Rogue One was probably the riskiest Star Wars film of all time. Lucasfilm took a huge gamble with the movie; it was a trailblazer for a new range of spinoffs, but also so closely linked to 1977's A New Hope that it needed to stick with the same aesthetics and designs. The end result felt like watching a modern movie that came from a different era.
Now, in a testament to the incredible quality of #RogueOne's design, one fan has put together this fantastic video comparing key moments.
Contrasting 'Rogue One' With The Original Trilogy
Gareth Edwards is a fan first and a director second — and it shows. As you play the above video, if you're anything like me, you'll be marveling at how faithfully he recreated scenes from the Original Trilogy.
In fact, on a tour of Skywalker ranch he spotted reels of unused footage from A New Hope. With the help of Industrial Light and Magic, this footage was digitized and incorporated into the film. That's why you get Red Leader (Garven Dreis) and Gold Leader (Jon Vander) in the battle of Scarif; this was actually footage from A New Hope!
While Rogue One has a very different tone and style, Gareth Edwards was quite insistent: this had to feel like Star Wars. Producer Simon Emanuel explained:
"Gareth is all about intimacy and realism. He has a very documentary-led style, where he really wants the audience to be in there, but equally one of the things that was important to Gareth was that you should be able to watch Rogue One and then go straight into A New Hope. Aesthetically it should feel the same; it shouldn’t jar."
One example jumps out at me from that beautiful video: the Rebel base on Yavin 4. The Rogue One team revisited the original set at Cardington Airfield to get a real sense of the place, but were able to do far more than George Lucas would have dreamed back in 1977. He had to settle with budget restrictions, meaning that he only built part of the Rebel base and relied on a matte painting backdrop to give a sense of scale. The Rogue One team, in contrast, were able to build a much larger set.
They had trouble with that iconic briefing room, though. No drawings or blueprints had survived, so set decorator Lee Sandales and art director Lydia Fry had to study the film and photography in detail. Sandales explained:
"We set about doing a forensic study of the table, down to millimeters. It took about four to six weeks of drawings to get the table right. We used production photos of Carrie Fisher standing next to the table to get the height and to work out the scaling of the ribs on the inside of the table and also to work out how many ribs there were... We couldn’t work out the graphics, so Lydia forensically went through working out each of the graphics so they exactly match A New Hope."
Only one word springs to mind: Wow. It's no wonder fans are able to put Rogue One side by side with the Original Trilogy and reel at the similarities; Gareth Edwards and his team put an unfathomable amount of effort into this project. They studied A New Hope in more depth and detail than almost any Star Wars fan, and they created a film that's as much a work as art as anything else — a wonderful love letter to A New Hope, and to that beloved Galaxy Far, Far Away.