- "A rebellion built on hope."
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a 2016 film directed by Gareth Edwards and produced by Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, amongst many others. The screenplay, written by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy, is based on a story by John Knoll and Gary Whitta. The film's score is composed by Michael Giacchino, marking the first live-action film in the Star Wars canon to not be scored by John Williams. It is the first installment of the Star Wars Anthology Series.
Rogue One stars Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Riz Ahmed, Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen, Forest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen, and Alan Tudyk. Genevieve O'Reilly reprises her role as Mon Mothma, the leader of the Rebel Alliance; O'Reilly portrayed the character for 2005's Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith, but her scenes were cut. The film also sees two actors from the films reprise their iconic roles: James Earl Jones as the voice of Darth Vader (the character is portrayed by Spencer Wilding and Daniel Naprous); and Anthony Daniels as C-3PO.
The film, which began production in August 2015, is set between Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope. It is set closer to the latter film and focuses on the formation of the Rebel Alliance and their efforts to steal the plans to the Death Star, an event that was referenced in the opening crawl of A New Hope. Jyn Erso, played by Jones, and a group of other characters band together to steal the plans from the Galactic Empire. Edwards has described the film as "a grounded, war-based movie, one in which normal people have to come together to fight the Empire as opposed to relying on the Jedi or the Force".
- "'A New Hope' is the story of a boy who grows up in a tranquil home and dreams of joining a war. What if we have the story of a girl who grows up in a war and dreams of returning to the tranquillity of home?"
- ―Gareth Edwards
From Lucasfilm comes the first of the Star Wars standalone films, "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," an all-new epic adventure. In a time of conflict, a group of unlikely heroes band together on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star, the Empire's ultimate weapon of destruction. This key event in the Star Wars timeline brings together ordinary people who choose to do extraordinary things, and in doing so, become part of something greater than themselves. In theaters December 2016.
Capture of Galen Erso
- "The work has stalled. I need you to come back."
- ―Director Orson Callan Krennic
Approximately six years after the formation of the Galactic Empire, Imperial Director Orson Krennic and a squad of his death troopers land on the planet Lah'mu and forcibly recruit scientist Galen Erso to complete the work of the Death Star, a space station capable of destroying entire planets. Galen's wife, Lyra Erso, is killed when she shoots and injures Krennic to stop him from taking her husband. Their daughter, Jyn Erso, goes into hiding until Saw Gerrera, leader of the Partisans, rescues her and takes her in.
Mission to the Ring of Kafrene
- "A planet killer! That's what he called it."
- ―Tivik to Cassian Andor
On the Ring of Kafrene trading outpost in section nine, the Rebel Intelligence officer Captain Cassian Andor meets with a contact, a man named Tivik, who reveals that an Imperial cargo pilot defected from the Galactic Empire the day before and is telling people that they are making a weapon with the Kyber crystals from Jedha. After persuasion from Andor, Tivik reveals that the weapon is a "planet killer" and that Rook is telling people that Galen Erso, an old friend of Saw Gerrera's, sent him.
An urgent message
- "I need to speak to Saw Gerrera..."
- ―Bodhi Rook
Having defected, Imperial pilot Bodhi Rook seeks out Saw, carrying an important message from Galen concerning the Empire's construction of an ultimate weapon. He finds Gerrera's hideout on Jedha but Gerrera's Partisan soldiers, including Benthic, are distrustful of Rook's intentions and capture him. They bring him before Gerrera and though Bodhi pleads his case to the Partisan leader, Gerrera does not trust him either, fearing that he is being lured into a trap. To discover if Rook is being truthful or not, Gerrera subjects him to the torturous creature Bor Gullet, an experience which leads to a temporary loss of Bodhi's sanity.
Freeing Jyn Erso
- "We're up against the clock here, girl, so if there's nothing to talk about, we'll just put you back where we found you."
- ―Davits Draven
Jyn is freed from Imperial captivity by Extraction Team Bravo and brought before Rebel leaders including Mon Mothma, Jan Dodonna, Bail Organa, Davits Draven, and Andor. They convince her to help get them an audience with Saw, whom Jyn has not seen since he abandoned her years prior. Though the mission is presented to Jyn as one of extraction, Draven covertly orders Cassian to kill Galen so as to prevent the weapon from being completed. Jyn, along with Cassian and his reprogrammed Imperial droid K-2SO, set off for the moon Jedha in a Rebel U-wing.
When has become now
- "When has become now, Director Krennic."
