|Rogue One: A Star Wars Story|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Gareth Edwards|
by George Lucas
|Music by||Michael Giacchino|
|Edited by||Jabez Olssen|
|Distributed by||Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures|
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, or simply Rogue One, is an upcoming American epic space opera film directed by Gareth Edwards and written by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy, from a story by John Knoll and Gary Whitta. It will be the first Star Wars Anthology film, a standalone story set shortly before the events of the original Star Wars. Rogue One stars Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Jiang Wen, and Forest Whitaker, and follows a group of Rebel spies on a mission to steal design schematics for the Galactic Empire's new superweapon, the Death Star.
The film is produced by Lucasfilm and will be distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. Principal photography began at Elstree Studios near London during early August 2015 and wrapped in February 2016, with reshoots and additional filming taking place in mid-June 2016. Rogue One is scheduled to premiere at the Dubai International Film Festival on December 14, 2016 and be released in the United States on December 16, 2016.
After the formation of the Galactic Empire, the Rebel Alliance recruits Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) to work with a team including Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) to steal the design schematics of the Empire's new superweapon, the Death Star.
- Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso
- Diego Luna as Cassian Andor: A Rebel Alliance Intelligence officer.
- Ben Mendelsohn as Orson Krennic: The Director of Advanced Weapons Research for the Imperial Military.
- Donnie Yen as Chirrut Îmwe: A warrior.
- Mads Mikkelsen as Galen Erso: Jyn's distant father, who the Rebels intercepted a transmission about the testing of the Death Star.
- Alan Tudyk as K-2SO: A Rebel-owned Imperial enforcer droid whose memory is wiped by Andor.
- Jiang Wen as Baze Malbus: A freelance assassin.
- Forest Whitaker as Saw Gerrera: A veteran of the Clone Wars. The character previously appeared in the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars and was mentioned in the Star Wars Rebels episode "The Honorable Ones" and the novel Star Wars: Bloodline.
Additionally, Riz Ahmed plays Bodhi Rook, a former Imperial pilot with strong piloting and technical skills now working with Rebel squad, and Jonathan Aris plays Senator Jebel. Genevieve O'Reilly and Jimmy Smits will reprise their roles from previous films as Mon Mothma and Bail Organa, respectively. James Earl Jones will also reprise his role as the voice of Darth Vader, while Vader is reportedly physically played by a "variety of large framed performers", including Spencer Wilding. Valene Kane will play the role of Jyn Erso's mother, Lyra Erso. Nick Kellington appears as Bistan, an alien creature and member of the Rebel Alliance, nicknamed "Space Monkey". Alistair Petrie as General Draven. Eunice Olumide, and Warwick Davis have been cast in unspecified roles. Several Scandinavian newspapers are reporting that Swedish actor Fares Fares has been cast in an unnamed role. Rian Johnson and Ram Bergman, director and producer of Star Wars: Episode VIII, respectively, cameo as two Death Star technicians.
Rogue One is planned to be the first in what is known as the Star Wars Anthology series with other films in the series expected to focus on Han Solo and Boba Fett. Kathleen Kennedy explained that the stand-alone films will not crossover with the films of the sequel trilogy, stating:
George [Lucas] was so clear as to how that works. The canon that he created was the Star Wars saga. Right now, Episode VII falls within that canon. The spin-off movies, or we may come up with some other way to call those films, they exist within that vast universe that he created. There is no attempt being made to carry characters (from the stand-alone films) in and out of the saga episodes. Consequently, from the creative standpoint, it's a roadmap that George made pretty clear.
John Knoll, visual effects supervisor for the prequel trilogy, pitched the idea for the film 10 years before the film's development; after the Disney acquisition he felt as if he had to pitch it again or forever wonder "what might've happened if I had." In May 2014, it was announced that Gareth Edwards would direct the film with Gary Whitta writing the script. That October cinematographer Greig Fraser revealed that he would be working on the film. In January 2015, it was revealed that Whitta had completed his work on the film and would no longer be with the project. Kinberg was considered as a replacement. Later in the month, it was announced that Chris Weitz had signed to write the script for the film. In March 2015, the title of the film was revealed to be Rogue One.
