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Warning! The following contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Read at your own risk!
It's a dramatic time in the Star Wars fandom as fans continue to argue about the merits of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Some believe it's a fitting and satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker Saga, and others think it's a garbled mess that retcons important moments from Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Others would rather just argue evidence of various changes made throughout the film, such as the allegation that the film's final shot was recycled footage which may signal a changed ending. As it turns out, it's not.
That shot was shot in the desert where they shot the sequence on Pasaana, but it was shot for that shot. It was specifically shot for that and then ILM created a lot of that shot, so that's a question for Roger Guyett and the artists at ILM, how they created it. I picked the shot of Rey, which I know was shot in the same desert. It wasn't already in the film, it was for that sequence.
While the scenes may look similar, Maryann Brandon explained that the shots picked for the Tatooine sunset were from different scenes not previously used in the movie. Brandon also confirmed the moment was also shot on Pasaana, which makes sense considering the crew was already on location filming other scenes. It would've been great fan service to send the crew to Tunisia to recreate the Tatooine scene, though not fiscally sound.
Maryann Brandon's confirmation to Comicbook.com about the scene should debunk a popular theory about the footage, which some thought was evidence of a changed ending. One theory alleged that Ben Solo was originally supposed to survive in the movie's final cut, and a scene from earlier in the movie had to be re-purposed to remove his character from the finale. While other endings may have been discussed, fans won't be able to use this scene as evidence toward a rushed or different ending.
Even if the scene actually had turned out to have been recycled, in my opinion, it shouldn't have been that big of a deal. Movies recycle footage occasionally, sometimes because they want to change something up, but also for budget reasons. Or in the case of including Carrie Fisher in this movie, footage was repurposed for a totally different reason. Movies aren't cheap, so if costs could've been cut repurposing a scene rather than shipping everyone back out to the desert for an additional shoot, it tracks that Disney would sign off on that.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is currently in theaters, and the disputes between others on the movie's merits rages on. Stick with CinemaBlend as theories, commentary, and confessions from those involved roll in, and for the latest and greatest news happening in television and movies.