- ―Governor Tarkin
On the bridge of the Executrix, Governor Wilhuff Tarkin monitors construction of the Death Star. As he looks on, the superlaser is being installed. Krennic comes aboard the Star Destroyer and approaches Tarkin on the bridge. Tarkin expresses his concern over the defected cargo pilot, who is spreading rumors on Jedha about the Death Star's existence. He tells Krennic that his time is up as far as completing the battle station goes and that the Emperor would not tolerate any more delays on the project. Suggesting that both problems should be solved together with a test of the weapon, Tarkin makes it clear to Krennic that failure will not be tolerated.
Battle on Jedha
- "This town is ready to blow."
- ―Cassian Jeron Andor
Cassian, Jyn and K-2SO arrive on Jedha where Cassian expects to meet up with a Partisan contact. The droid stays on the ship while Jyn and Cassian set out to find his contact, but the duo is caught in the middle of an armed uprising against the Empire led by Gerrera's partisans. Jyn and Cassian find safety only after K-2SO disobeys orders to stay on the U-Wing and comes to their aid. After fighting off the Imperial troopers, the convoy returns to Tythoni Square where the uprising had taken place. Imperial reinforcements arrive and K-2SO is mistaken for an actual Imperial droid transporting prisoners. The droid tries to play along, but the disguise is foiled. They are saved by the intervention of blind warrior Chirrut Îmwe and mercenary Baze Malbus, guardians of the Kyber Temple on Jedha of which the Empire is stripping of its treasures. After the Imperial reinforcements are fought off, the group thinks they are in the clear until a group of Partisans, including Benthic, arrives and takes over the square, kidnapping Andor, Erso, and the two guardians with K2 having gone back to the ship. Benthic feels that Andor was hostile towards the Partisans during the uprising because he shot one of their own who was preparing to throw a grenade at a tank next to which Jyn was hiding. Jyn reveals to the Partisans that she is the daughter of Galen Erso and the partisans take them to their headquarters in the Catacombs of Cadera and imprison them.
- "The reactor module, that's the key. That's the place I've laid my trap."
- ―Galen Walton Erso
While Cassian, Chirrut, and Baze are locked in cells, Jyn is brought before Saw. The calm captive Chirrut "prays" to the Force with his mantra "I am one with the Force and the Force is with me" while Baze mocks his partner's mystical ways. Cassian becomes impatient with Chirrut and begins to try and pick the cell lock himself. Gerrera is surprised to see Jyn, having parted ways with her years before. He is still wary that the pilot's message and Jyn's return is simply a trap but when Jyn explains her intentions of finding Galen he becomes more comfortable. He questions what Jyn wants to get out of this to which Jyn explains that she wants no part of it and that her role is finished. Refusing to believe that Jyn no longer cares about the Rebel cause, Gerrera offers to show her something that he feels will change her mind. Meanwhile, on the Death Star, Tarkin and Krennic prepare to test the weapon on Jedha City, having evacuated all Imperial forces from the moon via Protocol 13. Krennic goes to order the complete destruction of the moon, but Tarkin overrules him and orders that the test-firing be conducted at minimum power. With imminent danger approaching, unbeknownst to those on the moon, Cassian, Chirrut, and Baze linger in their cells. They notice that in the cell next to them is an Imperial pilot, Bodhi Rook, and Cassian begins to question him, curious if he is the cargo pilot that brought the message. Bor Gullet's effects on Bodhi are clear and he does not seem to understand what Cassian is talking about until he mentions Galen's name and Rook's memory is jogged. As the Death Star's superweapon commences primary ignition above the moon, Gerrera begins to show Jyn the message that Bodhi brought. The message is a hologram, in which Jyn's father expresses his love for her and discloses his coerced help on the Death Star project. Galen also reveals that he covertly compromised the Death Star's design by including a subtle vulnerability in its reactor that can be used to destroy it. He tells her that the structural plans are at an Imperial high-security data bank on the planet Scarif. However, before the hologram can finish, the Death Star fires on the moon and chaos ensues.
Destruction of Jedha City
- "Save the Rebellion! Save the dream!"
