‘Rogue One’: 15 Stories About The Making Of The Underrated Star Wars Movie

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

With Andor coming out today, we all decided to brush up on our Rogue One knowledge by watching the movie for the umpteenth time because, well, we'll just use any excuse to watch it a thousand times more. We’re fans (in case you didn’t get that), so please enjoy this list of slapping facts about the making of one of George Lucas’ favorite Star Wars entries and ours.

The Visual Effects Supervisor

The idea to base the standalone Star Wars movie on the opening scroll of Star Wars: A New Hope came from John Knoll, the visual effects supervisor. “I did about a seven-page treatment and went up to the office and pitched it to Kathy and Kiri Hart,” said Knoll. “I thought at least I’d done the pitch so I wouldn’t always wonder, ‘what if?’”

Riz Ahmed Went All Out For His Audition

After seeing him in Nightcrawler, Riz Ahmed was invited to audition for the character of Bodhi Rook. The actor ended up filming multiple (and we mean multiple) clips, featuring different versions of the character. Even after the director told him that he got the part, Ahmed still sent an additional eight clips, for good measure.

The Cockpits Of The Spaceships Were Virtual Sets

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Costs needed to be trimmed for the big production, so Knoll and the production team decided to use virtual sets for the cockpit scenes instead of building all of them since they were only going to appear in a couple of scenes anyway. 

“Greig Fraser had the same concern I did … and that was that these types of sets are really hard to light well; not to mention that standing bewildered on a blue screen makes it hard for both the actor and the Director of Photography,” said Knoll in an interview. “Greig and I came to the conclusion that we could use foam core – just enough to provide something to light, and something for the actors to get their bearings against. We felt it was a good way to go.”

Rogue One And The Original Title

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

The writers told IGN that there were a lot of titles thrown around during the production phase, including Dark Times and Rebellion. When Rogue One was eventually chosen as the title, some of the writers didn’t even know about it, and only found out when Disney made its official announcement.

The Star Destroyers Crash Was A Last Minute Save

Knoll explained that the idea came from last-minute panic: “The clock was ticking, and time was running out … so I came up with the idea to have the Rebels call up one of the Hammerhead corvettes to push a pair of Star Destroyers into each other, disabling them, and destroying the Shield Gate in the process. I wanted it to be really unique, so I started looking at footage online of what happens when container ships wait too long to brake and hit the dock, causing millions of tons of mass to just start plowing and plowing. Or when ships scrape into each other; just this kinetic energy … I wanted it to be all about mechanical damage; not just fireballs."

The Actors Were Geeking Out Filming Their Scenes With Darth Vader

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Fans will be fans, and many of the actors had a hard time keeping their cool when Darth Vader was on set. According to Ben Mendelsohn (who plays Krennic): “The first thing that you have to do is get over the fact that you’re doing a scene with Darth Vader. That took me a little while because I’m a first-generation fanboy.”

Director Gareth Edwards also chimed in: “We were in the middle of a scene with Darth, and Ben was like, ‘Gareth, I need to talk to you. We need to go in the corner. I need to have a word.’ And it was like, ‘Oh, s**t, here we go. What’s the matter? Are you all right, Ben?’ And he goes, ‘Nah ... It’s Darth F**king Vader!’ And I was like, ‘I know!’ And we had this little moment where we melted and we could just admit it, and then we turned around, very professionally.”

Alan Tudyk’s Groin Was In Everyone’s Face

Tudyk played K-2SO in a motion capture suit on stilts, which means he towered over everybody. Said Diego Luna: “The first month, we just couldn’t look at him because he did look ridiculous. It was the tightest pajamas ever, and on stilts, you were always the height of his balls, here (gestures to face). It was quite intimidating!”

Felicity Jones Took Inspiration From Other Women To Play Jyn Erso

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

The actress spent hours watching music videos of Florence and the Machine to study the lead singer’s movements. She also watched mixed martial artist Ronda Rousey to get the feel of her “energy and physicality,” as well as Beyoncé's Lemonade music video. “I think she's someone who has incredible power and is devoted to what she does, but she also seems like a very nice person," Jones said about Beyoncé. "I think that's very important to emulate.”

Rogue One Led To The Creation Of The Star Wars “Parts Library”

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

John Knoll pitched an idea to create a digital library of all the model parts to be used in any and all future Star Wars projects. “Basically, I pitched this idea of building a Star Wars parts library, where we could essentially scan all of these model parts into a digital collection. Then we started to ask, ‘well, what are the right pieces? What are the right kits to pull from to give us the best bang of our buck?’ The next step was actually sourcing these model kits. We set aside a budget and just bought a bunch of them on eBay; a lot of old vintage stuff. The Big Bertha howitzer, the Flak Wagon artillery gun, and a bunch of others that were used on the original films."

"We then laser scanned them all, and a partner of ours, Virtuous, then built really nice, optimized versions of all those pieces. That then became the basis of our Star Wars kitbash library, which we have gone on to use throughout the rest of the Star Wars projects we’ve done. For The Last Jedi, Roger Guyett’s team expanded the library even further with more model kits scanned in.”

Forest Whitaker Enjoys Playing A Star Wars Character That’s “Gray”

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Said the actor about playing Saw Gerrera: “I liked playing that character. He's amazing because, in this movie, the director put more gray into Star Wars stories than normal. He's a character who was fighting against oppression and those dark forces that were trying to harm humanity, but yet decided to take on some of their practices in order to be able to win, because he thought the final result was more important. That's a big question, by any means necessary, that we have to look at and see, what is necessary?”

George Lucas Likes Rogue One More Than The Force Awakens

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Regarding The Force Awaken, George Lucas didn’t heap much praise on it, once saying in an interview: “The issue was, ultimately, they looked at the stories and they said, ‘We want to make something for the fans.’ So, I said all I wanted to do was tell a story about what happened.” The closest to a compliment he could get was telling Vulture: “I think the fans are going to love it. It’s very much the kind of movie they’ve been looking for.”

Rogue One director Gareth Edwards, on the other hand, revealed what Lucas approved of the standalone Star Wars movie: “Two days ago, we got to show George the movie. We all had a phone call and I got to speak with him yesterday. And I don’t want to put words into his mouth, but I can honestly say that I can die happy now. He really liked the movie, so it meant a lot. To be honest, and no offense to anyone here, it was the most important review to me ... and I will take that conversation to the grave. It was a real privilege and his opinion means the world to me.”

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