When Rogue One hits theatres in December, Gareth Edwards has a tall order: Make a movie that fits in with the events of A New Hope and is undeniably Star Wars, but is still new and tells its own story. But Edwards knows in order to do the former you have to focus on the latter first.
“I got pulled into making the film through my love of the original films,” Edwards said. “But then what was a clear conversation that happened early on at Lucasfilm that we’re doing new things here. This is not a karaoke number or just pure winks and fan service. That’s not going to make a good film. This has got to be characters that you care about and there’s an opportunity to create new people and events that pull you in, so hopefully the goal is that you come to the film for all the reasons that we love Star Wars and you get sucked in and start to care about the new people and when you’re in the midst of all that and that’s going on, familiar things start to pass you by, you start to remember ‘Oh yeah, oh yeah’ but the film should exist on its own terms.”
Darth Vader is the perfect example of balancing new and old in Rogue One. “He’s got such a gravitational pull, the second he shows up you just get sucked into Darth Vader,” said Edwards. “So it was a process to try and figure out how to pepper that in in a way that felt right.”
But Edwards feels if he can successfully achieve this balance, he’ll be honouring the legacy of George Lucas himself.
“If all these films are ever just, ‘And here’s that character you love, Yay! Here’s that other character you love, Yay!’ all the time, that’s all they’re doing. They’re not really doing what George did, which is he tried to find stories that were about something, that were saying something. [Stories] that you keep in your pocket 40 years later, that stay in your head and are still affecting you.”