The first Rogue One trailer ended with a very memorable shot of Jyn Erso walking down a hallway and turning around just as the lights went on around her. You see it above. Obviously, it’s not in the movie, and that’s because it was never supposed to be.
Speaking at a Director’s Guild screening of the film, captured on the podcast “The Director’s Cut,” director Gareth Edwards explained the shot was filmed seemingly at random. Every day they’d do “Indie Hour,” where for an hour, they just shot random stuff for no reason, just to see what would happen.
It was just a way for the crew of understanding, for now, we’re just going to do loads of random shit. Don’t try to ask, we can’t explain. It would just be things I thought were a beautiful moment or ‘This is a great idea’ and a lot of the stuff in the trailer ended up through that process.
Such as the shot of Jyn turning in the tunnel, which Edwards explained:
We finished a shot and [Felicity Jones] was just walking to the next shot, which was at the end of the tunnel. And as she walked, someone switched the lights on and the way they turned on they went *clickclickclick* like this. Someone called her, and she just turned around a little bit and I was like, “Oh my god that looked great.” And I was like “Stop stop stop!” and everyone stopped. “This will take 10 seconds, just roll camera”....Then obviously 10 seconds turned into a half hour, and we probably did 17 takes. So that ended and there’s that feeling of, “Well what was that for?” And I was like, “I don’t know, that just felt good.”
From there Edwards says he forgot about it. Until marketing was looking at dailies to pull shots for a trailer, and picked that one. He was glad to see it, even though he knew it wasn’t the movie.
He said there was a similar story with this shot of Ben Mendelsohn. It was filmed after another scene. The actor was done, but Edwards simply didn’t call cut, and just filmed him. “He had a very good vibe about him,” Edwards said.
Edwards admitted that this method of filmmaking wasn’t exactly easy. It made editing very difficult because they had too much footage. “It’s like running around the supermarket,” he said. “You’re just grabbing everything. People say ‘What are you going to cook?’ and you go, ‘I don’t know. The shop closes in 10 minutes and we’re not coming back in, grab everything.’”
This explains why so much, especially of that first teaser, isn’t in the movie.
Listen to the full discussion, which is with Han Solo co-director Chris Miller, above. The above quotes come in around 18:30.
Correction: A few minor changes were made for clarity after this story was first published.