The following story is LOADED with spoilers for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, so STOP reading now if you have yet to see the film, and come back later, when you can read freely.
Films come together over a long period of time, from scripting to shooting, from editing to post-production. Scenes get reworked. Sequences get cut. And every once in a while, moments from trailers (particularly early teases) end up on the cutting room floor... or changed altogether.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which is now in theaters, is not immune to this occurrence. Nevermind all of the conversations about reshoots -- which are common on virtually EVERY major blockbuster -- there's an inordinate number of shots and speeches that propped up early marketing materials for Gareth Edwards' standalone Star Wars story that didn't make it anywhere near the final cut. Most of them could pass as extensions of scenes that we DO get in the final movie. But one, specifically, is a bait-and-switch that promised a tantalizing confrontation that never happened. Let's start there:
The TIE Fighter
This one makes me angry. Because it's deliberately teasing a battle that doesn't occur. And yet, Jyn (Felicity Jones) walking out to the mis-aligned antenna to beam the Death Star plans to the rebellion is a moment that really happens. Only, there is no TIE fighter in the shot. She isn't taking on a TIE fighter singlehandedly, as the first Rogue One trailer implied. ILM likely just wiped the ship out of frame. But why? This shot promises a stellar confrontation, and when it DIDN'T happen in the finished movie, I was beyond disappointed. Were you?
Jyn Behind Enemy Lines
A lot of these missing shots came from the first teaser trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which implies that the final movie changed shape during editing, and key moments that were used to introduce Gareth Edwards' heroes fell by the wayside. In this eye-catching shot, Jyn is seen in the Empire garb, so it occurs when she has infiltrated the tower on Scarif. But we never see her in a hallway that lights up in this manner, and she isn't staring down any incoming threat. Cutting room floor fodder.
"This is a rebellion. I rebel."
Referencing back to that original trailer, we get a lot of Jyn explanation, setting up who she is for an audience who'd never met her before. Exposition is important when establishing who a new character is, so we get a laundry list of Jyn Erso's "crimes." And in response, this hardened badass tells Mon Mothma, "This is a rebellion. I rebel." Hell yeah! Only, that line doesn't make it into the final cut of the movie.
Krennic in the Carnage
This one isn't nearly as important as removing a TIE Fighter from a crucial battle sequence, backpedaling on a promise that's included in trailers. But in the midst of the battle of Scarif, where Jyn's team is blasting their way through waves of Stormtroopers and forces of the evil Empire, we see Director Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) crossing a body of water as his cape skims the surface. We see bodies of fallen Stormtroopers, and it creates a chilling image. One that doesn't make it into the movie after highlighting a trailer, but still, Krennic is ON Scarif, and he's part of the battle. So, points for effort.
"What will you do when they catch you? What will you do if they break you?"
What will you do if they edit your speech out, entirely? From what I can tell, Forest Whitaker's Saw Gerrera was the biggest victim of reshoots and edits for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. As you can see in the above image, he filmed large chunks of dialogue with his shaved head. In the final movie, though, we find Saw later in the story and he has aged, with a shock of white hair. But his speech, an integral part of the first trailer, also got dropped. I wonder how much of Saw ends up in deleted scenes somewhere?
K-2SO in Action
Several edits involve different angle on action scenes that still happen in the movie, but differ from the way that they are presented in the trailer. This image, too, comes from the moments when Jyn, Cassian and K-2SO enter the communications tower on Scarif to reach the top and lift the plans out of the database. Only, there is no foot chase -- no sprint as the Empire's forces mobilize to deal with the threat on the beach. These scenes seemed to have changed the most in the editing process.
At-Act Beach Run
Finally, this is a drastic change to what might have led to a longer battle scene. When Jyn and her team take to the beaches on Scarif, the tropical planet that houses the grand finale, this shot shows Jyn and Cassian bolting toward an At-Act, as the mechanical beast opens fire. Is it in the movie? Nope. In the initial trailer, that moment concludes with Saw Gerrera asking (in a deleted monologue), "What will you become?" The answer, we now know, is "Fodder for the cutting room floor."
This begs the question. These look like finished scenes. Will we see a longer director's cut of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, where deleted scenes are put back in? I suppose anything is possible. But for now, the cut of Rogue One that Gareth Edwards wanted people to see is in theaters as we speak. Make sure you check it out.