Rogue One spoilers below.
There are few documents more pored over than trailers for tentpole geek movies. YouTube is littered with astoundingly long videos and fastidious blog posts (including some by your very own Vulture) breaking down every single frame of the promotional clips for superhero flicks, Harry Potter installments, and, of course, Star Wars films. The latest of the latter, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, was no exception, which makes it all the more odd that the finished product strayed pretty far from its trailer content. There’s a surprising number of shots and lines that didn’t make it into the final cut — many of which were pretty rad! Here’s a breakdown of the ones we noticed the absence of, in our best attempt at chronological order. (This post has been updated to include more shots that didn’t make it in, with a hat tip to ScreenCrush.)
The very first Rogue One footage that anyone in the general public saw was a pair of shots in the teaser trailer depicting Felicity Jones’s Jyn Erso being walked through Rebel Alliance headquarters on Yavin IV in space-handcuffs. But savor that cherished memory, because the movie only shows what happens after she’s done being escorted and un-cuffed. Accordingly, they also cut the line where her questioner asks if she can be trusted without her shackles.
There was a little bit of action-hero one-liner-ing in the early footage, as well, when Jyn spat back at Mon, “This is a rebellion, isn’t it? I rebel.” Such tough-gal talk was abandoned in the end.
Once the questioning starts, that guy is joined by Rebel commander Mon Mothma, who also wants to have words with our heroine. “Our Rebellion is all that remains to push back the Empire,” she intones, laying out the direness of the situation. Apparently, the powers that be felt that we were already pretty clear about how badly the war is going, because that line is gone. So, too, is Mothma’s statement that a “major weapons test” is “imminent,” which could have been a line from later in the film’s chronology, though we’ll possibly never know.
Mon also engages in the silly action-movie trope of rattling off a protagonist’s accomplishments or demerits as an expository shortcut substituting for a backstory. In one of the trailers, Mon describes Jyn as “On your own since the age of 15, reckless, aggressive, undisciplined.” She also shot a man on Boz Pity, just to watch him die.
Poor Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) has to speak for himself when it comes to his qualifications. In a trailer, he tells Jyn, “I’ve been recruiting for the Rebellion for a long time.” We don’t hear that in the finished movie, possibly because it makes the life of an intelligence operative sound a little too much like that of a headhunter for a consulting firm.
It’s all good
This one’s a shame. In a trailer, we see Jyn and Cassian in the cockpit of their ship as it takes off from Yavin IV and, silhouetted by a distant sun, they look at each other. “Good,” Jyn says, cracking a quarter-smile. “Good,” Cassian replies, charming as ever. And yet, ironically, the absence of the line in the final movie is Not Good.
Rogue One derives much of its comic relief from the reformed Imperial murder-droid K-2SO (voiced by Alan Tudyk). We still get a lot of solid gags from him in the finished product, but one that we lose is him telling Jyn, “The captain says you are a friend. I will not kill you.” Though the line is gone, the fact that he doesn’t kill her remains.
Working on the chain gang
There was also a shot of some X-wing pilots being paraded through Jedha in one of the trailers. It’s gone, and it’s a little unclear how it would have fit into the story line as it played out in the film.
In both the trailers and the finished product, the Jedi are decidedly absent from the narrative — a first for a Star Wars flick. However, both feature footage of a giant statue of a Jedi that has crumbled, Ozymandias-like, into the sands of Jedha. But the overhead shot in the trailers was replaced by one from the side.
One of the biggest differences between the first glimpses and the final film is a purely visual one, and it has to do with Forest Whitaker’s head. In the first teaser, his anti-Imperial terrorist character, Saw Gerrera, is bald; in the movie, he has the wildly angled curls of a graying Yahoo Serious. It’s possible that these were scenes that were supposed to take place earlier in the timeline, as well.
In a trailer, we also hear Saw lament what has happened to his beloved Galaxy. “The world is coming undone,” he says in the inexplicable accent Whitaker chose for the character. “Imperial flags reign across the Galaxy.” In the movie, we’re left to just assume things are bad without having to hear it from a grizzled old terrorist.
Saw’s fears are multitudinous and can also exist on a more personal scale. In a trailer, he asks someone (presumably Jyn), “What will you do when they catch you? What will you do if they break you? If you continue to fight, what will you become?” She gets a reprieve from this oral exam in the movie.
Never tell me the odds
Rogue One features a pile of homages to the existing Star Wars movies, one of which is K-2SO’s perpetual aping of C-3PO’s declarations about the overwhelmingly negative odds of success in a given situation. However, it appears that there was at least one estimation too many. A trailer featured the ‘bot telling the crew, “There is a 97.6 percent chance of failure,” after which Cassian tells the listeners, “He means well”; the finished film just has a bajillion bits of dialogue about the odds, as opposed to a bajillion and one.
We first meet Jiang Wen’s middle-aged gunman Baze Malbus on the desert world of Jedha, where he hangs out with his friend (and, if you ask me, boyfriend) Chirrut Îmwe, played by Donnie Yen. Their home burg of Jedha City gets blown up by the Death Star midway through the story, and in a trailer, we see Baze shooting at Imperials on the rainy planet of Eadu while yelling, “You destroyed our home!” The finished movie deletes the line, presuming that we remember what happened literally like 15 minutes earlier.
One of the sleekest images of the Rogue One promotional campaign — and the one chosen as the kicker for the first teaser — showed Jyn in an Imperial Deathtrooper’s uniform (sans helmet) during the heist sequence that acts as the climax. She gazes slightly upward of the camera while standing in a tube-shaped corridor resembling those traversed by Luke Skywalker on his journey to fight Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back. Though Jyn’s high-risk theft still occurs and she still dons the trooper’s duds, that particular shot is sadly absent.
Speaking of that venerable Dark Lord of the Sith: The first image of Vader that we got in the run-up to Rogue One depicted him looking at what appears to be the giant view-screen of the Death Star as it prepares to fire, as well as another one that’s likely from the same scene. Vader doesn’t visit the big ol’ weapon in the movie.
Krennic is not amused
Similarly, we saw Ben Mendelsohn’s Imperial bastard Orson Krennic standing near the view-screen while holding a surprisingly large gun near his crotch in the first teaser. That shot is no more.
He’s got the power
Even worse, we lost the bit where Orson goes full ham and writhes his fist while telling Vader about the “pow-ah” of the Death Star. However, that’s not the biggest Orson-related crime. That title goes to …
… the deletion of his puddle scene! That teaser also featured the white-garbed gent traversing a very large puddle littered with dead Stormtroopers on Scarif, his cape dragging along in the dirty water. Similarly, we didn’t get a live version of the promotional photo in which some still-alive Stormtroopers walk through a larger body of water on that tropical world.
One of the biggest changes signals a drastic revision in the way the final act played out. In the first teaser, we see Jyn and Cassian running in front of Imperial AT-ACTs on Scarif — but in the finished film, they spend that battle indoors or high above the ground, thus preventing them from obtaining sick tans.
Run, Jyn, run
Along those lines, we also had shots of Jyn and Cassian dashing through the Scarif base in their civilian clothes, not their Imperial disguises. Man, the original version of this ending really was overhauled, wasn’t it?
Rogue One saves the worst for last when it comes to deletions. Jyn makes her last stand on a vertiginous tower and, in one of the trailers, we see her face down a quite-large Imperial TIE Fighter that elevates itself to eye level. That sweet image is wholly absent; indeed, it’s sort of unclear how it would even fit with the way the climax ended up playing out. Mayhap it was a victim of Tony Gilroy’s much-discussed reshoots? Bye, TIE.