Based on all of the reshoots, we know by now that there were several different endings for Rogue One. The people who created the movie are now revealing secrets about the Star Wars spin-off, including what the original ending was going to be. The Rogue One team provided Entertainment Weekly on the details of the ending that would not have been so grim.
Screenwriter Gary Whitta goes back, way, way back, all the way back to his original draft. The original ending was much happier, typical Hollywood ending where the heroes ride off into the sunset. Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor survive in one of the original endings because the writers thought that Disney wouldn’t let them kill off all the good guys. Apparently they forgot that Disney is down with death.
“The original instinct was that they should all die. 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.”
In the alternate happy ending, Jyn and Cassian escape Scarif in a rebel ship, then transfer the data tapes to Leia from ship to ship before Darth Vader destroys the rebel ship. But we see Jyn and Cassian’s escape pod disguised as debris.
“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.”
“The fact that we had to jump through so many hoops to keep them alive was the writing gods telling us that if they were meant to live it wouldn’t be this difficult,” wisely said Whitta.
“We decided they should die on the surface [of Scarif] and that was the way it ended,” Whitta said. “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.”
They never shot any of those scenes because the ending was scrapped before filming. Good. That shit sounds cheesy as hell.
Other early versions had Jyn as a sergeant in the Rebel Alliance. Plus characters Chirrut Imwe, Baze Malbus, and Bodhi Rook weren’t in the first version.
Rogue One comes out on digital HD this Friday and on Blu-ray April 4th.