In July 2016, discussing if the film would feature an opening crawl, Kennedy said, "we're in the midst of talking about it, but I don't think these [Anthology] films will have an opening crawl." Edwards added, "The idea is this film is supposed to be different than the saga films... [however,] this film is born out of a crawl. The thing that inspired this movie was a crawl and what was written in that. There's this feeling that if we did a crawl, then it'll create another movie. And so the honest answer is you'll have to wait and see." That same month, at the 2016 Star Wars Celebration, when asked about the title's meaning, director Gareth Edwards gave three different meanings: "a military sign", referring to the Red Squadron from A New Hope; "the 'rogue' one" of the franchise, given that it's the first film to not be part of the main saga; and a description of Jyn Erso's personality. In November 2016, Kennedy confirmed that the film won't feature an opening crawl, instead beginning in "a way that is traditional, with just the title."
Edwards stated that the style of the film will be similar to that of a war film, stating, "It's the reality of war. Good guys are bad. Bad guys are good. It's complicated, layered; a very rich scenario in which to set a movie."
In January 2015, The Hollywood Reporter stated that numerous actresses, including Tatiana Maslany, Rooney Mara and Felicity Jones, were being tested for the film's lead. Mara's sister Kate also screentested for the role. In February 2015, it was announced that Jones was in final talks to star in the film, while Aaron Paul and Édgar Ramírez were also being eyed for the male lead role. In March 2015, Jones was announced as a part of the cast. In March 2015, Deadline.com reported a rumor that Ben Mendelsohn was being considered for the lead role. The next month, TheWrap reported that Sam Claflin was being eyed for a role, while Riz Ahmed was in negotiations to join the film. In May, Mendelsohn, Ahmed, and Diego Luna were added to the cast of the film to play the lead roles. Forest Whitaker was added to the cast of the film in June 2015. In July 2015, Jonathan Aris was cast to play Senator Jebel in the film. In February 2016, model Eunice Olumide revealed she had a part in the film. Genevieve O'Reilly was cast as Mon Mothma, reprising her role from Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. James Earl Jones was confirmed to return as the voice of Darth Vader in June 2016.
A number of filming locations were used around the world, including Laamu Atoll in the Maldives, as well as Iceland and Jordan. Following the release of the first trailer, Star Wars fans using Twitter commented that the London Underground station Canary Wharf had apparently been used for one scene. It was later confirmed that Gareth Edwards had selected Canary Wharf tube station as a location for a chase scene in an Imperial base; the location shoot took place between midnight and 4am, when the station was closed to the public.
On February 11, 2016, Disney executives stated that the film was "virtually completed". Several weeks of pre-scheduled reshoots began in mid-June 2016. In August 2016, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that Tony Gilroy had spearheaded the reshoots, in lieu of Edwards, and that Gilroy would have just as much say in the final cut of the film as Edwards. Gilroy was initially brought on in order to retool the ending of the film, which was not coming together as hoped, under Edwards' direction. During the development of Edwards' 2014 Godzilla reboot, Gilroy was commissioned to do extensive re-writes on the script. He was also present on set during filming of crucial scenes. Post-production wrapped on November 28, 2016,
In March 2015, it was reported that Alexandre Desplat, who worked with Edwards on the Godzilla reboot, would compose the score for Rogue One. Despite rumors that a contract had not been initially set in place by Lucasfilm, Desplat had confirmed in an April 2016 interview that he would serve as composer for the film. Concerning the film, Desplat commented that "[Edwards and I] had a great partnership on Godzilla, and I can't wait to be starting with him. It will be in a few weeks from now, and it is very exciting and frightening at the same time because it's such a legendary project. To be called to come after John Williams... it's a great challenge for me."
However, in September 2016, it was announced that Michael Giacchino would be replacing Desplat as composer, after the film's reshoots altered the post-production schedule and reportedly left Desplat no longer available. Giacchino only had four and a half weeks to compose the music for the film, beginning almost immediately after finishing production on Doctor Strange. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly in November 2016, Giacchino stated: "It is a film that is in many ways a really great World War II movie, and I loved that about it. But it also has this huge, huge heart at the center of it, and that was the one thing I just didn’t want to discount. Yes, it’s an action movie, and it’s a Star Wars film, and it has all the things that you would come to expect and love about that, but I didn’t want to forget that it was also an incredibly emotional movie as well. That was what really pulled me in." Giacchino incorporated John Williams' themes from previous films into the score.
The official soundtrack will be released by Walt Disney Records on December 16, 2016.
Rogue One is scheduled to be released in certain European countries on December 14, leading to its North American premiere on December 16.
