Star Wars: Rogue One could've ended very differently, thanks to the magic of carbon freezing

That other ending for Star Wars: Rogue One, where everything went much more smoothly? It was one of many conclusions that Lucasfilm had considered, and it wasn't even the most implausible path to a happier conclusion. No, that honor now officially belongs to one ending that Industrial Light & Magic chief creative officer John Knoll told io9 about in a recent interview for Rogue One's upcoming home release.

You're reading an article about Rogue One endings so, ahem, spoiler warning. Rogue One's third act is basically a rolling war memorial, with each of the heroes picked off one at a time until a final blast from the Death Star wipes out the last survivors. The happy ending we previously covered had the crew safely extracted at the last minute by a rebel ship. This one starts the same way but gets weird fast.

Alright, so Jyn and Cassian have escaped Scarif (the other characters hadn't been created at this point) but Darth Vader is in hot pursuit. Vader has a sepia-tinted flashback to blowing up the Trade Federation Droid Control Ship all by himself as he severely damages Jyn and Cassian's vessel (ok, I made up that flashback part). Fortunately, they've gotten close enough to Coruscant that they can transmit the Death Star plans to Princess Leia's ship before Cassian reveals his non-escape plan.

"They’ve got a carbon freeze bomb on the ship and the idea is that he forces everyone into the airlock," Knoll explained. "'I’m going to set this off and you’re all going to survive.' He sort of times it with one of the hits from Vader’s ship so he blows up the ship and sets off this carbon freeze bomb and everyone is frozen. Then on Vader’s ship they detect no life signs and they think everyone’s dead. And they’re like, 'Where’s that ship the plans were transmitted to?' and they go. So I was going to leave our heroes out of the picture. It’s why they don’t show up in Empire or Jedi - they’re stuck in [carbon freeze]."

Hold the phone, there were carbon freeze bombs this whole time? Sculpture-fying Han Solo seemed like a pretty involved process in The Empire Strikes Back but I guess they could have just tossed a bomb in there and called it good? Even if it didn't mean introducing an uncannily convenient new gadget to the Star Wars universe, it still would have been a super-cheesy way to leave the Rogue One gang available for future Star Wars stories. Thankfully, Lucasfilm made the right call and killed everyone instead. Dulce et Decorum est and all that.

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Images: Lucasfilm

Connor Sheridan

I got a BA in journalism from Central Michigan University - though the best education I received there was from CM Life, its student-run newspaper. Long before that, I started pursuing my degree in video games by bugging my older brother to let me play Zelda on the Super Nintendo. I've previously been a news intern for GameSpot, a news writer for CVG, and now I'm a staff writer here at GamesRadar.