A good movie ending is a tricky thing, but it's something the Star Wars franchise have prided itself on throughout the years. The Empire Strikes Back's conclusion is easily one of the most shocking and expertly-crafted endings in cinematic history, and Revenge of the Sith’s epic finale was also incredibly memorable. But the most heartbreaking ending within the franchise obviously belongs to Rogue One, in which Felicity Jones and Diego Luna’s characters sadly die on Scarif in order to save the galaxy. And as it turns out, this bittersweet moment took a while to shoot.
The Rogue One cast filmed the heart-pounding finale in the Maldives back in 2015. Felicity Jones recently reflected on what went into filming that key moment in with these words:
We shot it every single evening over a week to get the right light of sunset, to get the perfect pink light, so we knew that scene inside out by the end of the week. It was just amazing to see how it morphed and shifted and changed. We shot that film in a very visceral, naturalistic, gritty way, which I think is why so many people responded to it. I think they loved that it felt so real and had elements of the '70s Star Wars films that had that similar feeling of naturalism and reality.
When speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Felicity Jones revealed that the Rogue One finale was actually shot every day for a week during sunset in order to get that beautiful glow that washes over Jones' Jyn Erso and Diego Luna's Cassian Andor before they meet their ends. The atmosphere of the moment is definitely amplified by the way the sunlight hits the pair during the ending and, now, we know just goes into finding that perfect shot:
Jones spoke about how “naturalistic” it was to film Rogue One, which clearly took some opportunities for practical effects and shots to match the ingenuity the classic Star Wars films displayed back before it was all about CGI. Rogue One most certainly had a load of visual effects, but they were done so impressively that they greatly convinced us it was shot in a practical environment (and sometimes it was).
An especially exciting aspect of the production of Rogue One was the fact that K-2SO was rendered by Industrial Light & Magic in real time, allowing the production to interact with the droid at the time it was being filmed. This was actually the first time that a production had ever attempted this. The 2016 movie is a major achievement, especially when you consider that Disney actually allowed all of the main characters to die. That was totally off brand in the best way.
Rogue One's legacy will continue through a Disney+ prequel show starring Diego Luna’s Cassian Andor and Alan Tudyk's K-2SO. Production is currently underway in London ahead of a 2022 premiere. Following the success of The Mandalorian, Lucasfilm has a ton of Star Wars television shows in the works and a couple movies in development as well, including Patty Jenkins’ Rogue Squadron and a film being adapted from an idea Marvel Studios' Kevin Feige developed.
Stick with us here on CinemaBlend for more dispatches from a galaxy far, far away.