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RogueLeader's Rogue One Edit

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Hey everyone! Below is a ridiculously long post about an edit of Rogue One I have been working on. For those of you who don’t have the time to read it all, here are my three major goals of this edit:

  1. Make the first act less jumpy.
  2. Make Jyn a more active protagonist.
  3. Save Galen’s message as a reveal.
  • I’ve also made personal changes here and there.

If you’d like to check it out and give some feedback, feel free to pm me.


I liked Rogue One, but I definitely think that the lack of characterization and other common criticisms were justified. Without deleted scenes, you can only do so much, but I wanted to see what can be done with what we were given.

I have been sitting on my own edit of the film since August, but I finally made the time to sit down and write this post.

I think the biggest criticism of the film was its lack of character development. This falls hard on Jyn, especially. An informative video essay by Lessons From the Screenplay highlights the faults in the two newest Star Wars films’ central protagonists, Rey and Jyn. While Rey is another topic, Michael delves into Jyn’s character and describes her as a passive protagonist, meaning Jyn rarely makes decisions that have any influence on the story as a whole. Link to video below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsIQa7sH5_Y&t=638s

A few months ago I also stumbled across a Tor article by Max Gladstone titled “How to Fix Rogue One with the Least Amount of Effort”. While some of his changes are impossible to make, he had some ideas that I thought could be doable. Please give it a read when you can; he explains his own ideas much more elegantly than I could.

https://www.tor.com/2017/01/05/least-effort-fixes-for-rogue-one/comment-page-1/

So, after reading these criticisms, along with many others on here and other websites, I decided to work on an edit with these major goals.

  1. Make the first act less jumpy.
  2. Make Jyn a more active protagonist.
  3. Save Galen’s message as a reveal.

ACT I

Even when I saw it in theaters, I felt that the first act jumped around too much. In this version, I have removed the planet title cards (ala DigMod) to possibly help alleviate information overload, and I have also completely removed Bodhi’s first scene. There’s no information that doesn’t get repeated in his next scene with Saw, and I also think his second scene is a more interesting way to introduce him. And this way, we don’t go to Jedha until Jyn and Cassian do.

In the first act, I have also changed the nature of their mission. Their objective is to convince Saw Gerrera to just give them the Imperial pilot, who has information regarding a secret weapon that the Empire is building, and bring him back to Yavin. When Jyn asks what this has to do with her father, Cassian reveals that they believe Galen is building a weapon that has the power to destroy entire planets, rather than saying the Emperor is building a weapon. The Rebels don’t know Galen has anything to do with the pilot and the message.

I thought it was strange that the Rebels were so eager to kill Galen if they knew that he sent this message. Now, their motivation to kill him is a little more understandable because they still have reason to believe Galen is loyal to the Empire. This change also helps simplify their mission. Find Saw and get the pilot.

This also ties in with another big change in this edit: trying to make Jyn a more active protagonist.

There’s a few more moments I’ve altered where Jyn’s actions have more of an influence on the story.

When Jyn saves the little girl on Jedha, we now see that Chirrut senses her act of selflessness from nearby, which explains why Chirrut returns the favor a few minutes later. In the original cut, I felt her saving the girl was an cheap way to show that Jyn was a “good person”, and I had trouble understanding why Chirrut would feel the need to save Jyn and Cassian just because he’s “no friend of the Empire”. Now, tying these two moments together helps give Jyn’s actions consequence and helps explain Chirrut and Jyn’s connection. It also parallels Cassian’s actions in the same scene resulting in their capture by Saw’s rebels.

ACT II

I’ve also changed the U-Wing scene after they escape Jedha. As Max points out in his article, Jyn and Cassian’s argument about what to do next seems strange since they are going to Eadu regardless, but since I’ve also changed the mission and left Galen’s involvement as a reveal, at this point in the story Cassian would want to return to Yavin IV with the pilot. Now, I’ve rearranged this scene so Jyn makes the argument to extract her father instead (since Bodhi knows his location). So Cassian contacts the Alliance, they give them the green light, but they think Galen is too much of a risk, so they order Cassian to kill him instead. Max goes into more detail about why this change can work, but most importantly, I think this gives Jyn another moment where she makes active decisions within the story, because she alters the direction of the plot.