- ―Saw Gerrera
As the imminent destruction of Jedha City begins, the Partisans in the Catacombs begin to flee. Cassian quickly hot-wires the cell door and he, Chirrut and Baze escape captivity. Cassian hurries to the convoy's possessions that were seized when the Partisans kidnapped them and frantically uses his comlink to call K-2SO who describes the destruction ensuing outside. Cassian informs him to locate their position so they can escape. Before they can flee, Cassian goes to find Jyn, telling Chirrut and Baze to flee the pilot, which Baze does by blasting the cell door with his MWC-35c "Staccato Lightning" repeating cannon. Cassian locates Jyn and informs her that Bodhi has told him where her father is. Gerrera urges her to go with Cassian, but when Jyn suggests he comes with them he refuses, electing to remain there and die with the city. The mass exodus of the catacombs begins, and those who exit look on in horror as they see Jedha's surface beginning to peel back destroy everything in its path. As the Catacombs begin to collapse along with everything else, K-2SO pilots the U-wing through the destruction to pick up the convoy. Cassian, Jyn, Chirrut, Baze, and Bodhi hurriedly board the U-wing and the ship begins its escape through the destruction. Gerrera watches from the collapsing Catacombs as the U-wing takes off and the blast wave overtakes the area. Shortly before his impending death, Gerrera tears off his breath mask and accepts his fate. Jyn watches from the U-wing as the wave consumes the Catacombs and kills Gerrera. The convoy looks on in horror at the destruction outside as K-2SO and Cassian pilot the U-wing, fleeing the destruction that threatens to overtake them. Barely escaping the blast wave, Cassian hurriedly punches in the calculations and the U-wing blasts into hyperspace, narrowly escaping Jedha.
As the Death Star's demonstration is carried out, Krennic, Tarkin, and many other Imperials look on. Krennic expresses the "beauty" of the destruction. With the demonstration complete, Tarkin congratulates Krennic but promptly uses Rook's defection from Galen Erso's Imperial facility on Eadu and the security leak on Jedha under Krennic's command as a pretext to take control over the project. Enraged, Krennic openly challenges Tarkin's decision and decides to deal with the defector and the potential Rebel sympathizer on Eadu personally. In the aftermath of the incident on Jedha, Cassian sends a coded message back to the Alliance base to inform them that Jedha has been destroyed and that he has learned that Galen is on Eadu. Receiving the message, General Draven is dumbfounded by the destruction of Jedha City but advises Andor to keep to the plan of killing Galen. Already in hyperspace, Cassian receives Draven's instructions and informs K-2SO to set their course for Eadu. The entire convoy is in shock concerning Jedha's destruction, and a troubled Chirrut begs Baze to describe the extent of the destruction. Baze reluctantly consents. Knowing now that her father is on Eadu, Jyn explains to Bodhi — who mistakenly believes that his message was too late — that Galen has laid a trap in the Death Star. However, with the message having been destroyed in the chaos on Jedha, she has no way of backing up her claims and the group is wary to believe her. With Cassian refusing to send word of Jyn's claim to the Alliance, she resolves to get her father on Eadu and bring him back to the Alliance so that he can tell them himself.
Mission to Eadu
- "The Force moves darkly near a creature that is about to kill."
- ―Chirrut Îmwe
With Tarkin having seized control of the Death Star project, Krennic departs the Death Star in his ST 149 shuttle en route for Eadu, where he plans to expose the Rebel sympathizer in Galen Erso's team. Meanwhile, the Rebel convoy, also seeking out Galen Erso on Eadu, approaches the planet in their U-wing. The planet's stormy conditions hinder their approach, and as Bodhi guides them towards the Imperial installation, they crash whilst attempting to avoid Imperial detection.
Jyn tracks her father to an Imperial research facility on the planet Eadu, where Cassian chooses not to kill Galen. When Krennic arrives and threatens to have Galen's main team killed for causing the security leak, Galen confesses he is responsible. Krennic executes the team nevertheless, and Jyn makes her presence known just as a Rebel bombing raid begins, leaving Galen fatally wounded. Jyn's father dies in her arms before she and her group escape in a stolen Imperial cargo shuttle.
Krennic's groveling on Mustafar
- "Be careful not to choke on your aspirations, Director."
