While the “Star Wars” film franchise is powering forward later this year with the release of J.J. Abrams’ “Episode IX,” the tumultuous production on “Rogue One” remains a talking point among fans. The “Cult Popture” podcast sat down with “Rogue One” co-writer Chris Weitz earlier this year to discuss how the original film script differed from the theatrical cut. Weitz’s script was rewritten by Tony Gilroy when the film was being overhauled by Lucasfilm.
“If you can imagine the beginning of the second act and the end of the second act swapping places, that would not be an inaccurate way to portray how it structurally was changed,” Weitz said of the main difference between his script and Gilroy’s theatrical cut. “The Darth Vader kicking ass I cannot take credit for. That was a later invention. That was different…A lot of the deaths were put in different locations when they were shot. I’m not sure why K-2 died in a different place, for instance.”
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One of the most drastic changes was the reveal of the Death Star. The “Rogue One” theatrical release makes it clear from the start the film is about the Rebellion bringing a group together to steal the Darth Star plans. Weitz said his original script did not disclose the plans were for the Death Star and instead created a mystery around the superweapon that would revealed much later in the film.
Weitz harbors no hard feelings about the changes Gilroy made to the script. “I feel great about the final cut,” the screenwriter said. “I really liked the movie…I had no idea what it was going to look like until I sat down at the premiere. It was like watching a movie I had written and a new movie at the same time. I really, really liked it.”
Since the release of “Rogue One,” Weitz has gone on to write and direct “Operation Finale.” Listen to his full appearance on the “Cult Popture” podcast.