Explore the filmography of the Rogue One helmer with our Gareth Edwards movies spotlight
Gareth Edwards was entrusted with a sacred task in directing Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the first stand-alone Star Wars film that serves as a direct prequel to A New Hope, following Rebel spies who are on a mission to steal the plans for the Empire’s newest weapon: the Death Star.
Edwards was born in Warwickshire, in central England. Star Wars: A New Hope was the film that inspired him to be a director. Originally he wanted to join the Rebel Alliance and blow up the Death Star, but when he learned that it was a “big lie” called “A Film,” he went with his second choice: to become a filmmaker.
“I could not be more excited & honored to go on this mission with Lucasfilm,” Edwards said in a statement.
Edwards is relatively new to directing. His background is in visual effects, which certainly didn’t hurt, given that the Star Wars movies are designed to be effects-heavy. In honor of Rogue One‘s box office success, we’re taking a look back at some key Gareth Edwards movies, shorts and television projects.
Seven Wonders of the Industrial World (2003)
Seven Wonders was Edwards’ first credited project. He did visual effects on the seven-part BBC docudrama that explored seven engineering feats that took place during the Industrial Revolution.
Space Race (2005)
Another one of Edwards’ early digital effects projects, this BBC2 docudrama chronicled major people and events in the United States / Russia “space race,” culminating with the US landing on the moon.
End Day (2005)
Edwards then directed this made-for-TV docudrama, which investigates various scenarios that would cause the end of the world. A mega-tsunami, killer asteroid, global pandemic, supervolcano, and “strange matter” (an experiment gone horribly awry) are all shown as possible extinction events.
Perfect Disaster (2006)
Edwards directed and did visual effects on two episodes of this mini-series, which takes disasters from around the word and shows the worst possible scenarios for each. His particular episodes were on solar storms and super tornados.
Heroes and Villains (2008)
This docudrama series focused on some of history’s greatest warriors. Gareth directed the episode on Attila the Hun.
Factory Farmed (2008)
Edwards directed this short film for the Sci-Fi London 48 Hour Film Challenge. Teams were given a prop and a line of dialogue, then given 48 hours to create a film. Edwards’ team was appropriately called Rebel Alliance, and had to make a film with a clear bottle with red or green liquid in it, and use the line of dialogue “I am required to carry out this task until completion; your orders do not override anything.” He created a five-minute film about a society in which clones go to war instead of naturally-born humans.
Factory Farmed won the festival and you can check out the full short in the player below:
Gareth Edwards’ feature directorial debut, Monsters, is an independent film in the truest sense of the word. In addition to writing and directing the film, Gareth was the cinematographer, production designer, and visual effects artist. Besides the two leads (Scoot McNairy and Whitney Able), there were only six people on the production crew. They shot in many locations without permission, and all the extras were cast because they happened to be at the location at the time of filming. The film takes place a year after a NASA probe crashes in the Mexico desert, releasing an extraterrestrial monster. A photojournalist must escort a woman safely across the infected zone.
Edwards brought the film in way under its $500,000 budget, thanks to “prosumer” equipment that allowed Gareth to create a professional-looking movie with equipment that could be bought off-the-shelf at a local Best Buy. The movie premiered at SXSW and was purchased for distribution just a few hours later.
Gareth Edwards’ second feature was a major studio blockbuster: Warner Bros. and Legendary‘s Godzilla. As a big fan of the original Toho Godzilla films, Edwards was especially keen to keep the spirit of the original alive. This Godzilla thematically represents man versus nature, and as Edwards said at 2013 San Diego Comic-Con, “Godzilla is on the side of nature, and nature always wins.” Godzilla is neither hero nor villain; Gareth considers him an anti-hero.
It was important to Edwards that his Godzilla felt like it could be one Toho‘s Godzillas. He studied the designs of previous Godzillas, and based his fighting style on real animals, primarily bears and Komodo dragons. Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla is the tallest to date, measuring 350 feet high.
Edwards was originally slated to direct Godzilla 2, but after Rogue One, he exited the project to work on some of his own, long-gestating, “smaller” films.
Monsters 2: Dark Continent (2014)
The sequel to Monsters is set 10 years after the first film. The “infected zones” have spread around the world, and four Army friends are deployed to the middle east to fight a new insurgency… and a new fleet of monsters. Edwards was busy with Godzilla, so he could not return to work on it. Instead, he turned the reigns over to Tom Green, making this his feature directorial debut. Edwards remained on as executive producer, but couldn’t really contribute in any way.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
Gareth Edwards was hired to direct the first stand-alone Star Wars film in May 2014. Rogue One has already proven to be a massive hit, bringing in more than $290 million worldwide in its first weekend alone. In the film, set right before Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, a group of unlikely heroes band together on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star, the Empire’s ultimate weapon of destruction. Tony Gilroy, who did rewrites on the script, directed reshoots to retool the film’s ending, according to a story at The Hollywood Reporter.[Gallery not found]