'Rogue One' Had Alternate Ending In Original Draft

'Rogue One' Had Alternate Ending In Original Draft

By Robert Dougherty Mar 20, 2017 11:30 AM
Photo Credit: LucasFilm

With Rogue One coming to Digital HD on March 24, most already know that it ends rather unconventional by Star Wars standards. While they never filmed an alternate and brighter ending, Entertainment Weekly has revealed there was one written in the script's early stages, although it only convinced them that they really needed the darker ending.

To those few who still don't know about that darker ending, the rest of this article will help give it away.


From the very beginning, director Gareth Edwards and writer Gary Whitta wanted the entire Rogue One team to die getting the Death Star plans, but were convinced "Disney might think it’s too dark for a Star Wars movie or for their brand," according to Whitta. So because "we were afraid that Disney might not let us do it," they tried to let a few team members live in the original drafts.

According to Whitta, those first drafts originally had Felicity Jones' Jyn as a Rebel Sergeant instead of a criminal, while Diego Luna's Cassian originally had a different name and there was no Chirrut, Baze or Bodhi. While the other Rogue One members still remained dead in the first drafts and droid K-2SO "always died," Jyn and the Cassian-architype were originally rescued by Rebel ships on Scarif before the Death Star destroyed it.

The now iconic scene where Darth Vader destroys a Rebel ship but doesn't get the Death Star plans back was in the first draft too. But in this version, Jyn and Cassian 1.0 were inside it while still trying to transfer the plans to Princess Leia's shuttle. Yet as Whitta reveals “They got away in an escape pod just in time," in a trick resembling Han Solo's escape in the middle of space debris during The Empire Strikes Back.

Nonetheless, all this effort finally made Whitta realize "The fact that we had to jump through so many hoops to keep them alive was the writing gods telling us that if they were meant to live it wouldn’t be this difficult." Therefore, he and Edwards did what they wanted to do in the first place, and insisted to Disney and LucasFilm that every hero had to die on Scarif.

As it turned out, Whitta's original fears were unfounded, as producer Kathleen Kennedy and her fellow executives "said to go for it." The result was an ending even darker and blooder than that of Revenge of the Sith, and one that audiences actually weren't trained to see coming.

If Jyn and Cassian were allowed to live while everyone else died, it would have been relatively traditional even with the deaths of the supporting characters, and would have raised questions on whether Disney left the door open to bring them back. Yet for better or worse, Edwards, Whitta and their creative team never had their whole hearts in on that ending, although they may not have fought as hard for the one they really wanted if they didn't exhaust their other options first.

Their ideal ending and the rest of Rogue One can be seen on Digital HD on March 24, before reaching Blu-ray on April 4.

Tags: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016), Gary Whitta, Gareth Edwards, Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Star Wars
About the Author
Robert Dougherty is a longtime online freelance writer, who wrote reviews, articles & editorials on movies/TV for several years on the now defunct Yahoo Voices.
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