'Rogue One' director based battle scenes on real war photos

If the fighting in the new Star Wars film seems especially realistic, there's a reason.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Expertise Breaking news, entertainment, lifestyle, travel, food, shopping and deals, product reviews, money and finance, video games, pets, history, books, technology history, generational studies. Credentials
  • Co-author of two Gen X pop-culture encyclopedia for Penguin Books. Won "Headline Writer of the Year"​ award for 2017, 2014 and 2013 from the American Copy Editors Society. Won first place in headline writing from the 2013 Society for Features Journalism.
Gael Cooper

When you see "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," you may notice the battle scenes seem especially true to life, as if the positioning and attacks of the rebels and Stormtroopers was straight out of a military history textbook.

Good eye, history buffs. "Rogue One" director Gareth Edwards told Yahoo he based his battles on actual past war scenes.

"The thing that just crept to the surface really easily was this idea of slightly more realistic Star Wars," Edwards said. "One of the little things we did as an experiment was, we took war photography from Vietnam and South Pacific and, you know, the Middle East, and Photoshopped rebel helmets on the soldiers, and replaced some things with Stormtroopers in the background. And instead of Hueys, it was like, U-Wings or X-Wings."

"Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" opened December 15 in Australia and opens December 16 in the US and UK.

Watch this: 'Rogue One' review: Street-level Star Wars