- ―Darth Vader to Orson Krennic
With Galen Erso silenced, Krennic travels to Mustafar to speak with the mysterious Dark Lord, Darth Vader at his castle. Upon Krennic's arrival, the Dark Lord's servant, Vaneé alerts Vader, who is meditating in a rejuvenation chamber that the Director has arrived. Vader exits his meditation to confront Krennic on a platform overlooking the volcanic landscape of the planet. The Dark Lord expresses his concern that the Death Star has become more of a problem than the solution it was intended to be, citing Krennic's inability to keep the project a secret as the main catalyst for the change in approach. Krennic defends himself and his creation, claiming that he has delivered a remarkable weapon to the Emperor. Because of his self proclaimed success, he petitions that Vader grant him an opportunity to personally meet with the Emperor and advise him of the Death Star's unprecedented potential. Vader, however, is far more concerned about the rumors that had reached the higher levels of the Empire of the destruction of Jedha City and the attack on the Eadu facility by the Rebellion and what these revelations mean as far as the secrecy surrounding the Death Star project. Krennic attempts to shift blame onto Tarkin for ordering the demonstration on Jedha, but Vader is not impressed by this futile effort and criticizes Krennic's groveling, reminding the Director that the secrecy behind the Death Star project was instituted in order to prevent open defiance from the Senate. Vader suggests that the Jedha incident be disguised as a mining disaster, but seems to imply that Galen Erso's betrayal might have been a bitter blow to the Empire's secrecy. Vader instructs Krennic to ensure that no other leaks occur so that the Emperor would be satisfied that the project had not been compromised. As Vader swiftly departs, Krennic makes a last plea for his continued control over the project, hoping to remain in command of the battle station rather than Tarkin. However, Vader's patience has run thin, and when Krennic requests that Vader speak to the Emperor on his behalf, the Dark Lord chokes the Director using the Force. As Krennic falls to his knees, Vader warns him to temper his aspirations, lest they cause his downfall. He releases Krennic and the conversation is ended.
Rebel council meeting
- "Rebellions are built on hope."
- ―Jyn Erso
Having returned to the Rebel base on Yavin 4, Jyn and Bodhi are both present at an Alliance Council meeting where Jyn proposes for the rebels to travel to Scarif and steal the Death Star schematics so they will know where to target the flawed reactor module. The Rebel leadership — including Mon Mothma, Jan Dodonna, Bail Organa, Tynnra Pamlo, Nower Jebel, Vasp Vaspar, Davits Draven, Admiral Raddus, and Antoc Merrick — cannot come to a consensus; many of the Senators propose to scatter their fleet because they have no choice but to surrender. Mothma, Organa, and Raddus attempt to defend Jyn's plan. Unfortunately for them, with Galen Erso and Saw Gerrera dead, and their hologram destroyed, the Rebel leadership has no way of verifying Jyn's claims. The fearful opposition of Pamlo, Vaspar, and Jebel outweighs the support, despite an impassioned plea from Jyn, calling for hope. Without the full support of the council, Mothma is forced to play the devil's advocate, declaring the odds too great to commit so much of their forces.
Rogue One departs for Scarif
- "Rogue One, pulling away."
- ―Bodhi Rook
Frustrated at their inaction, Jyn, Cassian, K-2SO, and a number of Rebels volunteer to take matters into their own hands. The party takes the shuttle to raid the databank themselves. Before they take off, however, they are confronted by Rebel command, who asks them to identify themselves. Rook improvises a call sign of "Rogue One" before heading off to Scarif without Alliance permission.
The Battle of Scarif
- "They've no idea we're coming. They've no reason to expect us. If we can make it to the ground, we'll take the next chance, and the next, on and on until we win, or the chances are spent."
- ―Jyn Erso to the members of Rogue One
Once Rogue One arrives at Scarif, they begin to transmit a clearance code, praying that it has not been listed as overdue. Fortunately, the code is valid. The team enters the Shield Gate and head to the planet below. Briefly, before starting the mission, Jyn speaks to the squad in an effort to inspire them, emphasizing that despite being clearly outnumbered, anything is possible with the element of surprise on their side. Cassian debriefs the men and orders them to attack the troops as a distraction so they can gain entry to the Citadel and find the plans. As Jyn, Cassian, and K-2SO search the data bank for the design plans, the rest of their team set off explosives and commence firing in the nearby landing area in an attempt to distract the resident stormtroopers.
Arriving at Scarif, Rogue One jumps the inspection team and steals their uniforms. Jyn and Cassian masquerade as the inspection team and gain entrance to the Citadel with K-2SO in tow.
Inside the Citadel, K-2SO hacks into another Imperial droid of the same model to gain intelligence to locate and access the vault. Krennic orders the garrison deployed after the squad sets off the diversionary explosives. Tarkin is alerted that the Scarif installation has been compromised by rebels and is concerned the rebels may be after the Death Star plans. Tarkin has Lord Vader informed of the developments before ordering the Death Star into hyperspace to investigate.
