Solo: A Star Wars Story was the first Star Wars movie to have someone else jump in at the last minute to make major changes to the production. The honor of being the first of the new Star Wars projects to get an overhaul goes to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Tony Gilroy was famously brought in to do some major changes but everyone has been pretty mum on how much was changed. Ben Mendelsohn has said "an enormously different" version of the film exists but no one behind the scenes has really gotten into it. Gilroy has finally spoken publicly about the reshoots on The Moment With Brian Koppelman podcast (via The Hollywood Reporter).
"If you look at Rogue, all the difficulty with Rogue, all the confusion of it … and all the mess, and in the end when you get in there, it's actually very, very simple to solve," Gilroy said of the film. "Because you sort of go, 'This is a movie where, folks, just look. Everyone is going to die.' So it's a movie about sacrifice."
The third act is where a majority of the changes happened. That was obvious by anyone who watched any of the early trailers but it sounds like Gilroy was the one who stepped in and decided that everyone needed to die.
"I came in after the director's cut. I have a screenplay credit in the arbitration that was easily won," said Gilroy.
A screenplay credit is given when a writer contributes a certain percentage to the script and if Gilroy was responsible for most of the third act that would make sense. Gilroy, unlike other directors in the Star Wars universe, had no interest in the series going in so he had no "reverence" for it.
"I've never been interested in Star Wars, ever. So I had no reverence for it whatsoever. I was unafraid about that," said Gilroy. "And they were in such a swamp … they were in so much terrible, terrible trouble that all you could do was improve their position."
Gilroy makes it sound like the movie was in a really bad state when he came in and with some retooling he was able to make it work. That doesn't mean he's willing to come back and do another one though.
"It doesn't appeal to me," he said. "But I don't think Rogue really is a Star Wars movie in many ways. To me, it's a Battle of Britain movie."
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story garnered mostly positive reviews and made $1,056,057,273 at the worldwide box office. One of the things that people have praised is the third act so it sounds like Lucasfilm was right to bring Gilroy in. As for all of that unused footage it's still up in the air as to whether or not we'll ever see it. If Lucasfilm does release it some fan will piece it together to make the original cut because of course they would. So it's unlikely we'll see the footage but we may hear what that director's cut was someday.