A common complaint I hear about the Eadu segment of the film is that it has no real lasting impact on the story. It lets Jyn have one final moment with her father, but that’s about it. I’ve tried to change this by having the last thing Galen says to Jyn be, “Jyn, I have to tell you… star… dust…”. There is not much context for why he says that at this point of the story, but I’m hoping with this, and by cutting two or three of the other Stardust name drops, it helps imply that he was trying to tell Jyn that the project codename was Stardust. Yes, Jyn figures it out anyway in the original cut, but maybe someone who hasn’t seen Rogue One, or hasn’t seen it in a long time, would mentally tie these moments together. This change brings some lasting value to their mission on Eadu, even if it was only a little bit.

On their way back to Yavin, I’ve also removed a few lines to Jyn and Cassian’s argument, namely, the last two. Now, the argument ends with Cassian saying, “You’re not the only one who’s lost everything. Some of us just decided to do something about it.”

Before, I thought the ending of the conversation felt childish and nothing was gained from it. Now, we, and Jyn, are left to ponder Cassian’s final words before he walks off. At this moment, Jyn could leave the Alliance after this betrayal, or she could “do something about it” like Cassian suggests. So instead of giving up on the rebellion, like many thought she would have done in this situation, she decides to try and convince the Rebellion to go to Scarif so her father didn’t die in vain.

Originally in Jyn’s speech scene, it didn’t seem like her speech had any real impact on the story. The rebels refuse to go, and Cassian recruits a team for the mission on his own anyway. In this version, though, I’ve added Cassian to this scene. While I don’t think this change is the most seamless, since I had to move shots of him from the first briefing scene to this scene, even though it is a different part of the base, I think the change is worth it. And when I cut to him, I’ve lowered the volume of the discussion to help imply that he’s listening in from a distant, off-camera corner. When Jyn gives the same line he said to her earlier, “Rebellions are built on hope.” Cassian gives a little grin, which is an unused shot that I took from one of the trailers. After Mon Mothma says they can’t go, and some of the rebels are sitting there, looking defeated, one of the rebels looks over at Cassian, who then gives him a knowing look. Coincidentally, this rebel turns out to be one of the guys that is standing right behind Cassian in the next scene, hopefully implying that Jyn’s speech motivated them to join this new mission.

ACT III

I’ve pretty much done nothing to the final act of the film; most people seem to enjoy it as is. But I do think it has a few issues. My biggest gripe though is regarding why they decided to transmit the plans instead of escaping with them if they have to take down the shield gate either way? I just don’t understand why they changed their plan at this moment, when they learn the shield gate has been closed. It seems like the transmitting option would only be chosen after their means of escape was gone.

And then when they get Bodhi to contact the Alliance and tell them to take out the shield gate, they were already trying to do just that. So his, Chirrut’s and Baze’s deaths feel almost unnecessary.

There are three ways to tackle these problems that I’ve considered:

  1. Alter some dialogue.
    K2: They’ve closed the shield gate.
    Jyn: We’re trapped?
    Cassian nods
    K2: They have to take out that shield gate.

Change Cassian/Bodhi lines accordingly.
Their plan is still to escape first, but when their way out is blocked by troopers, K2 tells them to climb up the tower and transmit the plans instead. You can write off the rest by assuming Raddus just isn’t focused on the shield until Bodhi contacts him, so changing that is not necessary.

  1. Do 1, plus readjust space battle so they don’t start probing shield gate until after Bodhi contacts Raddus.

  2. Readjust battle so Raddus doesn’t attack shield until after Bodhi contacts them, and rearrange deaths so K2 doesn’t tell them transmit the plans with his dying words until Bodhi has been killed and their means of escape gone. This also means that Chirrut and Baze have to die before K2 as well. You could have Cassian check up on Bodhi as he blows up, then have a reaction shot of him and Jyn when they only hear static through the commlink. Now they know they’re stuck there.

While I think 3 would be the strongest change, I think it would be very difficult to make it seamless, partly due to the music underlaying most of the third act as well as all of the changes being more noticeable.

I like to think that the changes in the first two acts would be subtle enough that someone who has not watched the movie in a long time might not notice what has changed. They might notice something is different, but not exactly what. With this, I do feel like the #3 option would be pretty obvious and maybe against what I’m trying to achieve.

I’m still floating ideas around. If anyone has any thoughts, ideas or opinions on the third act please share them. As of now, I’ve only removed Cassian’s line when informing Bodhi of the transmitting plan “it’s the only way we’re getting them out of here”. Even though he probably means they can only get the plans out by destroying the shield gate, it removes the possible assumption that he means they can only get the plans out by transmitting the plans to the fleet. As of now, I’m just assuming that once the fleet arrives, K2 realizes that transmitting the plans successfully is more likely than escaping with them physically, and the group goes along with that plan, even if it means risking their own escape. I know I’m overthinking this.

MISCELLANEOUS

These are the main changes I have made. I’ve had to make minor cuts/changes here and there to maintain the objectives of the edit. I have also made some minor cuts here and there unrelated to the main objectives as well. (I may have forgotten a thing or two).

  • Slightly darkened the Rogue One title card.

  • I’ve trimmed the Bor Gullet scene. I know many people don’t like Bor Gullet, but I do think the scene serves a purpose. I think the reason people didn’t like it is because it doesn’t really affect Bodhi in the way Saw implies. Sure, he acts weird for a scene, but he didn’t “lose his mind”. By simply removing that line, I think the focus now of the scene is to show how far Saw has gone off the deep end. I’ve also darkened the scene as well in order to keep it a little more eerie and hide the CGI-ness of the creature.

  • I’ve kept the Ponda Baba and Evazan cameo, but I removed the last shot of them that just sits there for several seconds. I think the last shot was gratuitous, screaming, “Do you recognize them yet?!?!” By just cutting out that last shot, I think it becomes more like an easy-to-miss easter egg rather than a blatant nostalgic callback. It doesn’t call as much attention to them anymore.

  • I removed K2’s line, “That doesn’t sound so bad to me” from his first Jedha scene. Just to see him silently dropping Jyn’s bag might be funnier considering we’re already used to him being the droid that says funny things.

  • I ever so slightly trimmed the scene of Jyn kicking Stormtrooper ass. I didn’t cut any of her shots, but instead I trimmed Cassian’s reaction. Both Rogue One and TFA had a moment where a guy reacts with surprise when a girl actually knows how to fight and doesn’t need help. I don’t think this should be a surprising thing in the Star Wars universe. So Cassian simply turns around and sees she’s handling it. No surprised look.

  • I’ve also lovingly borrowed two ideas from Digital Modification, where he removes Chirrut’s line, “Is your foot alright?” and implements the continuous Baze firing shot from the Jeddha scene from his own edit, Rise of the Rebellion. I think he makes a lot of great changes, which some I would be interested in implementing with his blessing, like his color corrected scenes of Tarkin and Leia.

  • Shortened Bodhi’s struggle to remember himself in prison cell.

  • Cut Saw’s line “I will run no longer”. Another major complaint was Saw just giving up on life and not going with Jyn and company as Jeddha was being destroyed. For a man who has fought oppression his entire adult life, how could he just give up so easily? I think a simple answer why is because he literally can’t run away. He’s encased in a large metal suit and has two ill-fitting robotic legs, so he would only slow them down. So all I did was remove the line. Now, he is not necessarily staying because he wants to, and I like to think that fresh viewers would connect the dots and assume that he’s too slow and doesn’t want to risk slowing down Jyn.

  • Cut Bodhi first saying “Rogue?” unconvincingly to the Rebel flight dispatcher.

  • Flipped shot of stolen imperial shutting flying through hyperspace to Scarif in order to maintain left to right movement that is continued in next shot.

  • I didn’t remove the R2 and 3PO cameo in my current version, but I’m on the fence about it. I did change 3PO’s line to, “Scarif? WE’RE going to Scarif?..” to help alleviate the almost-plot hole and maintain the cameo.

  • I began the fade to white slightly earlier when Jyn and Cassian die in order to hide Cassian opening his eyes at the last second.

  • And to reiterate, removed all of the title cards. I think they are partly to blame for the jumpy feeling of the first act, overloading us with info. But I’ve considered keeping them just because their removal/cropping might feel obvious to some. Would love some thoughts on this. Might keep them to keep it different enough from DigMod’s.

Well, sorry for the long post. I’ve been sitting on these ideas for awhile and decided to see if they could work. I wanted to post a breakdown of my ideas here though just so I could get some thoughts from you all. If any of you would like to view the current version of this edit just pm me.

Any feedback/ideas that could help me with this edit would be greatly appreciated!

This post has been edited.

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For the first Act, I like your ideas which is similar to Digimod’s. Remove the title cards, very unnecessary. Also removing Bodhi’s first scene helps with the whiplash.