Meanwhile, back at the Rebel headquarters on Yavin 4, the Rebellion learn of the battle from intercepted Imperial transmissions but before the council is notified, Admiral Raddus has already sent his fleet in support of Rogue One's efforts.
While Rogue One is battling the stormtroopers, Bodhi contacts Scarif Imperial headquarters and feeds them false information and create confusion in order to give the squad a better tactical advantage. The garrison deploys AT-ACT walkers to battle the squad.
Once Raddus's fleet arrives, Red and Gold Squadrons are ordered to protect the fleet, while Blue Squadron is ordered to get to the surface to reinforce and provide air support to Rogue One battling on the beaches. Several X-wings, including Blue Leader Antoc Merrick, and a single U-wing gunship make it through the opening before Shield Gate control closes the gate, killing several pilots. Cassian contacts Bodhi and asks him to contact the fleet to attempt to open the gate so they can transmit the plans. Bohdi asks the ground troops to find a master switch so he can communicate with the fleet by interfacing with the communications tower.
Rebel troops land from the gunship to reinforce Rogue One. The fleet begins to attack the Shield Gate but to no avail. Rebel X-wings engage numerous TIE fighters stationed on the Shield Gate, with both sides suffering substantial casualties. Jyn finds the plans on the Citadel mainframe — codenamed Stardust, in which Jyn immediately recognizes the name as a secret personal message from her father to help her find the Death Star plans. K-2SO closes the vault door moments before stormtroopers arrive to investigate. K-2SO desperately attempts to lure them away, but the stormtroopers become suspicious and he is forced to attack them. Before being destroyed by enemy fire, K-2SO locks the vault door so the stormtroopers could not open it again, allowing time for his comrades to retrieve the plans. Krennic is informed that the vault has had unauthorized access and goes to investigate. Jyn and Cassian climb the data vault and physically remove the data plans. Right after the retrieval of the plans, however, the duo are ambushed by Krennic. He shoots Cassian with his blaster, causing him to fall.
Chirrut is killed after activating the master switch to allow communication with the Rebel fleet from Rook's shuttle. A squadron of Y-wings commanded by Jon Vander launches multiple ion torpedoes at a Star Destroyer, disabling it.
Rook manages to contact the Raddus's flagship, Profundity, and informs them they must to open the deflector shield to allow the Death Star plans to be transmitted to them. Shortly after, a thermal imploder was thrown into his ship, killing him and destroying the shuttle. Having received Rook's transmission, Raddus quickly formulates a plan to break open the shield using the resources he has available.
Raddus orders a Sphyrna-class Hammerhead corvette, Lightmaker, to physically ram into the side of a disabled Star Destroyer, which pushes it into a second Star Destroyer close by, and creates a chain reaction that effectively destroys all three ships. Baze, having been inspired by Îmwe's sacrifice, repeats his comrade's signature phrase — "I am one with the Force, and the Force is with me" — multiple times, but is then killed by a grenade. One of the Star Destroyers then crashes into the shield gate protecting Scarif and disables the planetary shield, allowing full communications to be re-established. Krennic pursues and corners Jyn on the top of the Citadel tower but before he can kill her, Cassian, who had survived the blaster wound, shoots and badly wounds Krennic. Jyn then successfully transmits the schematics to the Rebel command ship, before helping the injured Cassian into a nearby elevator.
Tarkin arrives with the Death Star and fires a single reactor ignition of the superlaser to destroy the compromised base in an attempt to prevent the plans from falling into enemy hands. While the blast overshoots the base — though the fringes of the beam take out the transmitter, and Krennic along with it — and impacts several kilometers away, it nonetheless triggers an explosion powerful enough to guarantee the death of everyone in the vicinity. Jyn and Cassian, knowing they have no means of escape, await the approaching blast on a beach near the base. In their final moments, Cassian assures Jyn that her father would have been proud, and seconds later the blast incinerates them, along with the base.
After paying respects to his fallen comrades, Raddus orders his fleet to jump to hyperspace, but before the entire fleet can escape, most are intercepted by Vader's Star Destroyer, Devastator and proceeds to either destroy or disable the blockaded Alliance ships. Vader boards Admiral Raddus's disabled command ship and singlehandedly massacres many Rebel troops in pursuit of the Death Star plans, only to watch as the CR90 Corvette Tantive IV launches from the hanger bay and narrowly escapes with them.
Secret mission to Tatooine
- "Your Highness. Transmission we received… What is it they've sent us?"
