“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” arrives digitally today, and all anyone can talk about is about the various versions of the movie that weren’t made. It’s seems the writers and filmmakers had almost too many options on the table at any given time, but it seems the one thing they knew was that none of the characters would survive. And once Disney was on board with that creative decision, there were lots of ideas tossed around about how to send off the rebel heroes.
John Knoll, the Chief Creative Officer and Senior Visual Effects Supervisor for Industrial Light & Magic, and who also came up with the story for ‘Rogue One,’ recently sat down with io9 and shared two wildly different ways that were approached for the ending of the film. The first sounds like it would’ve been an longer chase sequence with Darth Vader on the heels of Jyn, Cassian and rebels, who manage to leave Scarif.
“…they try to get lost in the traffic that’s around Coruscant. It’s a giant cloud of ships. Ten-thousand ships coming and going and they’re trying to get lost in that traffic but they don’t make it. There’s still an hour’s flight away from Coruscant and their ship gets damaged [and they’re not going to make it],” he explained. “So they discover that Leia’s ship has just taken off from Coruscant and is on its way to its diplomatic mission to Alderaan. They know that she’s secretly working for the Rebellion and they risk blowing her cover by transmitting the plans to her ship with the hope that this transmission won’t be detected but Vader’s ship.”
So, in order to prevent being captured by Darth Vader and giving up the secrets they know about the Rebel Alliance and Leia’s ties to the group, Cassian and Jyn decide to take their own lives, and blow up their ship with everyone on it. That’s… intense.
Next is one where the characters would’ve technically survived, but would explain why we don’t see them later on in the original trilogy. It was build around the idea of Cassian being a spy for the Empire who manages to work his way into the Rebellion but once he realizes the true power of the Death Star, he changes allegiances.
“He realizes a lot of what he’s been told is a lie and that he’s been on the wrong side. So he switches sides to the Rebellion and he realizes he can let everyone live,” Knoll said. And again, it seems the idea is that everyone manages to leave Scarif.
“They’ve got a carbon freeze bomb on the ship and the idea is that he forces everyone into the airlock. ‘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 too?’ 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],” he adds.
Of course, that version would’ve been a nod to ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ where we first learned of the chilling effects of carbonite, when Han Solo became encased in the stuff. But it also sounds like a bit of a cheap out, and I’m not surprised they didn’t go down this road.
Thoughts? Let us know in the comments section.