It’s no big secret that Star Wars: Rogue One (opens in new tab) had reshoots and rewrites, including a whole bunch of trailer shots missing from the final cut (opens in new tab), but we’ve never had the full deets on Rogue One’s original ending – until now.
Spoilers to follow!
Rogue One’s eventual ending was super sad and, long story short, everyone you cared about died. Bummer. Things could have been oh-so-different to the traumatic (and incredible bold) ending we ended up getting...
Screenwriter Gary Whitta, speaking to Entertainment Weekly (opens in new tab), outlined the original, much happier, ending where most of crew of Rogue One lived to fight another day, “A rebel ship came down and got them off the surface,” Whitta explains, “The transfer of the plans happened later. They jumped away and later [Leia’s] ship came in from Alderaan to help them. The ship-to-ship data transfer happened off Scarif.”
Darth Vader made an appearance in this first-draft ending too by destroying the rebel ship that arrived to rescue the gang. Vader didn’t quite manage to bump off Jyn and co. though as they managed a spectacularly cheesy ending last-minute escape away from the Sith Lord: “They got away in an escape pod just in time. The pod looked like just another piece of debris,” Whitta said. Lame.
I think we can all agree that, although not great for our tear-ducts, the final ending was much more fitting. And Whitta agrees, “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.”