If you're a super Star Wars nerd is excited to explore Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and A New Hope, then you should know that the two films aren't going to sync up perfectly from a visual perspective. Sure, there will be plenty that works magically side-by-side, but there are certain details that are definitely different. Why is this? Because in the construction of the visual effects, the philosophy in the making of Rogue One was more about matching what audiences remember rather than exactly what existed back in 1977.
I learned about this interesting approach to Rogue One's CGI while doing an interview over the phone with producer/visual effects supervisor John Knoll earlier this month. At the start of our conversation, I asked how meticulously his teams poured over A New Hope ensuring a certain level of synchronicity, and he noted that doing that wasn't exactly the goal. Knoll explained,
Is your brain melting a little bit? Are you completely perplexed by this and wondering if everything you know is a lie? Don't fret -- because John Knoll was happy to provide an explanation for what he meant in terms of memory over reality.
A big part of it, naturally, is the reality that most people don't just remember A New Hope -- they remember the entire original Star Wars trilogy. In the construction of Rogue One, Knoll and his team had the capacity to utilize all of the details provided by the franchise beyond the first chapter, and it helped construct a visual that syncs up with what everybody recognizes as Star Wars. To illustrate his point, Knoll used the Empire's legendary Star Destroyer as an example:
Not only is this an interesting way to look at Rogue One and the way it utilized elements from the history of the Star Wars franchise, but I bet that many of you are going to pay a lot closer attention to the opening shot of A New Hope from now on. What's also interesting is just the fact that the making of the Gareth Edwards-directed blockbuster also added a certain level of completion to the sci-fi universe as well, putting a stamp on what many of the iconic ships look like from all angles. It's even cooler to think that this will continue to happen as more new-era prequels are made, the next being Phil Lord and Chris Miller's Han Solo movie.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is now in theaters everywhere, and be sure to stay tuned for more from my interview with the film's VFX artisans!