- ―Raymus Antilles and Leia Organa
- "I started thinking about which story would I like to see told? I informally pitched it around...One of the people I pitched it to was Pablo, and he was pretty enthusiastic about it as well...I made an appointment with Kathy and Kiri, pitched the 20-minute version of this, and got a pretty good response."
- ―John Knoll
John Knoll, a visual effects supervisor and the chief creative officer at ILM, began developing the idea for Rogue One in the mid-2000s, after learning that George Lucas was developing a Star Wars live-action TV series. However, Knoll put aside the idea once he realized that it would not fit within the show's concept. The series was eventually put on indefinite hold due to budget constraints, and Lucas decided to retire from filmmaking, hiring Kathleen Kennedy as the new head of Lucasfilm. According to Kennedy, Lucas was "really interested in exploring all the stories that existed inside the universe." (Lucas had long considered making films outside of the saga, dating back to development of the original Star Wars film.) Lucasfilm settled on calling these non-episodic adventures the Star Wars Anthology Series. At the urging of his colleagues, Knoll pitched his idea to various people within Lucasfilm, including Lucasfilm Story Group member Pablo Hidalgo, who was enthusiastic about the idea. This led to a meeting with Kennedy and Kiri Hart, a member of the Story Group and Lucasfilm's vice president of development. Kennedy, who said she was president "for about 20 minutes" when she had the discussion with Knoll, thought it was a great idea and that "there was no way" she could say no to the idea. Like Kennedy, Hart was "immediately excited about" the film. It was then chosen as the first stand-alone film to be produced, due to the involvement of plot elements that general audiences would be familiar with.
- "Gary Whitta did the first draft and then I came in and did a couple of drafts and then after me came Tony Gilroy, Christopher McQuarrie, Scott Burns, I believe David Arndt had some notes on it, and then Tony Gilroy came back on again. And it's astonishing to me that, for me, from my point of view, how well it turned out, given how many writers were working on it any one time."
- ―Chris Weitz
Gary Whitta, who had written The Book of Eli and After Earth, was hired to write the film's screenplay. The main characters did not die in the original script, due to the filmmakers' assumption that Disney would want to use the characters again. Whitta's script also ended with a wedding. On March 12, 2015, it was announced that Chris Weitz would take over screenwriting duties from Whitta. (Reportedly, Scott Z. Burns and Christopher McQuarrie also wrote drafts of the script.) It was further announced that the film would be titled Rogue One—a name coined by Whitta during the writing process—and that Felicity Jones, who had been nominated for an Academy Award for her performance in The Theory of Everything, had been cast in the film. In Weitz's draft, it was not made clear that the Empire was building the Death Star: "It was just the sense that the rebellion — that something bad was going down and we need to find out about it. There was this developing sense of dread throughout the film."
John Knoll wanted the film to be shot on a low budget, going so far as to propose that some sets be reused from The Force Awakens. However, "As we got into more detailed story development, you know, the canvas sort of kept expanding and more epic things kept popping up and going into the movie. And you know, the discussion with Disney, it became clear that they were really open to the idea of going bigger with these movies." Gareth Edwards, who had directed Monsters and was directing Godzilla at the time, was hired to direct the film, early in the creative process. A previsualization reel based on the story was created using footage from many other films, such as WarGames, Aliens and Zero Dark Thirty. Edwards also used ILM's new developments in virtual reality to aid in pre-visualizing the film.
The film began principal photography in London in August 2015. This was announced during the D23 Expo that same month. Additionally, a StarWars.com blog post revealed the full cast for the film. At least two of the cast underwent special training for their roles: Felicity Jones in a style of martial arts and Diego Luna in military training. Members of the British Armed Forces were also hired as extras. The production team worked to create a film that felt real, as if it was taking place in a real location; and one that was set within the gray areas of Star Wars, as opposed to the clear morality of the original Star Wars trilogy. The look of the film was inspired by the work of artist Frederic Remington, as well as footage of real-life wars. Warwick Davis, who had a small role in the film, described Edwards' directing style: "He would shoot in a very unique way where stuff was kind of almost improvised, but you never knew quite when he was shooting and when he wasn't, so you just kept doing stuff just in case he was rolling at that time."
Certain Star Wars traditions were eschewed in post-production, such as an opening crawl (though one was included in Whitta's original script) and "wipe" scene transitions. ILM utilized unused footage from A New Hope to insert Rebel pilots from that film into Rogue One; Edwards had the idea after stumbling across a box of negatives while touring the Lucasfilm Archives.
