Fans watching Rogue One: A Star Wars Story for the first time got excited when Red and Gold leader, from A New Hope, returned during the big Battle of Scarif at the end of the movie. Their cameo is unique in that it utilizes the original actors along with never-before-seen footage from the 1977 original. But many have wondered where Porkins and Biggs are. Neither show up, but an answer for Biggs may be hiding in deleted scenes from George Lucas' first movie. As we head into the holiday weekend, original Rogue One writer Gary Whitta shared a photo from his cut scene as an X-Wing pilot, and immediately people saw it and went, 'There's Porkins!' Well, as it turns out, that may not actually be the case. Whitta simply says this on his Twitter.
"On the Yavin 4 base with Lucasfilm's mighty @raynemikele #throwbackthursday #tbt #RogueOne"
Jek Porkins was a pilot and trader who abandoned his homeworld when the Empire moved in and developed a new military base there. The burly rebel pilot flew an X-wing at the Battle of Yavin under the call sign Red 6 in A New Hope. Many have wondered where he is in Rogue One. We still don't have an answer, but it looks like Gary Whitta was playing someone different. Another X-Wing pilot who also lost his life in battle.
The Force Awakens set the precedence for allowing many celebrities and friends of the filmmakers to come in and shoot Strar Wars cameos in costume. Who wouldn't want to be in a Star Wars movie, right? Last time, stars such as Daniel Craig, Simon Pegg and Kevin Smith all got in on the fun. Rogue One was a little more selective, and relegated most of its on-screen cameos to people who worked behind the scenes, like Star Wars 8 director Rian Johnson and some of the producers. But just because you worked on the movie didn't mean you'd make final cut. Gary Whitta's X-Wing pilot scenes were all excised from the finished product. We've also hear that Alan Tudyk, who plays droid K-2SO via motion capture, also had his live-action cameo as an X-Wing pilot left on the cutting room floor.
Perhaps Whitta, who worked on early drafts of Rogue One, got cut cause he would have been confused with Porkins? Gary's actual character name in the movie is Gray Leader, and as he jokes, Gray Leader "died heroically on the cutting room floor."
There doesn't seem to be any maliciousness behind cutting Whitta out of the movie. Most who've seen it praise the pace and editing in those last 30 minutes. Some have even stated that this is the best space battle ever created for film, in any movie. We think that might be going a little too far. But Gary's exclusion from the movie does sound like a pacing issue more than anything else. It's likely that all of these deleted scenes are being saved for a deluxe Blu-ray edition somewhere down the line. And it's likely that the two cut performers will get to return in a future Star Wars movie, especially since we're getting one a year for eternity.