Rogue One is a tremendous hit. It’s making a lot of money for Disney, having opened to record numbers for a Star Wars story that’s not about the Skywalkers, and it’s been praised in reviews. The ending is one of the movie’s great moments, one that Disney thankfully didn’t manage to ruin.
Because, you see, the initial Rogue One story had a totally different ending, one that was scrapped — thankfully, since that move alone saved the movie. Read on if you’ve seen the film already. Some major spoilers will follow.
It turns out I was right. A few days before Rogue One debuted I said that every member of the Rogue One team should somehow meet their maker by the end. Even the cute new robot. No one can survive as these heroes aren’t part of A New Hope, the first Star Wars movie ever. That’s exactly what happened. Every character dies by the end of the film. The one thing that I didn’t see coming was Leia. I didn’t expect Rogue One’s end to actually be the beginning of A New Hope.
Fast forward to today and a new interview from Empire reveals that the initial Rogue One script had a happier ending in place. Director Gareth Edwards said that in the first version, the characters did not die. Apparently, everyone thought Disney would not allow it.
“The very first version, they didn’t,” Edwards said. “In the screenplay. And it was just assumed by us that we couldn’t do that. ‘They’re not going to let us do that.’ So I was trying to figure out how this ends where that doesn’t happen. And then everyone read that and there was this feeling of like, ‘They’ve got to die, right?’ And everyone was like, ‘Yeah, can we?’”
We thought we weren’t going to be allowed to but Kathy [Kennedy, President of Lucasfilm] and everyone at Disney were like ‘Yeah it makes sense/I guess they have to because they’re not in A New Hope.’ And so from that point on we had the license,” he continued.
“I kept waiting for someone to go, ‘You know what? Could we just film an extra scene where we see Jyn and Cassian, they’re okay and they’re on another planet?’ And it never came. No one ever gave us that note, so we got to do it.”
Disney, however, changed other things in the movie. Just revisit the Rogue One footage released in trailers now that you know what happens. You’ll notice various scenes that are nowhere to be found in the movie.
The end result is great, however, which means the reshoots were probably needed. It’s great, though, that Disney went along with this darker type of ending, but the only one that made sense of the film.