‘Rogue One’ Had Several Different Alternate Endings at First

Wednesday, 22 March 2017 - 7:45PM
Star Wars
Star Wars: Rogue One
Wednesday, 22 March 2017 - 7:45PM
‘Rogue One’ Had Several Different Alternate Endings at First
Lucasfilm

If you saw Rogue One then you already know that (spoilers) things don't turn out so well for anybody in this movie.

The good guys all die, including the ones whose names you never learned. Several bad guys and a whole mess of stormtroopers die. That one guy who was in the background of that one scene holding a gun? He's dead. If the character didn't appear in A New Hope, like Vader or the CGI of Princess Leia, they were killed off. 

But that wasn't always the plan. It turns out that ending, which was originally longer, wasn't the only one on the table. io9 spoke to John Knoll, the Visual Effects Supervisor who initially pitched the idea for Rogue One and conceived several different versions of the story.


1. The Martyrs

In one version, Jyn (Felicity Jones) and Cassian (Diego Luna) steal the Death Star plans and successfully escape the beaches of Scarif on a Rebel ship. Darth Vader is close behind, attacking them until they endure too much damage to continue on. Knoll continues:

Opening quote
"And the last jump they do, they try to get lost in the traffic that's around Coruscant. 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."
Closing quote


Jyn and Cassian come to the conclusion that if they don't get their plans off the ship, the entire mission will have failed.

Opening quote
"So they discover that Leia's ship has just taken off from Coruscant and is on its way to its diplomatic mission to Alderaan. 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 [by] Vader's ship."
Closing quote


Their hope proves naïve, as the plans are detected, and they realize that regardless of whether Vader catches Leia's ship, they will be tortured by the Empire to reveal the Rebellion's secrets, a risk they are not willing to take. They respond by blowing up their own ship in the name of the Rebellion.

via GIPHY



2. "Name's Andor, Cassian Andor"

The second alternate ending involves a double agent hiding among the Rogue One crew, who'd have a change of heart at the end. This version would have also introduced something called a "carbon freeze bomb," which sounds like it would freeze everyone around it in carbonite when it detonates. Which sounds awesome.

Opening quote
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].
Closing quote


This would have the advantage of keeping everybody around for future movies, once they finally get unfrozen. This may have been the plan back when Felicity Jones was supposed to be in a Rogue One sequel, which is obviously a challenge with the ending we got.

3. Happily Ever After

Thanks to EW, we also know of a third alternate ending, brought to you by Gary Whitta, one of the writers of Rogue One. In this version, Jyn and Cassian steal the plans and run across the beach to a Rebel ship that dropped down to pick them up. Once in space, their ship meets up with Leia's with Darth Vader's close behind. They transfer the plans to Leia's ship just as their ship is destroyed. All is not lost, however, a small escape pod ejects from the wreckage, implying that Jyn and Cassian survive.

Not a bad ending, but not the first idea or the right one according to Whitta:

Opening quote
"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…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. We decided they should die on the surface [of Scarif], and that was the way it ended. 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."
Closing quote


Although we can see why having at least one of the characters you've been invested in for the past two hours survive would be great, the actual ending of Rogue One makes sense. Too many movies have the heroes survive against all odds, which let's face it, isn't realistic for a franchise with "wars" in half the title. Although there is a sense of loss, the Rebellion as a whole still comes out ahead and their sacrifice allows for bigger wins in the future, and of course, more films.

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