Rogue One was a hit by every definition of the word, yet there’s a mystery that still surrounds it in regards to cut footage. It’s widely known that the film underwent reshoots, and as such, footage was lost. Yet, a lot of that footage was used in trailers to build up hype for the film. Which confused the audience when it didn’t appear in the main film.
Director Gareth Edwards spoke at SXSW about this, and detailed what the biggest changes were, and why they happened
“I think the main thing that changed at the end…what used to happen, and you can get a sense of this in the early trailers, the transmission tower for the plans was separate from the main base on Scarif. To transmit the plans, they had to escape and run along the beach and go up the tower,” Edwards explained. “In cutting the film, it just felt too long. We had to find ways to compress the third act, which was quite long as it was. And one real, fast, brutal solution was to put the tower in the base, so they don’t have to run across the beach and do all of that stuff to get there. That became a decision that eliminated the shots you see in the trailer of the back of Cassian and Jyn and the AT-ATs. That was some of the reinvention that happened. It was all to do with compression.”