In an interview with Fandango yesterday, Rogue One director Gareth Edwards addressed why there would be no deleted scenes from the Star Wars spinoff included on the upcoming home video release: because the bits and pieces of footage simply didn’t constitute enough of a worthwhile scene to include.
"There's not an individual scene that you can drag and drop and put on a Blu-ray, there are little things that would come and go during the process of postproduction, but they're not scenes,” said Edwards. “They're more moments within the scenes or a single shot. So it's impossible to be able to do that, and that's why the decision was made."
It’s an interesting decision, given that Rogue One is a film that famously went through an extensive cycle of reshoots and restructuring over the filming and editing process. And while we’ll never truly know exactly what was or wasn’t left on the cutting room floor, fans have already picked apart the trailers and determined that some critical scenes were completely changed in the final film. One trailer features a version of the final Scarif battle when Jyn and the rest of the crew run across a beach carrying the stolen plans under heavy Imperial fire. Another iconic shot that never made the cut saw Jyn facing off against a Tie Fighter with only a single blaster at the top of the transmission tower.
The commercial and critical success of Peter Jackson’s extended Lord of the Rings box sets or the endless search for the perfect Blade Runner cut speaks to the demand from fans to see the behind-the-scenes process of how their favorite films came to life. And it’s not like there’s no precedent: The Force Awakens had a few deleted scenes included when it made its way to disc. We know that Disney was willing to put in the time and money to essentially redo whole chunks of the film, so what better way to get a few extra Blu-ray sales than by offering a compilation of those earlier alternate takes that didn’t make the final cut? Or even just a version that included the iconic title crawl?
Lucasfilm has infamously released numerous editions of the original Star Wars trilogy: it could be that there are plans for a separate release somewhere down the line to double the payments. But it’s also possible that after the tumultuous production of Rogue One, Lucasfilm just wants the focus to be on the final version of the film, instead of the presumably weaker version that it originally had. Or maybe Edwards is completely on the level, and the scraps of footage that didn’t make the cut were too short, or so completely different from the final product that they wouldn’t make sense in the story we do have.
Still, if there’s anything the past history of the Star Wars franchise can teach us, it’s that the future is always in motion. And who knows? Maybe one day we’ll be gathering around, regretting a CGI-overhauled Rogue One special edition and demanding that someone release a proper, unedited cut.