of the most striking images from the first trailer, with fans lauding Krennic’s stellar choice of accessories. Alas, this scene is missing from the battle on Scarif in Rogue One.
The first full trailer (watch below), released in August, featured many additional scenes that didn’t make the final cut.
At the 40-second mark comes an exchange between Jyn and Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) in the cockpit of a U-wing. Not only is the dialogue not heard in the film, but at no point is Jyn behind the controls of a starship. (According to the cast, many of the reshoots focused on scenes taking place in cockpits to help character and plot exposition.)
Rebel prisoners on parade.
Versions of this scene, of captured Alliance fighters being marched through Jedha under Imperial escort (with varying amounts of facial blood), were in the first two trailers but not in the film.
“I will not kill you.”
K-2SO’s unfiltered personality shone through in the second trailer, notably at the 1-minute mark, where he declares, “The captain says you are a friend. I will not kill you.” To which Jyn replies, “Thanks.” That exchange didn’t survive the editing room.
Jyn vs. TIE
At the 1:45 mark, near the end of the trailer, Jyn runs out on a gangplank, where she is confronted by a TIE fighter. This dramatic showdown doesn’t exist in Rogue One, although there is a version of the scene without the fighter. [Update: Special-effects supervisor (and the guy who dreamed up the Rogue One story) John Knoll has admitted that the TIE scene was specifically (and grudgingly) created for the trailers at the behest of the company that produced them.]
Enter Darth Vader
The most buzzed-about moment in the first official trailer, the appearance of Darth Vader at the 1:55 mark (in what looks like the Death Star control room), is absent from the film.
Stormtroopers in paradise
Perhaps the most stunning image attached to the film, featured on posters and promotional material, is this line of Stormtroopers wading through the blue waters of Scarif. Unfortunately, there is no hint of the tropical ‘troopers in the final cut.
Death Star hologram
Mon Mothma, Cassian, and the Rebel Alliance appraise the threat of the planet-obliterating battle station from the war room on Yavin IV in a scene featured in multiple TV spots but not in the actual film.
Cassian and crew
Diego Luna’s character strikes a thoughtful pose as the alien fighters Bistan (the monkey-like dude) and Pao (the froggy figure) look on in this photograph released with the publicity materials (and featured on a Topps trading card) yet not in the theatrical cut.
Finally, the Imperial astromech wins the Constable Zuvio Prize. Although this character didn’t appear in any of the video promos, toy versions of this black R2 unit were released on “Rogue Friday,” however, there was no discernible sign of the droid in the film.
Watch ‘Rogue One’ Cast Critique and Play With Their Own Action Figures: