|Originally posted by SYSTEM-J |
I'm aware of all the re-shoot blather, but from what I've read it's the film's ending that wasn't coming together very well, and that ultimately turned out to be the strongest act.
With that said, I can definitely believe there was more material from the opening scenes that was cut out, as these scenes really aren't edited very well and the pacing is a bit off. The film finds its rhythm once they set off on their mission and touch down on the planet of Jehda. I think the problem is that there's a lot of characters and plot devices that need putting in their place, in a story that takes place on numerous different planets, in order to get the ball rolling.
I suspect some slightly tidier writing in the script could have got some of this information across better. Did we really need to cut to Jedha to see Riz Ahmed's character being manhandled about, for example? While his character has his own little arc which can be considered thematically relevant, it's fairly lightweight in the overall picture and I would have pared him right down so he's introduced to the audience at the same time as he is to the protagonists. It's one of those instances where as a writer you sometimes have to sacrifice some of your message for the sake of smoother storytelling.
I think you're right but the problem with storytelling on this scale is that once you start messing with one art, it affects the story as a whole and changes the weight of other scenes.
I will say that ANH and ROTJ do jump around quite a bit as well; the are characters in ANH that get less than 2 seconds of screen time and seem to serve no other purpose than create the alien plethora and atmosphere.
I do think timing played a part - Disney were adamant about the release date but as studio they're probably one of the most anal about details so there's definitely compromises that were made that they usually wouldn't have allowed.
An example is a Friend of mine over here that had to direct a medium budget disney project.
They made him story board every single scene (by the second) just to get the gig. In one part, there's a 5 second scene in a room and one of the walls had a floral-ish looking wallpaper. One of the execs asked what wallpaper it was. He explained roughly and they said they'd need to see it. He quickly sketched it out, and they said, no, we need to see it. He had to order the wallpaper from the UK and put it on a sheet of drywall so they could actually see it. For one 5 second scene as a background wall covering He got the gig and said in all his career he's never seen a studio so involved in detail and every single decision is documented, nothing left to artistic free reign that isn't observed and approved.
Check this shit out - and bear in mind this is from 1943:
The fact that Rogue one isn't perfectly formed leads me to believe they just couldn't miss the Christmas release window and were willing to let some things slide.