This week, legendary screenwriter/director Chris McQuarrie denied any suggestion he had been overseeing reshoots to the allegedly troubled Star Wars prequel Rogue One, which are currently underway.
After word of the reshoots become public, speculation was rife that the blockbuster film – due for release later this year – was in serious trouble.
And while various blogs had got part of the story right (reshoots happened, the studio was unhappy with the tone, there are secret cameos), they got an awful lot of it wrong (McQuarrie’s involvement, suggestions that the movie was being retitled ‘Rouge One’ and the reshoots were to give Ben Mendelsohn more blush).
Now, for the first time, The Spoilist is able to reveal the truth. Thanks to a message hidden in the crevasse of a Roomba, and written by a highly placed studio source, we are the only movie site that knows why Rogue One reshoots are happening, who’s behind them, and what they hope to achieve.
“It’s true, there was a McQuarrie involved, but it wasn’t Chris,” our source (who insisted on being called “Dr M”) told us.
“The fact is, the person who was overseeing the reshoots didn’t want their identity known. It was kept secret to all but those who needed to know – and in this case, three people needed to know… me, JJ (Abrams) and Kathleen (initially, we weren’t sure who Kathleen was, but after extensive investigations, The Spoilist is confidently able to reveal that Kathleen Turner – who had worked with Lawrence ‘The Force Awakens’ Kasdan on Body Heat – was trusted with this highly confidential information).
“So our new director chose a pseudonym: Ralph McQuarrie (the artist who had worked on the original Star Wars trilogy).
“I’m guessing whoever spoke to the other blogs just heard ‘McQuarrie’ and missed the Ralph… and then made what I’d laughingly call an educated guess.”
Our source then went on to reveal the shocking truth behind “Ralph McQuarrie’s” real identity.
“The blogs got it right when they said the studio was unhappy with the tone. We were. Kathleen (Turner) especially was disappointed with the dailies coming in from Gareth (this is either a reference to Rogue One director Gareth Edwards, or The Raid director Gareth Evans, who has a connection to The Force Awakens thanks to the appearance of The Raid’s Iko Uwais).
“Gareth (Edwards, or Evans, or possibly a derogatory nickname for someone based on The Office character played by Mackenzie Crook) had done a tremendous job. Rogue One was full of adventure, wonder and joy. It felt like one of the original Star Wars trilogy,” Dr M explained.
“The problem was, that wasn’t what we were after.
“‘Rogue One’ for all intents and purposes is a Star Wars prequel. And this felt nothing like a Star Wars prequel. It was a rollicking good movie.
“So there was only one person we could turn to to give us the prequel feeling we were after.”
And turn to one person they did. The person who delivered the Star Wars trilogies before turning the back on the very universe he had created… Ralph McQuarrie was none other than George Lucas.
“We were desperate, and we couldn’t think of anyone else who could give us a movie that felt like a Star Wars prequel,” Dr M exclusively told The Spoilist.
“We needed dull, lifeless plot points… political intrigue that was neither political nor intriguing. We needed wafer thin characters and we needed scenes that were supposed to be poignant that could be horribly misinterpreted… like that bit in Clones where Hayden Christensen looked like he was masturbating, when he was really supposed to be having a horrific nightmare.
“And the fact was, George was the only one who could give us that.”
But Lucas – having made such a significant effort to distance himself from the Star Wars universe – wanted his involvement hidden.
“George was worried his involvement may hurt the Star Wars brand… so he begged us to keep it secret,” Dr M told The Spoilist, and no-one else. That’s right. Only The Spoilist. The blog you’re reading now. Not any of the other blogs that are running Rogue One stories. Just us.
‘So when he went on set for the reshoots, he wore a paper bag over his head. He told everyone he was Ralph McQuarrie – which didn’t really make sense to us since Ralph was dead… but, let’s face it, it’s George. Who’s going to argue with George?
“In fact, the only reason I’m coming out now is to protect the reputation of Chris (McQuarrie, or possibly Evans or Pratt who have ties to Disney thanks to the MCU, or Pine, who has links to JJ [Abrams]), who really does not deserve to be tarnished by these scurrilous rumours.”
Lucas’ grip on Rogue One turned out to be strong. So strong, in fact, that Disney was prepared to bow to his whims – even when it cost them hundreds of millions of dollars more than originally budgeted.
“George felt Rogue One felt even less prequel-ish than Kathleen (Turner) did.
“So he demanded we get prequel cast members back to film cameos.”
And thus, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen were all summoned to Pinewood to film new scenes – McGregor reprising his role as Obi Wan, Christensen returning as Anakin Skywalker (now Darth Vader) and Portman taking on the role of her on-screen daughter Leia Organa.
“But there was clearly an issue. Rogue One is supposed to lead directly into A New Hope and neither Ewan (McGregor) nor Natalie (Portman, or potentially Zea… of Justified fame) even vaguely resembled their characters, given they were about to be played by Alec Guinness and Carrie Fisher.
“We lucked out with Hayden (Christensen. Possibly Panettiere, although this is doubtful), to some extent, since he’d be dressed as Vader.
“But for the other two, we couldn’t let them appear without heavy work.
“So we covered them up completely in mo-cap suits, so that we could CGI an appearance that more closely resembled old Alec Guinness and young Carrie Fisher.”
Voices, it turned out, were also an issue.
“They didn’t sound right,” Dr M explained exclusively to The Spoilist, in an interview giving this site more credibility since none of the other sites had this unique insight into the reshoots that took place for Rogue One.
“Natalie (Portman. Possibly Zea. Maybe Wood? Or is she dead?) sounded nothing like Carrie (Fisher. Or possibly a derogatory nickname based on Sissy Spacek’s character in the Brian De Palma film ‘Carrie’), and Ewan (McGregor. IMDB had no other options for Ewan) couldn’’t sound anywhere near as haggard as Alec, even though he chain-smoked three packs of Marlboros a day.
“So, we had to bring Carrie (Fisher or De Palma) in – at great expense – to ADR all of Natalie’s (Portman, Zea or Wood) lines, and hire that wonderful British mimic, Rob Brydon, in to retouch Ewan’s lines.
“Unfortunately, Rob (Brydon) was busy shooting the third series of The Trip. So we had to not only pay a vastly inflated salary, but also pay his airfares to get to and from London to record his lines.”
The impact on the budget, Dr M told The Spoilist and only The Spoilist, made Rogue One a tremendous gamble for the studio.
“Gareth (Edwards, Evans or the bloke from ‘The Office’) was frugal to the point of being miserly.
“Now, thanks to George (Lucas), we’re facing a budget so huge that it makes Batman v Superman look like a low budget indie.
“I may need to do another Indiana Jones movie, just to get out of debt here.”
So there you have it. The full truth behind the Rogue One reshoots. Thanks to The Spoilist. And our highly placed source, Dr M.
Keep coming back to The Spoilist… the source of all your Rogue One gossip, plus much more. Only here. At The Spoilist.