10 Films That Influenced ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’

The upcoming “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” has been called everything from a war movie to a heist film, or a men on a mission picture, but director Gareth Edwards said “Star Wars” films shouldn’t be so easily categorized.

“Everyone was trying to figure out what genre it was,” Edwards told The Playlist in an exclusive interview this weekend during the “Rogue One” junket at Lucasfilm in San Francisco. “I’ve always believed myself that ‘Star Wars’ is not one thing. It’s a mixture of elements combined and if you have it as just one thing it’s not going to work.”

During our brief but engaging interview, Gareth gave us a run down of some of the films that influenced “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” and that might be a worth a watch before the film opens on December 16th. Commentary where applicable.

Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now”
Greig Fraser, the [director of photography], would say that he stopped watching films and he only ever wanted to watch films that he considered to be visual masterpieces and so that his palette — the bar was really high,” Edwards told us.

Kathryn Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty”
“Our cinematographer Greig worked on ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ so that seeped in,” Edwards explained. In the 30 minute preview of “Rogue One” footage that was screened over the weekend, that was evident. Rebels enter an occupied war zone not unlike an embedded camp in Iraq and one defecting agent trying to share intelligence is hood-bagged before he’s brought to the Rebel camp. You almost expect a waterboarding scene to be shown after that.

Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner”
“ ‘Blade Runner’ was a useful tool as well because of the interiors,” he said. “We’re all very familiar with the original ‘Star Wars’ movies, but when you’re going to branch out and try and do something different without copying ‘Star Wars,’ there are very few films that got it right, in terms of visually looking really good and haven’t dated, but were from that early ‘80s time. And ‘Blade Runner’ really stood the test of time and I love the design in it. So it was really good for ways of doing interior rooms and ships.

Ridley Scott’s “Alien”
“ ‘Alien,’ that planet was good reference for this environment in the film.”

Who doesn’t love “Alien”?

Steven Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan”
“Obviously, it goes without saying that ‘Saving Private Ryan’ was an influence. [Steven] Spielberg from a directing point of view is my hero who I grew up with and ‘Saving Private Ryan’ is a phenomenal piece of work, and so yes, there’s a fair bit of [its influence] in the film. It’s a mixture of stuff and these movies are all my kind of heroes,” Edwards said.