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Science-Fiction Weekly – Rogue One Rumors Debunked, And A Mass Effect Wishlist

by Andrew Reiner on Jun 07, 2016 at 10:00 AM

The Death Star's superlaser was aimed at Rogue One: A Star Wars Story last week, as a flurry of rumors suggested the Gareth Edwards-directed film wasn't living up to Disney's standards. The severity of rumors increased as new sources came forward, peaking with Disney apparently calling for 40 percent of the film to be reshot and supervised by Star Wars: The Force Awakens' director J. J. Abrams and Edge of Nowhere's writer Christopher McQuarrie. All across the 'net, people and news outlets were reporting on Rogue One being a potential disaster in the making.

Although Disney hasn't responded to the rumors (and likely never will given the company's stance on them), McQuarrie was quick to chime in and squash his supposed involvement in Rogue One's reshoots. On Twitter he wrote "Attn: bloggers. I'm reading some horses--t rumors tonight. You know where to find me. Do your jobs." He also talked to Slashfilm and said "If there are any reshoots on Rogue One, I’m not supervising them. For any outlet to say so is not only wrong, it’s irresponsible. Gareth Edwards is a talented filmmaker who deserves the benefit of the doubt. Making a film – let alone a Star Wars chapter – is hard enough without the internet trying to deliberately downgrade one’s years of hard work. Who does that even serve? Let him make his movie in peace."

The rumors started a day after actor Donnie Yen, who plays Chirrut in Rogue One, revealed in an interview with Hong Kong outlet On, that he was returning to London to shoot additional scenes for the film. This is a common thing for an actor associated with a blockbuster film to say. Reshoots and pick-up shoots are common, and it wouldn't be out of line for Rogue One to have them.

A day later, an anonymous Hollywood source told Page Six "The execs at Disney are not happy with the movie, and Rogue One will have to go back into four weeks of expensive reshoots in July.” The source also said that the movie wasn't testing well, which implied it was going through public test screenings.

Page Six updated the story with a comment from another anonymous Disney source, who said "The filmmaking team and the studio always anticipated additional shooting and second unit work to make the film the absolute best it can be, and the actors were aware there would be additional shooting. Coming off The Force Awakens, there’s an incredibly high bar for this movie and we have a responsibility to the franchise and to the fans to deliver the best possible movie we can.”

A few days later, Making Star Wars purportedly talked to a "few" Rogue One crew members that jokingly said "everything" was being redone. Along with the report that 40 percent of the film would be reshot and guided by Abrams and McQuarrie, Making Star Wars offered additional details, such as 32 sets would be constructed for the filming, and people would be working six days a week for eight weeks during this period.

The rumors were out of control, and they were being picked up everywhere, until McQuarrie put his foot down. Entertainment Weekly also did its part with a "what's true and false about the reshoots" article. EW reached out to "deeply placed sources" at Lucasfilm to report that a Rogue One reshoot is indeed happening, and will begin this month and run for four or five months. The sources revealed that these reshoots were always planned, yet were originally scheduled for spring, and were moved back to summer to give Edwards additional time to figure out what should be added or altered in the film.

“The changes have everything to do with clarity and character development and all take place [as inserts] within scenes we’ve already shot," a source told EW.

This report makes the reshoots sound like an ordinary part of the process, and that there's as much fiction in the reporting of them as there is in Rogue One's script. Who is telling the truth in all of this? We'll have to wait to see, but I wouldn't lose sleep over any of this at the moment. If one piece of a report is fabricated, it's likely the rest of it is too. I'll never understand why people make up rumors, and why they are reported on without first being confirmed by additional sources, but that's the world we live in. The Internet embraces everything, and lies can turn into the biggest stories of the day, as we saw with Rogue One.

In the less stressful world of video games, we are just one week away from Electronic Arts and BioWare showing off more of Mass Effect Andromeda at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo. I have a feeling this will be the "Full Monty" of reveals. And it better be. I don't think Mass Effect fans can stomach another cryptic tease or CG trailer that says next to nothing. Andromeda was first talked on November 12, 2012, and we really haven't heard much about it since then. That's a long drought of information, which is a bit surprising, given BioWare bombarded us details for Dragon Age: Inquisition from announce to launch.

Although we did see key talent leave BioWare recently, including director Casey Hudson, I don't think the game was ever in "development hell." Developers from the team have repeatedly said that the scale of this project is immense, which is likely the reason for the blackout on information. On Andromeda's official website, general manager Aaryn Flynn wrote "With Mass Effect: Andromeda, our team at BioWare is exploring how far they can take this beloved franchise. Yes, we’re building the best of what we all love about Mass Effect – amazing stories, characters and fun third-person shooter combat – and bringing them along with us on the expedition to Andromeda. But we’re also excited to be introducing new features and ways you can enjoy a Mass Effect game."

Flynn hammers home the point that this Mass Effect adventure is breaking new ground. Although no precise details are given, the site also says that Andromeda offers an "unprecedented level of freedom" for exploration. This small tidbit makes me think BioWare could be heading in the direction of No Man's Sky, with the Andromeda Galaxy potentially being wide open for exploration. Those moments of landing on different planets and exploring uncharted territory were exciting, but short lived. If BioWare does go in this direction, procedural generation could come into play for the planets and discoveries. This design would obviously open up exploration to deeper wells (potentially limitless), but it does put the lore into the crosshairs. The first three games offered a wealth of details for every species and planet in the charted cosmos, and going procedural would make cataloging information impossible. The alternative is probably more of the same from the first trilogy, but on a bigger scale. The image above (from last E3's trailer) hints at larger environments.

The other ambitious angle BioWare could be taking with this installment is multiplayer integration into the story campaign. Mass Effect 3's standalone cooperative mode showed us that the game can be satisfying when played with friends. Rather than having A.I.-controlled teammates at your side at all times, those spots could be filled by other players, each controlling their created character. I would love to see this happen, especially if the game does go in the procedural route. Tracking story progress would be troublesome, but I could see the cooperative play working for charting and exploring the cosmos.

These are obviously pie-in-the sky ideas, but I truly hope BioWare is trying to break new ground with this entry. That's the beauty of the trilogy format. There are no loose ends left behind from the previous entries. Moving to a new galaxy should deliver an alien sensation, and I hope that extends to the gameplay and experience just as it does the new species we encounter.

I'd love to hear what you think about Mass Effect's future in the comments below. One thing is for sure: E3 can't come soon enough. We need those details.

And I'm going to close out this Science-Ficiton Weekly column with an odd Golden Grok reward. I'm giving it to Dangerous Golf. Yes, I know it's just golf, but it utilizes exploding balls that are controlled with the mind. That's sounds like science fiction to me. If you're a fan of Burnout's "Crash" modes, you should definitely check this game out. Granted, watching a golf ball destroy museum artifacts isn't as exciting or jaw-dropping as a truck blowing up a gas station, but there's plenty of destructive fun in Dangerous Golf. It's a nice palate cleanser of a game, and a fun "pass the sticks" experience if you have friends over.

Next week's Science-Fiction Weekly will dive deeply into the forthcoming Mass Effect: Andromeda news. Cross your fingers and hope for the best, people! See you in seven days!