Promotion of Rogue One was initially delayed due to the release of the film Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation in July 2015. Paramount Pictures registered and cleared the title with the Motion Picture Association of America in January 2015, well before Disney announced the title of its forthcoming Star Wars spinoff. Due to the similarities between the titles of Rogue One and Rogue Nation, Disney and Lucasfilm had to reach an agreement with Paramount over promotion in order to avoid any confusion in the public mind. Disney agreed to an embargo promotion on Rogue One until after mid-2015, with the exception of a very short teaser which was screened at Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim that year.
A teaser trailer for Rogue One released by Lucasfilm on April 7, 2016, was praised by reviewers for its portrayal of strong female characters. The Daily Telegraph described Jyn Erso's character as "a roguish, Han Solo-style heroine", calling the film "progressive" while noting its painstaking faithfulness to the production design style of the original Star Wars trilogy. The Hollywood Reporter also noted the visual nods to the original trilogy and examined the film's possible narrative direction, considering that the outcome is to some extent already revealed in the opening crawl of A New Hope. The Atlantic writer David Sims stated that the trailer brought "back some memorable pieces of architecture, from the lumbering AT-AT walkers to the Death Star itself, not to mention the glorious 70s costuming of Star Wars." He added that the trailer has "the look", blending the old with the new. The trailer was viewed close to 30 million times in its first 29 hours at a rate of 800,000 views per hour from Facebook and YouTube, which is 200,000 views shy of what the first teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens was receiving in November 2014.
In June 2016, Rogue One was promoted at the Star Wars Celebration Europe III event in London. During the event, a new official poster was unveiled, which depicts a battle taking place on the tropical planet Scarif and the Death Star looming large in a blue sky, above which is printed the tagline "A Rebellion Built on Hope". A second teaser trailer was also unveiled, screened exclusively for the Celebration audience and not streamed online. This new trailer was reviewed favorably by critics; The Daily Telegraph noted that the trailer revealed new locations such as the planets Jedha and Scarif, and that its most significant revelation came in the final seconds of the teaser with the appearance of Darth Vader, reflected in a computer screen and accompanied by the classic breathing sound effect. Variety also hailed the Vader reveal, and noted that the emphasis of the production was much more on the kinetic depiction of large battle sequences and full-on warfare, comparing it to Francis Ford Coppola's 1979 Vietnam War epic Apocalypse Now. A showreel was also shown during the event, which featured footage from the film cut with behind-the-scenes shots and interviews with the director and cast members. The second trailer was shown publicly during a broadcast of the 2016 Summer Olympics and received favourable media reviews; Wired stated that the trailer was "littered with nostalgic throwbacks to the original trilogy", while Rolling Stone described the CGI landscape shots seen in the footage as "eye-poppingly gorgeous".
A further trailer released in October 2016 prompted the Hollywood Reporter to comment that the newly-revealed footage looked like "a trailer to a different movie than the one advertised earlier", remarking that Jyn Erso appeared to be portrayed as a more vulnerable character, and highlighting the appearance of Galen Erso as a protective father figure. Vanity Fair also commented on the emphasis given to Jyn's relationship with her father; in a humorous reference to psychology, it remarked that Rogue One, like many of the previous films, was apparently drawing on "the Star Wars franchise’s greatest natural resource: daddy issues".
A downloadable expansion pack will be released for the video game Star Wars Battlefront, titled Rogue One: Scarif, that will allow players the ability to play through the various locations, characters and set pieces of Rogue One. A virtual reality mission is also set for release.
A tie-in novel to the film, Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel, was released on November 15, 2016. It was written by veteran Star Wars novelist James Luceno, the story is set some years before the events of Rogue One and provides a backstory to the 2016 film. The film's novelization was written by Alexander Freed and is planned to be released on December 16, 2016.
Box office projections
In late November 2016, North American box office projections had the film grossing $100–150 million in its opening weekend. Disney chairman Bob Iger noted that Disney and Lucasfilm did not expect Rogue One to match The Force Awakens' total gross of $2.1 billion, nor its $248 millon opening. Pre-sale tickets for the film went on sale at 12:01am EST on November 28, 2016 and within 10 minutes crashed ticket sale sites such as Fandango, much like The Force Awakens did the year prior. In its first twenty four hours, the film had the second-highest ever amount of pre-sale tickets sold, behind only The Force Awakens the year prior.
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