Gareth Edwards: The Original Ending of 'Rogue One' Was Completely Different

Tuesday, 20 December 2016 - 1:09PM
Star Wars
Star Wars: Rogue One
Tuesday, 20 December 2016 - 1:09PM
Gareth Edwards: The Original Ending of 'Rogue One' Was Completely Different
This whole week has been about Rogue One—the concept art, the reviews, the box office results, the Easter eggs, and the problems. It's the first Star Wars anthology film to come from the new Disney-owned Lucasfilm, and so far it's been a critical and commercial success, which bodes well for future spinoffs (like the super-cool Han Solo movie with Donald Glover). But one thing that surprised everyone, including us, about Rogue One was how hands-off Disney apparently was with the production and writing. Even director Gareth Edwards operated with the assumption that Disney wouldn't let him go too far into dark territory, but, as it turns out, he was very much mistaken.

What follows are major spoilers for Rogue One—if you haven't seen the movie, don't read the next part of this article! Just...go finish your Christmas shopping!

The first mandate of every major Hollywood movie is to make money, usually by appealing to as many people as possible. We've seen Logan buck this trend by arguing that an 'R' rating was essential to the integrity of the film and pointing at Deadpool as evidence that comic fans will still come to see a graphic, R-rated movie, but Hugh Jackman still had to take a pay cut to ensure the movie would be profitable. Likewise, Rogue One was billed as a dark, gritty war movie featuring a cast of assassins, saboteurs, and guerrillas rather than Jedis and princesses, but they still had to sell toys of Saw Gerrera to kids 9-12. So it makes sense that the original ending was quite, quite different from the theatrical one—according to the Verge:

Opening quote
"Everyone read [the script] and there was this feeling of like, 'They've got to die, right?' And everyone was like, 'Yeah, can we?'" But with the famously family-friendly Disney in charge, Edwards originally looked for another, lighter, more survivable ending. That was, until Disney gave him the green light to kill everyone. "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,'" Edwards told Empire.
Closing quote
 

You read that right—Disney gave Edwards the green light to kill everyone. According to the original interview with Empire (the podcast has been taken down, but will be back up on December 26th), the original ending had the main characters survive after the battle on Scarif, which explains why Felicity Jones has a sequel option in her contract. Fortunately, the ending hadn't been filmed when Edwards got the go-ahead to murder everyone, so he was ostensibly able to film the deaths on Scarif without interrupting the schedule for filming. Until the end, though, Edwards was expecting a renege on the darker ending and a return to a happier, lighter one:

Opening quote
"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?'" Edwards says. "And it never came. No one ever gave us that note, so we got to do it."
Closing quote


Whether or not you liked the movie (it had some problems, to say the least), you have to admit it's a pretty bold move to set up a cast of interesting, semi-lovable characters, make them into toys and put them in amazing trailers, and then kill them one by one in front of the fans. We raise our Conan-the-Barbarian skull goblets to you, Disney and Gareth Edwards! Leave none alive!

Rogue One is in theaters now.
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Star Wars: Rogue One