Don’t hold back on the extras: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Blu Ray, DVD and Digital download release.
Lucasfilm invited The Unheard Nerd to one of the smartest screening rooms we’ve ever seen in London’s Soho House for an exclusive preview of the Blu Ray release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Leather armchairs and footstools, with individual tables – thank you very much – but we didn’t need to be distracted by the surroundings, as the film and its extras were entertainment enough.
The first of the Star Wars standalone films, Rogue One is an epic action-adventure movie, with a darker feel than previous offerings, telling the story of how the rebel alliance got hold of the all-important plans to the Death-Star that frame Part IV: A New Hope. Directed by Gareth Edwards, it has the feel of a war film, with old faces mixing with new characters and action taking place throughout the galaxy.
The film itself introduces some great new characters, including Jyn Erso, a strong female lead played by Felicity Jones who heads up the group of rebels. With deliberately diverse casting, Cassian, the spy, played by Diego Luna is the first actor of Mexican-origin to front a Star Wars movie and Baze and Chirrut are played by Chinese movie superstars, Jiang Wen and Donnie Yen.
The Blu Ray and digital download versions offer some fantastic additions to the movie itself, which tell the stories behind the making of the movie. The first thing that strikes you is the epic scale of the production, although we see only a few key players you get a real sense of how enormous the production was, with attention paid to every little detail.
We hear how the origins of the movie came from John Knoll, a special-effects lead at Industrial Light and Magic, who pitched the idea to the producers and the rest is Rogue One. There are interviews with the central cast members reflecting on their characters and being part of this amazing franchise.
A particular highlight is the interview with Alan Tudyk, who plays everyone’s favourite robot with attitude, K-2SO. You can see how Tudyk’s own sense of humour brought K-2SO to life. He reveals the decisions about some of his choices behind the accent and the way K-2SO moves, as well as the indignity of spending much of the shoot either on stilts or wearing a backpack with a robot’s head on sticks to help get the eye lines right.
Director, Gareth Edwards talks about his connection with the Star Wars world. A fan himself, Edwards told the producers he’d ‘wanted to join the rebel alliance’ when he watched the original Star Wars trilogy. He reflects on the tough job of remaining faithful to the original trilogy while trying to create something fresh. And how to most effectively use the best-known villain in the Galaxy without having Darth Vader take over the film.
You can see the respect with which the original movies are treated. Edwards and his art department went back to the original designs and drawings to create the world of Rogue One. This focus goes from small to enormous, with the construction of life-size sets where much of the filming took place. There’s also a detailed examination of how they reconstructed some of the famous characters from A New Hope, to bring them to life again in Rogue One.
Finally, we get to find out about many of the Easter eggs hidden throughout Rogue One. One thing that struck me was how many extras they must have saved on, as half the production team seemed to make their way on to the screen at one time or another.
It provides a fascinating insight into the connections that run right through this movie to the rest of the Star Wars universe, providing something for both fans and superfans.
Lucasfilm’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is released in the UK on Blu Ray, DVD (without bonus content) and for digital download on 10th April 2017.