Gareth Edwards on ‘Rogue One’, Darth Vader, and What Happened to the Death Troopers

     April 6, 2017

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With Rogue One: A Star Wars Story now available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital Download, I recently landed an exclusive interview with director Gareth Edwards to promote the home video release. During the wide-ranging conversation he talked about what elements from the original idea remained consistent from inception to finished film, pitching the film to Rian Johnson, the incredible Vader scene towards the end of the movie, and which VIP guests were in attendance while filming. Plus, why U-Wings or Death Troopers aren’t seen after Rogue One, why the Planet Jedha has such a high density of Kyber Crystals, and a lot more. In addition, Thomas Tull talked about releasing a Godzilla Extended Edition years ago that never happened, so I tried to find out if it would have included anything major. Check out what Edwards had to say below.

COLLIDER: Have you reached the point where you’re almost tired of talking about the movie?

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Image via Lucasfilm

GARETH EDWARDS: You are the last phone interview I’m ever doing with the film so… [Laughs] I’m gonna say no. Excited.

When your film crosses a billion dollars at the box office what’s the present that Disney buys you?

EDWARDS: They bought me the gift of making Star Wars. They sent it back in time two and a half years, and I already spent the voucher.

I was gonna see if you got a Disneyland passport for life.

EDWARDS: No, I might have to make some calls.

You really should, I’m just throwing that out there.

EDWARDS: Okay, I’m gonna send some emails after this interview.

In the last few weeks, everyone has talked so much about what’s changed in Rogue One and you’ve talked about deleted scenes and whatever else. But I’m curious, is there anything that was in the initial script or outline that when you signed on has remained consistent from then to what people saw on screen?

EDWARDS: Thank you for that question, you’re the first person to ask that. If we talk about John Knoll’s original treatment, when I signed on that’s what existed, it was this sort of treatment that John had written which was about two or three pages long. Jyn was in it, there was a female rebel character called Jyn, there was an ensemble, within that was a black protocol droid called K-2. There was a beginning, middle, and end that was kind of like learning that the Death Star existed, witnessing it being used, and then trying to steal the plans. It ended with getting the plans to Princess Leia, that was the very last moment in that treatment. So those elements stayed the same, and then everything else evolved from there.

Were there any notes that you got from let’s say J.J. [Abrams] or other Star Wars filmmakers that helped bring the thing together? I’m just curious because Pixar is like a brain trust, and I’m imagining with Star Wars maybe there’s more people talking 

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Image via Lucasfilm

EDWARDS: Yeah, we were very lucky when we were developing the film. Rian Johnson was hanging around a lot working on his movie, and so I became very friendly with Rian and he was actually the first person we ever told the story to. I remember me and Gary [Whitta] got him to come down to our office and we pitched him the whole movie very early on. It obviously changed a lot since then, but I think somewhere on my phone I recorded that meeting, I’ve not listened to it back yet. But his reaction encouraged us and he gave us some thoughts and wherever he would be to produce we would make notes, “Okay, that didn’t come across” and that was really, really useful. Rian’s an amazing filmmaker and so I really listened to anything he had to say. I think he saw the film when it was closed to finished and I remember getting an email from him where he said how great that last scene with Vader was, and it made my day.

I think we can all agree that the ending of the movie with Vader is the thing that people have waited a long time to see.

EDWARDS: Yeah, and that was an enlightened idea, very late in the day, from one of the editors in the film, Jabez [Olssen], who pitched it. He said it a few times and I thought, “It’s a great idea but we’re not going to be able to do it now because we’re about 4 months at most away from release” and we were coming to the end of all the pick-up shooting that we were doing. Then he said it to Kathy [Kathleen Kennedy] and Kathy said, “I love that” and then suddenly before I knew it we were in Pinewood shooting that scene. So I’m so pleased we got to do that.

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