Gareth Edwards reveals the very different, original ending for Rogue One

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May 4, 2017, 4:19 PM EDT (Updated)

Gareth Edwards’ Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has one of the most surprising endings of any film in the franchise, but it was almost very different. Now Edwards has confirmed how the original draft wrapped up the story.

Spoilers ahead for Rogue One!

In an interview with Empire (which has since been unpublished), Edwards reveals that most of the main characters originally survived in the earliest drafts of the screenplay. Which isn’t much of a surprise, considering Disney isn’t typically known for killing off its entire cast of characters very often. So how did Edwards convince Lucasfilm to let him kill Jyn and the gang? He explained how the story pretty much demanded it, since none of these key Rebel characters factor into A New Hope. The only logical reason for that is that they’re all killed stealing the Death Star plans.

Here’s an excerpt from his comments:

“The very first version, they didn’t. In the screenplay. And it was just assumed by us that we couldn’t do that. ‘They’re not going to let us do that.’ So I was trying to figure out how this ends where that doesn’t happen. And then everyone read that and there was this feeling of like, ‘They’ve got to die, right?’ And everyone was like, ‘Yeah, can we?’

We thought we weren’t going to be allowed to but Kathy [Kennedy, President of Lucasfilm] and everyone at Disney were like ‘Yeah it makes sense/ I guess they have to because they’re not in A New Hope.’ And so from that point on we had the license. I kept waiting for someone to go, ‘You know what? Could we just film an extra scene where we see Jyn and Cassian, they’re okay and they’re on another planet?’ And it never came. No one ever gave us that note, so we got to do it.”

What did you think of the ending of Rogue One? Did it make sense, or are you bummed that Jyn, Cassian and K-2SO were not long for this world?

(Vias Empire, io9)