Rogue One Was To Have A Different Ending?
Star Wars: Rogue One is about to be released digitally and on DVD/Blu-Ray. As the lead up to the release begins, Entertainment Weekly got a major scoop. It appears that screenwriter Gary Whitta and treatment writer John Knoll had a different ending in mind. “The original instinct was that they should all die,” said Whitta. “It’s worth it. If you’re going to give your life for anything, give your life for this, to destroy a weapon that going to kill you all anyway. That’s what we always wanted to do. But we never explored it because we were afraid that Disney might not let us do it, that Disney might think it’s too dark for a Star Wars movie or for their brand.” So, Whitta and Knoll had a few survivors (fan favorite K-2S0 died in all versions) at the end, in case Disney and Lucasfilm objected.
They still wanted a noble sacrifice, however. According to director Gareth Edwards, ““You have the darkness that’s in the undercurrent of the story at that point, but you still have the rightness of why they’re doing it. “It doesn’t feel depressing. It feels like you want them to succeed at any cost. It’s a sport where the clock is ticking, and they need to just dive across the finish line. You do whatever you need to do to get there. It’s a gauntlet that they’re handing to Princess Leia. You get that moment where the crowd feels like it can cheer at the end.”
However, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy gave the green light to the darker ending anyways, with Whitta saying “We got the ending we wanted.”
How Some Rogues Might Have Survived
The “happy ending” came from an earlier draft of the film. There, Sgt. Jyn Erso (officially a Rebel soldier in this draft) and her strike force assault Scarif with the equivalent to Cassian Andor alongside her. The Death Star arrives to destroy Scarif, but Jyn and “Cassian” escape on a Rebel shuttle. Their ship prepares to upload the data to Princess Leia’s ship, only for Vader’s Star Destroyer to attack and blow the ship up. Vader pursues Leia, and it would have been revealed that Jyn and “Cassian” survived in an escape pod.
The writers did not like this ending at all. According to Whitta, “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. We decided they should die on the surface [of Scarif,] and that was the way it ended. We were constantly trying to make all the pieces fit together. We tried every single idea. Eventually, through endless development you get through an evolutionary process where the best version rises to the top.”
This also would have created continuity and canon headaches as Lucasfilm would then have to explain why we didn’t see Jyn and “Cassian” after Rogue One. In the end, the film’s darker and more melancholy, though triumphant, ending was the best choice.
Rogue One is released digitally March 24th, and on Blu-Ray and DVD April 4th.