The Rogue One: A Star Wars Story cut that is currently playing in theaters is not the Rogue One executives saw when post-production initially wrapped. In fact, enormous changes have been made to that first cut of the film, to what we now know as the definitive theatrical version. There are literally two very different movies that exist. And fans picked up on this quite quickly, examining the trailers and TV spots released leading up to the movie's big premiere this December.
But what exactly were all those changes? Ben Mendelsohn has decided to give some insider insight into just what exactly morphed and evolved during the much publicized reshoots, which included between 30 and 40 all-new shots. That's not a small thing, and as more on this story continues to break, it becomes apparent why Tony Gilroy, who was brought in to oversee the overhaul, made so much money off the deal, having rewritten and redirected a huge portion of what eventually made it to the big screen.
According to Ben Mendelsohn, this 'bizzaro' version of Rogue One, which is presumably locked in one of Disney's vaults or frozen underground alongside Walt Disney's corpse, would have given the movie a 'vastly different reading'. And no one's sure how fans would have reacted to that initial cut of the movie.
The actor explains that it wasn't just one or two scenes that needed to be fixed, but various versions of different scenes that stretch all throughout the entire duration of the movie's two hour runtime. He explains that there were "multiple ways of going at any given scenario." There are at least four separate scenes in the finished movie that are completely different in the original cut, then added to that, there are "enormous differences within...20 or 30 of the scenes."
He doesn't go into great detail about what these scenes are, which would be hard to do in a 9 minute interview, as conducted with the actor by Collider. But just watching the trailer and TV spots, we know the ending was vastly different. Jyn Erso had a showdown with a TIE Fighter on the Scarif battle station bridge that was excised from the movie. That lead directly into Jyn and Cassian running across the beach with Death Star plans in their hands. Cassian never killed Krennic on the bridge of the battle station. And droid K-2SO made it out of the station intact after they all retrieved the plans. It's also possible that Krennic survived both Jyn and Cassian's death.
Krennic's narrative arc is 'different' in the original cut of Rogue One. This is noticeable in the trailer when Krennic walks through the surf, surrounded by dead Stormtroopers, as his cape flows in the water behind him. Another missing scene with Krennic is harder to interpret with no info yet explained about what it exactly pertains to. But it proves that there is more Darth Vader footage to go around than the actual movie offers. Krennic tells Vader in this missing scene, "The power we are dealing with is immeasurable." Krennic, who is scared of Darth Vader in the final cut, is seen standing his ground with the Sith Lord. And the pair are seen standing in a location that is not included in the finished movie at all. For the most part, Ben Mendelsohn doesn't think that Krennic's emotional arc changed much within the context of the story. He says this.
"In terms of the overall swoop, yeah, [he's] very much [similar]. I think that Krennic developed sort of along as we went, he had different ideas. And [director Gareth Edwards] settled yet on exactly...He was still thinking of a couple of variations in a lot of things at that stage. If you want to talk about alternative takes on things, there's been quite a few different renderings of this within Gareth's mind, and I dare say some of it's been captured on film. So there are different renderings."
The actor went onto say this about seeing the finished cut for the first time, and how it was surprising how some of Krennic's emotions changed during the course of the film, from some of the various takes he did, and the change of emotions he felt from scene to scene, in regards to the initial production and the reshoots.
"There were a couple of times I was like, "Oh wow! He went with that. That one, yeah. Ok, I get it." Because there were some scenes that I had seen as we were constructing and thinking about doing it this way or that way, and I had seen various scenes where we would come in and done something. And I'd seen the scene and it was cut this particular way and so we did the ADR, and then when I saw it the other day I was like, "Oh wow! That all -Yeah now it goes like this." So there is a bunch."
At this point, it is unclear if Rogue One will be getting a deluxe Blu-ray that finally reveals all of these missing scenes. This is one instance where LucasFilm and Disney may not want to show off this missing footage, as to not disrupt the final narrative of what is considered such an important part of Star Wars lore. Especially now that this story is officially part of the cinematic Star Wars canon. Rogue One is in its second week at the box office as we head into its third weekend this New Year's Eve. The movie has already soared past $600M worldwide.