After months of hype (and years of speculation prior to that), Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is now just a few weeks away, and December 16th can’t come soon enough. The story of how the Rebels stole the plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon has been gradually getting more and more interest, making it look like Disney’s risky move away from traditional Skywalker films into anthology movies may just pay off.
Of course, it’s not been all plain solar-sailing. The post-production period has been by most reports a troubled one, with suggestions that Lucasfilm weren’t pleased with the film’s direction making way for lengthy reshoots and later talk of director Gareth Edwards taking a backseat in his editing room. None of this has been evidenced in the plentiful trailers and TV spots though, which all seem very on message, but the real proof will be in the finished film. And it seems that, whatever’s happened behind the scenes, it’s all done now.
Todd Vaziri, ILM’s lead visual effects artist on the film has just tweeted out a rather humorous “It’s a wrap” Admiral Ackbar meme that announces the end of post-production on the film. Vaziri also worked as lead artist on The Force Awakens (and Tomorrowland, but let’s not hold it against him).
It may seem strange that the film is being finalised so close to release, but this actually puts Rogue One pretty on schedule compared to what’s expected of most tentpole releases – while smaller films are finished sometimes years in advance and have hype built from film festivals and critic screenings, wannabe blockbusters have release dates set early in production and a very strict timeline to stick to. In fact, many films are finished much closer to the line, with work happening in some form almost up to release; Sam Mendes didn’t finish Spectre until the Sunday before the film’s Tuesday press screening.
Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean there won’t be some tweaks with sound, music or editing before the full product is signed off on by the studio, but the finalisation of the visuals is still exciting and another step closer to audiences finally seeing the movie. That’s especially true given that those visuals have been a major point of praise for what we’ve seen so far, with Edwards bringing that same mastery of scale and composition that made Godzilla such a good-looking blockbuster to the galaxy far, far away; pretty much every shot of the Death Star has been jaw-dropping. Here’s hoping there’s some more stunners yet to be revealed.