For some, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is a worthy addition to the Star Wars canon. For others, the behind-the-scenes drama that unfolded over the course of the Disney/Lucasfilm production makes for a much better story than the on-screen adventures of a rag-tag group of resistance fighters banding together to steal plans for the Empire’s greatest weapon, thus discovering its only weakness and kicking off a rebellion in earnest. Whatever your thoughts on how Rogue One ended up, there’s little doubt that the story evolved quite a bit throughout the film’s production, including infamous reshoots and reworking by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Tony Gilroy.
Now, for the first time, Gilroy is getting candid about his time running triage for Rogue One. Gilroy went on “The Moment with Brian Koppelman” podcast (via THR) in support of his new film Beirut but ultimately ended up clearing the air regarding the Star Wars anthology film. And it wasn’t pretty. Gilroy is, admittedly, not a fan of the franchise and has no interest in directing another film, a stance which freed him up from being too precious with the material but also disconnected him from the fandom.
Since Rogue One banked over $1 billion at the worldwide box office, however, Gilroy might reconsider if Disney pressed the issue:
“I’ve never been interested in Star Wars, ever. So I had no reverence for it whatsoever. I was unafraid about that. And they were in such a swamp … they were in so much terrible, terrible trouble that all you could do was improve their position.”
Without getting into detail, Gilroy hinted at his role that went beyond that of a producer on the film, strongly suggesting that his screenplay credit was well-earned:
“I came in after the director’s cut. I have a screenplay credit in the arbitration that was easily won.”
Speaking of easy, apparently Gilroy’s fix for the film was a real softball for him:
“If you look at Rogue, all the difficulty with Rogue, all the confusion of it, and all the smart people and all the mess, and in the end when you get in there, it’s actually very, very simple to solve. Because you sort of go, this is a movie where, ‘Folks, just look. Everyone is going to die.’ So it’s a movie about sacrifice.”
When pressed again about his possible future in Star Wars, Gilroy doubled down:
“It doesn’t appeal to me, but I don’t think Rogue really is a Star Wars movie in many ways. To me, it’s a Battle of Britain movie.”
So there you have it. The self-sacrificial angle appears to have come mostly from Gilroy while the smattering of heist-movie-meets-war-film glimpsed throughout the picture probably stemmed from the movie’s other screenwriters, including Chris Weitz, John Knoll, and Gary Whitta. Personally, I’d be happier watching a tell-all from the making of this movie rather than watching Rogue One again, but it’s fascinating that the creative team was able to cobble together anything at all with so many disparate parts. Be sure to listen to the relevant section of the podcast, starting at about 46 minutes in, and for much more from Gilroy throughout the episode.
To get caught up with the story of Rogue One and the production problems that plagued it, check out some of these write-ups:
- ‘Rogue One’ Has a Major ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Easter Egg
- Gareth Edwards on ‘Rogue One’, Darth Vader, and What Happened to the Death Troopers
- Exclusive: Gareth Edwards Reveals ‘Rogue One’s Kyber Crystals Easter Egg in Jedha
- ‘Rogue One’ Writer Gary Whitta on Making ‘Star Wars’ Like ‘Zero Dark Thirty’
- K-2SO Had a Different Fate in the First Version of ‘Rogue One’
- Watch Darth Vader’s Infamous ‘Rogue One’ Scene, Plus Details on a Brutal Alternate Ending
- ‘Rogue One’ Director Gareth Edwards on Reshoots, Easter Eggs, and the “Lost” Opening Crawl