How Tony Gilroy Saved Rogue One From Box Office Failure

Rogue One credits Gareth Edwards as the director, and that's how it should be, Gareth was the hand that guided the production, chose what the shots looked like, directed the actors, and generally did what all good directors are supposed to do.

Said production became infamous for its reshoots. These are very common with major-scale tentpole movie productions, and it's no big deal that they occur – the director and producers are simply trying to make the best movie they can. In many instances, they are planned and budgeted for because that's the reality of making movies.

Revenge of the Sith had plenty of re-shoots – again, no big deal, as they made the movie better than the initial cut. A New Hope's cantina scene, where Han Solo faces off with Greedo, was revamped during reshoots.

In Rogue One's case, there was intense scrutiny from the Star Wars fan base, so their alarm bells began ringing when they heard of the re-shoots.

During this time, Lucasfilm had recognized Rogue One was not working the way the company wanted it to. Established filmmaker Tony Gilroy was brought in to assist Gareth Edwards and the production team in wrestling the movie into shape. Gilroy had directed a couple of films, most notably Micheal Clayton, for which he was nominated for the Academy Awards for Best Director and Best Original Script (Tilda Swinton actually nabbed the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress), and as a scriptwriter for the Jason Bourne movies.
As fate now has it, Tony Gilroy is considered the mastermind behind the reshoots, with some speculation derivatively thrown Edwards' way about him being incompetent and that Tony was effectively a Ghost Director for the film. That's uncalled for.
At the end of the day, Gareth Edwards is the director of Star Wars – he shot, for example, the iconic Darth Vader scene (you know which one we mean), which was a reshoot (effectively a new idea that came to light after principal filming had finished).

Tony's work in reshaping the movie through the editing process and creating new scenes means he earned scriptwriting credit and earned his place in Star Wars lore forever.

His essential contribution is to the climactic ending of the film on Scariff. It wasn't lost on many fans that most of what was in the trailers was missing from the final cut as most of it had been refilmed. From what we gather, the shoots for this part of the movie were extensive, and many of the originally filmed action points were dropped in favor of Gilroy's new ideas.

general merrick rogue one
Image Courtesy of Lucasfilm

But let's start with the first trailer. Jyn Erso's cringe line “I rebel” never made the final cut – and they probably didn't need Gilroy to decide to cut that! Saw Gerrera's big “What will you become” speech was also cut.

A fundamental change was the placement of three key characters. Director Krennic was featured as being on the beach of Scariff with his fabulous cape, but it, too, was cut. Did you see him, Cassian, or Jyn fight a desperate battle on the beach? Nope, their story was altered completely.

Here's what Gilroy himself had to say about his fix

“If you look at Rogue, all the difficulty with Rogue and 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,” Gilroy remarked. “Because you sort of go, ‘This is a movie where, folks, just look. Everyone is gonna die.’ So it’s a movie about sacrifice.”

“I mean, it was always part of the plan to do reshoots,” he said. “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.”

“I saw the purity that was missing, and I saw that, at least, in terms of one or two of the characters because who knew how big the fix was gonna be? Who knew what people would do?”

When things pass through many hands, and there are all kinds of accessories and jewelry and bootstraps and zippers, there's a great deal of confusion. The purity for the characters, if it's not there to begin with, it just deteriorates and turns into an absolute mush.

two tubes rogue one
Image Courtesy of Lucasfilm

So What Does Gilroy Think of Star Wars?

“It doesn't appeal to me,” he said of making another Star Wars movie. “But I don't think Rogue really is a Star Wars movie in many ways. To me, it's a Battle of Britain movie.”

You'd think from such a statement he's got no interest in participating in a Star Wars production ever again. However, money talks and Lucasfilm offered him excellent pay to write and direct the new Stars Wars television show featuring Cassian Andor from Rogue One.

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.