It’s a bit remarkable that in a film where all the major characters we’ve grown to love die, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is still filled with hope. Much of that has to do with the cameo by Princess Leia, and the knowledge that the rebels didn’t die in vain stealing the plans for the Death Star, and that they got them into the right hands just in time. But in the early stages of development, a far sunnier finale was envisioned.
Back before Bodhi Rook, Chirrut Imwe, or Baze Malbus where characters in the script, and when Jyn Erso was conceived as a Rebel solider instead of a street criminal, she made it out of the adventure alive, along with Cassian. Though, there still would’ve been some loss of life.
“I didn’t say everyone made it off. Kaytoo always died,” screenwriter Gary Whitta told EW. “Jyn did survive. Cassian also survived. There were a lot of casualties on both sides, in both versions of the scripts.”
However, the filmmakers always preferred the grimmer finale, but it was kept off the table, mostly because they didn’t think Disney and Lucasfilm would go for it.
“The original instinct was that they should all die,” Whitta said. “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.”
Well, Kathleen Kennedy and co. encouraged that darker take once they heard it, and the rest is history (well, coupled with a lot of reshoots).
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” hits digital on Friday, and physical formats on April 4th.