Thinking more about the third act, I think I do agree with your option 3 may not be seamless to rework. Maybe option 2 could work alright. There is so much you can do without deleted scenes or dialogue, so I think on the flip side … maybe less would be more.

Personally not a Bor Gullett fan, but hey, its your edit and at least you will try to reduce the CGI-ness and that losing mind line being removed could help.

Essentially I am all aboard your first 2 act ideas, some of the miscellaneous ones I am on the fence for, specifically the easter egg ideas. I do like you want to reduce things from it …which would be better than leaving them as in.

On a personal side I like Digimod’s edit … just personally wish he left the cassian first scene and the line “I’m blind” and it would be perfect to me. 😉

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Here are two clips from the edit. The first is the Yavin IV briefing room scene where they tell Jyn the plan. Now, the plan is simply to rescue the pilot and bring him to the Alliance. They’re unaware that Galen actually sent the pilot.
https://vimeo.com/243094840
password: fanedit

The second clip is the first few minutes of Jedha in the film. The first half shows the removal of K2SO’s line “That doesn’t sound so bad to me.” It isn’t a bad line, but because we are expecting a quippy line, the scene might actually play funnier if he does the unexpected and says nothing. They originally showed this scene last year at Star Wars Celebration without sound, and I think it played funnier with the audience.
The second half is Bodhi and Saw’s first scene in the film, followed by the trimmed Bor Gullet scene.
https://vimeo.com/243197525
password: fanedit

This post has been edited.

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Personally, I’d cut all of Saw and Bodhi’s scenes before Jyn and Cassian get to Saw’s group. This way you’d meet Saw with Jyn (you can take the shot of Saw’s legs walking from the scene where he meets Bodhi in the original version to give his meeting with Jyn a more “character introduction” feel) and Bodhi with Cassian. You can tone Bodhi’s post-Bor Gullet confusion down too.

Haven’t gotten a chance to watch your clips yet, but I’m a big fan of the ideas you’ve got for this edit.

(I would definitely cut Artoo and Threepio and Ponda Baba and Evazan’s cameos, though.)

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RogueLeader said:

Here are two clips from the edit. The first is the Yavin IV briefing room scene where they tell Jyn the plan. Now, the plan is simply to rescue the pilot and bring him to the Alliance. They’re unaware that Galen actually sent the pilot.
https://vimeo.com/243094840
password: fanedit

The second clip is the first few minutes of Jedha in the film. The first half shows the removal of K2SO’s line “That doesn’t sound so bad to me.” It isn’t a bad line, but because we are expecting a quippy line, the scene might actually play funnier if he does the unexpected and says nothing. They originally showed this scene last year at Star Wars Celebration without sound, and I think it played funnier with the audience.
The second half is Bodhi and Saw’s first scene in the film, followed by the trimmed Bor Gullet scene.
https://vimeo.com/243197525
password: fanedit

Two things I would add to this take out the weird squid scene and the first clip cuts way to quickly it needs to have an audio fade or a wipe transition

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Clips look pretty damn good! There’s some dead air in the “doesn’t sound so bad” line removal that should be filled with ambient environmental audio, though, and there’s some more blending needed to smooth out the audio on some of the lines in the briefing scene. Other than that, it all looks and sounds great!

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I think in this edit they know Galen is building the weapon, but they don’t know that Galen sent Bodhi.

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ChainsawAsh said:

Personally, I’d cut all of Saw and Bodhi’s scenes before Jyn and Cassian get to Saw’s group. This way you’d meet Saw with Jyn (you can take the shot of Saw’s legs walking from the scene where he meets Bodhi in the original version to give his meeting with Jyn a more “character introduction” feel) and Bodhi with Cassian. You can tone Bodhi’s post-Bor Gullet confusion down too.

(I would definitely cut Artoo and Threepio and Ponda Baba and Evazan’s cameos, though.)

That is a good idea as well. I think the scene is meant to show how Saw has sort of gone off the deep end, but I guess we still see that briefly when he speaks to Jyn. Even though I would hate to lose more screen time for Riz Ahmed and Forest Whittaker, it wouldn’t hurt to at least try it out and see how it feels without it.

And if enough people think I should remove the cameos I might. They’re easy enough to get rid of!

