There was more than one alternate ending left on the cutting room floor of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Following the reveal by screenwriter Gary Whitta that Rogue One almost featured a slightly happier conclusion than the one we ultimately ended up seeing on the big screen, now comes word that two other endings were also considered for director Gareth Edwards’ standalone Star Wars movie set in a galaxy far, far away.
The guy who first came up with the story for Rogue One, Chief Creative Officer and Senior Visual Effects Supervisor for Industrial Light & Magic (yup, that's a long title) John Knoll, originally spitballed two more versions for the movie's ending. Now, we know what they are, thanks to the good folks at io9. Here’s the first one, which would have included Jyn and Cassian going out in a blaze of glory (much like the original ending):
Jyn and Cassian lead a team that steals the Death Star plans, and escape Scarif on a Rebel ship. In hot pursuit is Darth Vader, whose ship keeps attacking them even after multiple jumps to lightspeed. Soon, they’ve taken so much damage, they realize they aren’t going to make it.
“And the last jump they do, they try to get lost in the traffic that’s around Coruscant,” Knoll said. “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.”
Jyn and Cassian realize if they don’t get the plans off the ship, the whole mission has failed. “So they discover that Leia’s ship has just taken off from Coruscant and is on its way to its diplomatic mission to Alderaan,” Knoll said. “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.”
Obviously, it is detected, but Jyn and Cassian realize that whether Vader catches Leia’s ship or not, they will inevitably be tortured for information by the Empire and could reveal the Rebellion’s secrets, potentially leading to its destruction. So the two Rebels decide to blow up their ship with them on it.
The second ending Knoll envisioned for Rogue One is even nuttier than the first and would have included carbon freezing (like Han in The Empire Strikes Back) and one of the main characters being a double agent for the evil Empire:
"Then I had a version of it where the Cassian character, originally, was a double agent. He was a spy planted by the Empire into the Rebellion. And over the course of the mission he becomes aware that the Death Star actually is a real thing and it’s not just propaganda. The Empire really built it, intends to use it and its only purpose is a genocide weapon. 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.
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]."
There you have it. What do you guys think of these two other endings considered for the movie? Which one would you have preferred? Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will be available on Digital HD on March 24 and hit store shelves on DVD, Blu-ray (and On-Demand) on April 4.