Considering the Star Wars galaxy has already experienced its fair share of trying to tell new stories in a finite continuity, one would think that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story would be a walk in the park. However, considering that the window between the prequels and the classic trilogy is going to officially be bridged with this new film, the margin for error is much, much slimmer; a fact that most certainly isn't lost on director Gareth Edwards.
Edwards spoke with Entertainment Weekly about his particularly unique dilemma, as this December's offering from a galaxy far, far away is not only supposed to follow up the not-so popular Anakin Skywalker trilogy, but it's also supposed to tell a story that ends roughly 10 minutes before the beginning of 1977's A New Hope. It's a challenge that Gareth Edwards describes as follows:
The thing every [filmmaker] typically struggles with is 'How does it end?' But we knew how our film was going to end. Our problem became 'How do we reverse engineer from that and know where to start?' You've got a finite number of options and you go through them all like a puzzle to find the one that's going to lead to the strongest result.
Edwards' remarks are all the more compelling to examine, considering Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has been the subject of extensive re-shoots, all in the name of better linking the tone of the new anthology film to George Lucas' original vision. As opposed to a sequel, where the ending is in question, or a prequel, where the beginning has to line up with previously established canon to a certain degree, Rogue One has to worry about both ends of the spectrum. Though, if there was one side of the equation that looks to be taking priority over the other, it's clear that the classic trilogy is the focus of continuity with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
The irony of specifically naming the beginning as the problem for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story to overcome is the fact the ending seems to be the focus of most of the reports involved with the reshoots. It's those first moments of A New Hope that everyone is focusing on, not the prequels that came before. If anything, there's a chance that Rogue One could improve the standing of those films by latching onto an element that isn't Jar Jar Binks, and better tying those stories into the Star Wars universe. At least there's one gigantic silver lining to the pressures of creating a film that slots in perfectly between two trilogies of films: narrowing down the options is easier than creating something out of thin air.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story blasts off into theaters on December 16th.