Rogue one: StAR WARS A STORY Is about to RE­DRESS that bal­ance.

You’d be for­given for think­ing that the fate of ev­ery crea­ture, war and po­lit­i­cal move­ment in a cer­tain galaxy far, far away re­volved around the sky­walker fam­ily. anakin, his kids luke and leia, and his grand­son ben have played Such piv­otal roles in ev­ery

SFX - - Rogue one a star wars story -

The first of the so-called “an­thol­ogy” movies – stand­alone sto­ries fill­ing in gaps in the Star

Wars chronol­ogy away from the Sky­walker fam­ily saga re­counted in the “Episodes” – Rogue One lit­er­ally goes back to the very be­gin­ning of the Star Wars phe­nom­e­non. Or, to be more ac­cu­rate, the se­cond para­graph of A

New Hope’s open­ing crawl:

Dur­ing the bat­tle, Rebel spies man­aged to steal se­cret plans to the Em­pire’s ul­ti­mate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an ar­mored space sta­tion with enough power to de­stroy an en­tire planet.

Rogue One tells the story of those pre­vi­ously uniden­ti­fied Rebel spies and their mis­sion – while we know what ul­ti­mately hap­pened to those fa­mous plans, we have no idea how they got there, or the fate of the peo­ple who ob­tained them.

“Nor­mally you have a re­ally good set-up and be­gin­ning to a film, and the big chal­lenge is how to end it,” says Gareth Ed­wards, the

Mon­sters and Godzilla di­rec­tor tak­ing the helm for Rogue One. “Usu­ally that’s the thing they’re brain­storm­ing a mil­lion times. On this one we kind of knew where we were head­ing, but it’s more about how we be­gin that jour­ney. It was the po­lar op­po­site prob­lem of what you usu­ally have, and it felt like a bet­ter prob­lem to have be­cause I feel like films as you watch them should get stronger and cli­max at the end. So to sort of be con­fi­dent in where we were go­ing and know that there was this build-up that was go­ing to hope­fully be the re­ward of the film, it felt like a re­ally good start­ing point.

“But just stick­ing Star Wars on a poster doesn’t make it a Star Wars film,” he adds. “We were try­ing to get that mag­i­cal com­bi­na­tion that we all grew up with – that mix­ture of epic can­vas but with a sort of emo­tional core at the heart about a small group of peo­ple who are some­times con­nected by fam­ily. It just felt very Shake­spearean. It was what Ge­orge Lu­cas was bor­row­ing from when he did the orig­i­nals.”


With the Sky­walker in­volve­ment lim­ited (we think) to a sup­port­ing role for Darth Vader (there was no way Lu­cas­film was go­ing to let the Sith Lord sit this one out), Rogue One fea­tures an all-new team of Rebel he­roes – char­ac­ters who, cru­cially, don’t have lightsabers and the Force to fall back on. They’re led by Jyn Erso (Felic­ity Jones), a wild child who’s been liv­ing on her own since she was 15, and whose fa­ther Galen (Mads Mikkelsen) may just hold the key to the Death Star’s pow­ers – yet more daddy is­sues in the Star Wars se­ries...

Don’t be too proud of this tech­no­log­i­cal ter­ror you’ve con­structed. The abil­ity to de­stroy a planet is in­signif­i­cant next to the power of the Force,” de­clared Darth Vader, to a pig­headed Ad­mi­ral Motti af­ter he gloated about the un­de­feat­able power of their new bat­tle sta­tion in A New Hope.

Al­though the warn­ings of the Dark Lord did ul­ti­mately ring true and de­spite sev­eral sub­se­quent an­ni­hi­la­tions, the em­pire’s in­tim­i­dat­ingly de­signed moon-shaped base con­tin­ues – as will be re­in­forced in up­com­ing pre­quel Rogue One – to be a loom­ing threat in the Star Wars uni­verse. This iconic sym­bol of mass de­struc­tion has, in var­i­ous guises and stages of con­struc­tion, made ap­pear­ances in all but two movies to date, an un­stop­pable force to be reck­oned with.

“The sets were re­ally kind of sim­ple but com­pli­cated and thus be­liev­able,” says os­car-win­ning set dec­o­ra­tor Roger Chris­tian, who worked on the orig­i­nal in­te­ri­ors of the Death Star at el­stree Stu­dios. “It looked like a func­tion­ing Death Star. [Pro­duc­tion de­signer] John Barry wanted it darker so that it was al­most black – to ex­press that kind of evil look. It was just per­fect in its sim­plic­ity: in a way like Al­bert Speers’s ar­chi­tec­ture de­sign in ger­many, which was sim­ple but very com­pelling when you looked at it. That was kind of an in­spi­ra­tion,” he says, re­fer­ring to the im­pos­ing de­sign work of Hitler’s in­fa­mous chief ar­chi­tect.

In con­trast to the lived-in look of the Mil­len­nium Fal­con, which Chris­tian con­structed us­ing aero­plane scrap parts, the Death Star had a dif­fer­ent ap­proach and aes­thetic. “It wasn’t like the used, old Ta­tooine world or the Fal­con world, it was a much more en­gi­neered and pre­cise world. We had to find any­thing that could be much newer look­ing; more like [what was ac­com­plished] in Stan­ley Kubrick’s 2001.” The set dec­o­ra­tor-turned-film­maker (Black An­gel, Nostradamus) has fond mem­o­ries of work­ing with pro­duc­tion de­signer John Barry. “His tal­ent was to un­der­stand what vis­ually would ex­press a char­ac­ter’s at­ti­tude. It was a huge set and ex­pen­sive so we used this spe­cial back-form­ing ma­chine and John found that he could back form plas­tic pan­els and stick those up so it had a kind of uni­for­mity.”

The Death Star’s trash com­pactor set proved to be an­other chal­lenge for Chris­tian. “We built the pit and filled it with water and then I re­alised we were go­ing to have the ac­tors in there [laughs]! So I couldn’t put all the heavy scrap that looked re­ally good in there as they would’ve got hurt and it would’ve sunk be­cause it was too heavy,” he re­veals. “In the end I got the plas­terer’s shop to make them into poly­styrene. The prob­lem was when­ever poly­styrene breaks you see the white, so we also had to in­ject it so it wouldn’t spoil the shot.”

With Rogue One hing­ing on the re­cov­ery of the plans to the bat­tle sta­tion, all eyes will be on how suc­cess­ful gareth ed­wards and his cre­ative team have been in repli­cat­ing the now iconic 40 year old de­sign.

“So far, with what JJ Abrams achieved in The Force Awak­ens, they’ve been very rev­er­ent [to the orig­i­nals] so it will cer­tainly be in­ter­est­ing to see,” en­thuses Chris­tian. “When I was on the set of the orig­i­nal it was just awe­some and when you see it on film it’s be­liev­able. To me that’s why the de­sign en­dures: it doesn’t look like a science fic­tion set.”

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