When Lucasfilm set out to expand the Star Wars universe with standalone features, it had the goal of injecting new genres into the franchise that would offer audiences something fresh as they explored uncharted territory in the galaxy. Visually, Gareth Edwards has crafted an immersive experience unlike any Star Wars film yet. The upcoming Star Wars spinoff Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was shot like a documentary embedded in a war zone to capture a realistic feel while being the first true war film in the Star Wars franchise. Not only is Edwards providing audiences with the most immersive Star Wars experience yet, he did the same for the cast as well as the crew while shooting the film.
Speaking with reporters over the weekend, Edwards discussed the differences between helming an action blockbuster such as Star Wars vs. an independent film and how he managed to keep a small intimate feel for the actors while on set of Rogue One:
“It was really important to me on this movie that we tried to combine the best of both worlds and we had a rule book that had a deal that I made with the cinematographer so that we could make it a little bit more free. More organic. We didn’t put marks down for the actors to stand. We had built sets that were 360 degrees. On the first day we start filming and the actor goes over here and we look left — suddenly all the crew were in shot. Suddenly there’s thousands of people in shot, whatever. And then the next day I come and all the crew are now wearing Star Wars costumes. And so if I turn left they can be in the movie. So there were things like that. We did lots of little tricks to try and keep the intimacy and the smallness and all the benefits you get from small scenes that are more emotional and real and then obviously we have the spectacle and the scope of Star Wars, especially during battle scenes. Trying to get the benefit of both really.”
While I found Edwards’ previous films to be quite boring, I was certainly able to recognize his extraordinary ability to hone in on the intimacy between characters against the backdrop of spectacle whether it’s a blockbuster or an indie film with both Godzilla and Monsters.
The experiment that is Rogue One is a major gamble for Lucasfilm. Not only is it the first spinoff from the Skywalker saga, the response to the film will determine the future of the franchise when the brain trust of Lucasfilm meets in January to outline the Star Wars franchise beyond Episode IX. Whether or not the risk they’ve taken pays off, it’s encouraging to see such a massive chance taken by the biggest franchise of all in the current risk-averse climate of Hollywood.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theaters December 16th.
Produced by Lucasfilm, the film stars Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Mads Mikkelson, Donnie Yen, Alan Tudyk, Jiang Wen and Forest Whitaker. Written by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy. Directed by Gareth Edwards.
From Lucasfilm comes the first of the Star Wars standalone films, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” an all-new epic adventure. In a time of conflict, a group of unlikely heroes band together on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star, the Empire’s ultimate weapon of destruction. This key event in the Star Wars timeline brings together ordinary people who choose to do extraordinary things, and in doing so, become part of something greater than themselves. In theaters December 2016.
SOURCE: STAR WARS UNIVERSE