Rogue One: A Star Wars Story had a more complicated shooting process compared to what most blockbusters go through. After principal photography concluded in the fall of 2015, reshoots occurred this past summer spearheaded by both director Gareth Edwards and filmmaker Tony Gilroy to retool certain elements. Fortunately, the end result has been widely well-received, but had Edwards and his crew wanted to, they had more than enough material to make Rogue One feel like an almost completely different movie outside of the basic structure.
It's normal for directors to ask for a few alternate takes of certain scenes, but during an interview with Collider, Ben Mendelsohn, who played Imperial director Orson Krennic, talked about all the different ways Rogue One shot various moments so that the editing room had a large selection to choose from when putting the story together. As he put it:
Yep, absolutely, very much. We did have multiple, multiple ways of going at any given scenario, we had multiple readings of it. So should they ever decided to, there would be a wealth of ways of approaching these different things. And I know from having seen sort of the crucial kind of scenes throughout it, I know there's vastly different readings of at least four of those scenes.
Again, having alternate versions of certain scenes is common when making a movie, but judging by Ben Mendelsohn's comments, a significant portion of Rogue One would have played out differently had the folks in the editing room had a different creative path in mind. In fact, when Collider's Steve "Frosty" Weintraub followed up by addressing how all these differences could be combined to provide and alternate Rogue One cut, Mendelsohn responded:
Absolutely, with enormous differences within I would've said 20 or 30 of the scenes.
Given the positive reception that Rogue One has been enjoying over the last several weeks (it currently ranks at 85 % among top critics on Rotten Tomatoes and an 89% Audience Score), it's safe to say that the scenes chosen during the editing process were the right ones. Not only did Rogue One stand on its own, but it also acted as a direct and effective lead-in to A New Hope that makes the first Star Wars movie more enjoyable to watch. Still, it is fascinating to hear about just how much material was shot or read in numerous ways. They may not make for juicy special features to be included on the home media release, but I'd be interested to see some of these alternate takes just for curiosity's sake, especially if there are any involving Orson Krennic's meeting with Darth Vader.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is now playing in theaters, and click here to read what we thought about the movie.