HerekittykittyX said:

Two things I would add to this take out the weird squid scene and the first clip cuts way to quickly it needs to have an audio fade or a wipe transition

Thanks for the input! I might take out the squid scene. I wonder if it would help if I made a before and after to help show how it differs from the original version at least. Also, I didn’t change how the first clip cuts away, that is how it is in the original, if you are referring to the briefing room scene.

ChainsawAsh said:

Clips look pretty damn good! There’s some dead air in the “doesn’t sound so bad” line removal that should be filled with ambient environmental audio, though, and there’s some more blending needed to smooth out the audio on some of the lines in the briefing scene. Other than that, it all looks and sounds great!

I listened to that part again and I didn’t hear any dead air, I have ambience running throughout. You may have misheard it or maybe I’m missing it! If you wouldn’t care to double check I would appreciate it. You should hear that locust-like sound all the way through.

Yeah I agree. I think I have smoothed out Mon Mothma’s “and return him to the Senate” a bit more than it is in the clip now. It is definitely a challenge because of how quickly they talk. Thanks for the input!

I think in this edit they know Galen is building the weapon, but they don’t know that Galen sent Bodhi.

This is correct, thank you for clarifying!

DigMod said:

Oops,looks like I read it wrong.

It was a lot to read so it was easy enough to miss!

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RogueLeader said:

I listened to that part again and I didn’t hear any dead air, I have ambience running throughout. You may have misheard it or maybe I’m missing it! If you wouldn’t care to double check I would appreciate it. You should hear that locust-like sound all the way through.

I also watched it on my phone, so it’s entirely possible that I’m dead wrong and my phone’s speaker is just shit. I’ll try and give it another listen later on.

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ChainsawAsh said:

RogueLeader said:

I listened to that part again and I didn’t hear any dead air, I have ambience running throughout. You may have misheard it or maybe I’m missing it! If you wouldn’t care to double check I would appreciate it. You should hear that locust-like sound all the way through.

I also watched it on my phone, so it’s entirely possible that I’m dead wrong and my phone’s speaker is just shit. I’ll try and give it another listen later on.

I think its your phone Ash, the ambient noise is there.

The first clip is great, really good editing and like the narrative based on your edit.

I will say I do agree with all what Chainsawash has said on his previous posts. I appreciate you want the air time for Saw, but it would be better to take out those scenes … especially the Gullett scene…

Lastly, having K2 silent with the bag is genius. I like it better this way!

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jarbear said:

I think its your phone Ash, the ambient noise is there.

The first clip is great, really good editing and like the narrative based on your edit.

I will say I do agree with all what Chainsawash has said on his previous posts. I appreciate you want the air time for Saw, but it would be better to take out those scenes … especially the Gullett scene…

Lastly, having K2 silent with the bag is genius. I like it better this way!

Thanks for the input! And I’m glad you like the K2 change!

Yeah, and it seems there’s no redemption with the Bor Gullet scene. The next cut I’ll probably remove those scenes, and if people are willing to watch the first 20-30 minutes, see how it flows.

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RogueLeader said:

jarbear said:

I think its your phone Ash, the ambient noise is there.

The first clip is great, really good editing and like the narrative based on your edit.

I will say I do agree with all what Chainsawash has said on his previous posts. I appreciate you want the air time for Saw, but it would be better to take out those scenes … especially the Gullett scene…

Lastly, having K2 silent with the bag is genius. I like it better this way!

Thanks for the input! And I’m glad you like the K2 change!

Yeah, and it seems there’s no redemption with the Bor Gullet scene. The next cut I’ll probably remove those scenes, and if people are willing to watch the first 20-30 minutes, see how it flows.

Count me in to check out the first act after cutting those scenes. If it works and you decide to go that route, this honestly might negate the need for me to do my own edit of RO when I get my new PC built around tax time! (More time for me to finally finish my Hobbit 3-in-1, I guess!)

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ChainsawAsh said:
(I would definitely cut Artoo and Threepio and Ponda Baba and Evazan’s cameos, though.)

Yep, 100% agree here. I would love this fanedit to use DigMod’s Rise of the Rebellion as a base with further cuts and changes (it overall seems to be the case, so I’m interested, especially in the removal of “oh this chick can fight !” moments and other stormtroopers getting killed with blind shots…).

“I have to say that I felt George’s group of six films had more innovative visual imagination, and this film was more of a retrenchment to things you had seen before and characters you had seen before, and it took a few baby steps forward with new characters.” - James Cameron about Episode VII.

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I would be glad to watch the first 20 - 30 minute preview man.

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