When Disney first announced their new wave of Star Wars plans, it was, well, ambitious seems like a major understatement. Three new movies, three more anthology movies, and some theme park expansions to boot. All this was promised, when the last attempt to expand the franchise (in feature film form, anyway) caused most fans to at least consider bashing their heads against their movie seats to induce short-term memory loss.
But then The Force Awakens happened and it was everything we could possibly have wanted. Now five more movies seemed perfectly reasonable, all at once preferably. But from the sound of things, TFA is a bar that may be set too high for Rogue One to clear.
Rogue One, Gareth Edward’s anthology film, is scheduled to be released this December, and has been touted all along as a darker companion to the main films. Its cast is stellar, and the trailer made us feel entirely too many feelings. But according to sources close to the film (via Page Six, who first broke Alden Ehrenreich’s Han Solo casting), the movie is undergoing four weeks of reshoots this summer and the studio is “in a panic.”
Now, this isn’t necessarily a huge deal. It can be hard to keep things in perspective when it comes to Star Wars news, given our history of expectations being in the gutter or the sky, with very little, if any, middle ground. But reshoots aren’t always a sign of trouble. There is some murmuring (mild potential speculative spoilers, I suppose, not that we know what is or isn’t a spoiler here) that now that Ehrenreich has been cast as Han Solo, and since Rogue One takes place right before the start of Episode IV, he and possibly Darth Vader may be added to the film.
So no, reshoots— even substantial reshoots— on their own aren’t necessarily a reason to panic. However, some of the language being used by these “sources” may be. They say Rogue One has “fallen short” of what The Force Awakens was, and that “Disney won’t take a back seat, and is demanding changes, as the movie isn’t testing well.” And according to The Hollywood Reporter, the major issue here is tone. One of their sources says that the tone of Rogue One doesn’t match up with the other movies, and more resembles a “war movie” than anything else. And while this installment was always supposed to be darker, it’s also apparently too close to A New Hope, chronologically speaking, to be so different.
“This is the closest thing to a prequel ever,” a source tells THR. “This takes place just before A New Hope and leads up to the 10 minutes before that classic film begins. You have to match the tone!”
Is it too early to freak out? Of course, but this is the internet and this is what we do. Especially with extensive reshoots and a total tonal shift. That’s a lot to ignore. I suppose the best thing we can do is put this in our back pocket and try to keep our expectations in check until December 16th. If Rogue One isn’t all we’re hoping for, it won’t be the end of the world. No one’s childhood (or adulthood) will be ruined. But after that gift that was The Force Awakens, it will be one heck of a disappointment.