- "And they were in such a swamp... they were in so much terrible, terrible trouble that all you could do was improve their position."
- ―Tony Gilroy, on the film's reshoots
Initial plans for reshoots had already been made upon the film's conception. According to Edwards, "it was always part of the plan to do reshoots. We always knew we were coming back somewhere to do stuff. We just didn't know what it would be until we started sculpting the film in the edit." However, in June 2016, rumors surfaced that Disney had ordered substantial reshoots in an effort to "lighten" the film's tone, with Tony Gilroy and Simon Crane having been hired to assist.
In truth, after Edwards had delivered his final cut of the film, Gilroy had been hired to write, shoot and edit new material, for which he was paid over $5 million. Edwards attributed the lengthy reshoots to the spontaneous, cinéma vérité nature of the production. According to Entertainment Weekly, the reshoots dealt more with character development rather than the plotline. As explained by Kathleen Kennedy, "There's nothing about the story that's changing, with a few things that we're picking up in additional photography. I think that's the most important thing, to reassure fans that it's the movie we intended to make." The script underwent structural changes, with (among other things) all character deaths moved toward the end, and the addition of the Darth Vader ending sequence.
A brief teaser trailer was shown for Celebration Anaheim attendees, depicting the Death Star far off in the distance on a jungle world. Lucasfilm was not able to promote the film anywhere outside of Celebration Anaheim, however, during the summer of 2015, due to the similarities between the titles of Rogue One and the then-upcoming film Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. The title of Rogue Nation was registered with the Motion Picture Association of America prior to Rogue One, leading to the embargo on Rogue One promotion. On April 7, 2016, a teaser trailer debuted during ABC's Good Morning America. A ten-second preview of the teaser had been released online the day before. On July 15, there was a Rogue One panel at Celebration Europe featuring Gareth Edwards and Kathleen Kennedy; During the panel, a featurette and a new trailer were released; The featurette aired that night during the ABC broadcast of Secrets of the Force Awakens: A Cinematic Journey. A trailer aired during the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Beginning on September 20, TNT aired the first six Star Wars films. This was part of a deal in which Turner networks received exclusive rights to air eleven Star Wars films, including Rogue One in 2019. On October 12, it was revealed that a new trailer would be released the following day on October 13. ABC aired an additional preview of the film on November 24, as part of their "Magical Holiday Celebration." On December 2, Twitter hosted a livestream Q&A with Edwards and crew members; On the same day, members of the press were invited to Skywalker Ranch to view 28 minutes of footage from the film. Cast and crew made various media appearances, most prominently on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Good Morning America, Conan, Sirius XM and MTV News. The film had its Hollywood premiere on December 10.
Some of the cast and crew participated in UNICEF's Force for Change and Kid Power programs, creating Target-exclusive T-shirts, of which five dollars from each would contribute to the cause. Edwards also used the opportunity of making the film to promote the ASSERT charity. As with The Force Awakens, a terminally ill cancer patient—Neil Hanvey—was allowed to see the film early. Hanvey passed away two days after seeing the film.
The Rogue One merchandise line officially launched on September 30, 2016. A prequel comic miniseries of the film was set to be released in October and published by Marvel Comics, containing three issues and a one-shot, until it was revealed that the miniseries has been cancelled on May 17. Two of the movie's other related products were also cancelled before they were released: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story: Rebel Alliance Field Manual, which was cancelled when the publisher Media Lab Books lost the license, and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story: The Official Visual Story Guide. On November 15, Del Rey published a prequel novel to the film, entitled Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel. Dorling Kindersley released an art book and ultimate visual guide for the film on December 16, the same day as the release of the film itself. A short story titled "The Voice of the Empire" tying into the film was featured in Star Wars Insider 170. A Rogue One expansion was released for the video game Star Wars Battlefront. Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes hosted several exclusive events introducing characters from Rogue One.
In August 2016, Lucasfilm released a series of online images advertising Hasbro's Rogue One toy line, which debuted on September 30. The toys were also featured in Go Rogue, an officially sponsored, fan-created online video series that continued throughout September. The Black Series figure of Jyn Erso was released on October 15, 2016. By September 4, 2016, the figure had already skyrocketed to become the #1 Best Seller in Amazon's Action & Toy Figures category, based on hourly-updated figures. Verizon sponsored Rogue One: Recon, a 3D experience created by ILM Experience Lab. Nissan offered a Rogue One–themed Limited Edition of its 2017 Nissan Rogue. In October 2016, Rogue One–inspired commercials aired for Duracell, Nissan and Gilette products.
Rogue One became available on Digital HD on March 24, 2017, and on Blu-ray and DVD on April 4, 2017. The retail version contains bonuses exclusive to the store outlet where it was purchased. Target's 5-disc set includes collectible packaging with interchangeable character covers and exclusive bonus content (Blu-ray 3D + two Blu-ray + DVD + DVD exclusive content – 2 additional bonus features + Digital HD + collectible packaging), Best Buy has a 4-disc set with exclusive SteelBook packaging (Blu-ray 3D + two Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD + SteelBook packaging), and Wal-Mart sells a 3-disc set with exclusive K-2SO packaging and two Galactic Connexions trading discs (two Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD + K-2SO packaging + two Galactic Connexions trading discs). In addition to the film itself, the various home-media releases include various special content, including John Knoll's inspiration for the concept of the film, coverage of the cast regarding their respective characters, coverage of easter eggs hidden throughout the film, and behind-the-scenes looks at how Tarkin and Leia were given digital touchups.
In a December 2015 poll by Fandango, Rogue One was voted the most anticipated film of 2016. Early estimates predict a significant box office intake, though considerably less than The Force Awakens. Tickets went on sale on the midnight of November 28, followed by reports that Fandango had crashed due to high demand. The film had the second biggest day one pre-sales, following The Force Awakens.
During the lead up to release, which coincided with the aftermath of a Republican victory in the U.S. presidential election, writers Weitz and Witta were criticized for making political comparisons with the film, culminating in calls for a boycott from the alt-right.
As of the afternoon of Thursday, December 15, 2016, the film was listed as "Certified Fresh" at the movie review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes. Out of 208 reviews, 175 reviewers gave the film a score considered "Fresh," for an overall freshness level of 84% and an average rating of 7.5/10. The site's consensus stated that "Rogue One draws deep on Star Wars mythology while breaking new narrative and aesthetic ground -- and suggesting a bright blockbuster future for the franchise." While reception was on the whole greatly positive, acclaim for the film was not universal. Alyssa Rosenberg, a critic for the Washington Post, called the film "disappointing" and stated that Star Wars would need to get past the dynamic of the Rebellion vs. the Empire if it was going to work. Some reviewers also objected to the use of digitized versions of the characters of Wilhuff Tarkin and Leia Organa, such as Noah Berlatsky of Quartz questioning why "vast resources of film studios and creative personnel [are] being used to create a zombie version of something everyone has already seen?" It was reported that George Lucas liked the film more than The Force Awakens, which he was openly critical of.
On January 22, 2017, the film surpassed the one billion dollar mark for global box office receipts. On May 17 of that year, the film was awarded the title of "Movie of the Year" at the MTV Movie & TV Awards. Regardless of how well the film performed, there were never plans for a sequel.
Rogue One is set between the films Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, during the Age of the Empire. The film revolves around a group of resistance fighters who unite to steal the plans to the Death Star, the Galactic Empire's deep space mobile battle station that is capable of destroying entire planets. The theft of the plans was first referenced in the opening crawl of A New Hope, which described the event as the Rebel Alliance's "first victory against the evil Galactic Empire." The crawl further states that "Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to ... the DEATH STAR". The opening scenes of A New Hope deal with that battle's aftermath, with Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan fleeing from the Empire with the plans in order to deliver them to the Rebel Alliance. The Death Star is ultimately destroyed in A New Hope after the princess and her companions—Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Chewbacca, and the droids R2-D2 and C-3PO—deliver the plans to the Rebellion and a weakness in the station is discovered.
The title Rogue One refers to a callsign, but is also intended as a pun, as the film is the first canon live-action film that is not part of the saga and is, therefore, the "rogue" one. Unlike the previous films, Rogue One does not revolve around the Jedi. Rather, the film is about a group of people who do not have the ability to use the Force and have to find a way to bring hope to a galaxy ruled by the Empire. Also unlike the original trilogy, which provided a black and white view of good and evil, Edwards stated at Celebration Anaheim that Rogue One "is gray" and that the film could be described as "Real…This is a real place that we're really in…" Finally, Rogue One was the first live-action Star Wars theatrical film that did not feature the traditional opening crawl, further asserting itself as the "rogue one."[source?]
North American releases
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Notes and references
- Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on Wikipedia
- Meet John Knoll, the Creative Genius Who Brought Rogue One to Life (backup link)
- Rogue One's reshoots show how Disney saved the first standalone Star Wars movie (backup link)